You Are Not Who You Think You Are

You Are Not Who You Think You AreHave you ever met someone who is always incredibly negative about life? I’m not talking about someone who is suffering with depression or living in a dark chapter…I am talking about a person who refuses to look on the bright side. It can be exhausting. People in this situation tend to convince themselves that reality is different than what is obvious. They look at their experiences through a different lens than most.

When something is apparent to one person, and it seems that another is almost blinded to the truth, frustration can rise, and relationships can be damaged. If a person in this situation embraces pride, then they tend to further distance themselves from others. As distance grows, isolation breeds contempt and bitterness. These traits can rewire a person’s mind to believe things that are simply untrue.

There is a fundamental temptation in the heart of many, if not all, of people who have chosen to follow Jesus. The pattern is almost written as a common script. The individual will make great strides in their life and see great transformation. They may live on a wonderful trajectory for a significant period of time, and then something happens that derails their progress. Perhaps they give into an old temptation, or stumble over a struggle they thought they left behind. In this scenario, there are three ways that a person can go. The first way is to acknowledge the mistake and step forward into growth. The second way is to embrace defeat and punish themselves for a relatively short time. The last way complicates things a bit. It is the circumstance in which a person convinces themselves that they are “just that way” and they will “never change”.

As a pastor, it can be so frustrating to interact with a person who has taken a slight detour in their faith, and for them to be convinced that “this is who they truly are”. Why do we do this? Why do we think our bad behavior is our true self and any previous good behavior is nullified? This is like getting the flu and convincing yourself and that you are always meant to be sick. People can change, and we are meant to change. We are meant to grow and flourish, and we must learn from our mistakes.

There are people who I have met and truly look up to with amazing stories of how God has navigated their lives. They can tell you tales of how they were completely different when they were younger, and their development can be compared to a caterpillar and a butterfly.

God loves you exactly the way you are, but He loves you too much to not cultivate progress in your life. I guarantee you, when you are going through a rough patch in your life, and you have convinced yourself that you will “always be this way” …you are not who you think you are. Sometimes it is easy to believe the lie that a mistake can send you backwards when, in actuality, it is more like just “taking the scenic route”. Now, this is not an excuse for cultivating horrible behavior, but perhaps it can bring hope to someone who is feeling lost.

You are not who you think you are. Remember, you can be better.

-Landon DeCrastos

Hope of The World

Reaching out with open hands
Desperately ignoring circumstance
Really hoping to gain His glance
Finding peace when I do

But, watching the news with disbelief
Killings, abuse…another thief
Praying evil will turn over a new leaf
Wanting the world to be made new

Save them God, as they go astray
Show the world your face today
Help them to joyfully obey
Thinking “If they only knew”

All of my frustration and concern
Over the lessons they should learn
For worldwide change I passionately yearn
Wishing they understood what was true

I shout in anger to the sky
“Why do the innocent have to die?”
Why are slaves given over to buy
Cities destroyed by wind that blew

When will the answer show its face
And give hope to the human race
When will people wholly embrace
When will the hurt be through

These questions I had in my mind
And not one place could I find
An answer that was direct and kind
But, I unsuccessfully thought of a few

But then a finger came out of the air
And pointed at me in my chair
The booming voice, terrifying yet fair
Said, “the change starts with YOU”.

-Landon DeCrastos

Created to Change

being different“I am the way I am, and I can’t change that.”

This is a common phrase that is uttered by many. It makes sense when you think about it. When someone is socially awkward, has uncontrollable habits, vices that consume their time, or a thought-life that is centered around self deprecation they often use the above phrase to acknowledge their shortfalls but reject the idea of change.

Why would we change though? Just because someone is offended by us or our behavior, does this mean we must change what we do? This seems to be a shallow set of reasons….

What if, however, God led us to change who we are? How would we respond? The first question we may have in this instance is, “doesn’t God love me the way I am?” or “didn’t He make me to think, or act this way?” Obviously we are aware that God loves us no matter where we are in our life or what we have done. God pursues us in the mess of our life and even in the midst of who we have created ourselves to be…but…God wants us to be more.

The subject, then, is not who we are…but it is who the Creator of the universe desires us to be. The fact is when we think about our personality, thought patterns, and habits much of who we think we are is a product of the relationships we have entered into in our lives. We tend to acquire similar likes, dislikes, and patterns of behavior of groups in which we associate ourselves. For instance we often develop affinities based on the affinities of friends or family. Also, when we embrace a sinful life, we become captive to the dictatorship of our pleasure.

When we ask Jesus to be our Lord…that relationship changes us. So many times we get the impression that being a Christian means assimilating to a certain set of behaviors and looking like everyone else. We must wear the right clothes, get the same haircut, and speak in King James version when ever we pray. This is somewhat intimidating because it is hard to imagine such a massive shift in our lifestyle. It is easy to reject the whole concept of potential transformation through Jesus because we assume that this is the whole point….to make people act differently and (like when we were kids) play nice in the sandbox. It is not.

God doesn’t call us to Himself to make us like everyone else. He saves us to continue creation within us…to continue making us into who we were designed to be. A relationship with God changes us because we realize that God’s desire is for us to be free.

He loves you. Give Him a chance today.

-Landon DeCrastos