Living in the Past | A Guest Post by Maggie Johnson

Maggie Johnson. Where do I begin.

Maggie and I met our freshman year of college, and her feisty personality, tender and sincere heart, and contagious way of loving people and loving Jesus instantly drew me to her. We were quick friends, and have celebrate many milestones together over the years.

I would say that Maggie is a blogger, but she really is so much more. Maggie writes deeply and passionately about marriage, faith, and gender roles in such a way that you want to shout “amen” as you scroll along her page. You can find her little internet home over here. Check her out and stay awhile.

Today Maggie is contributing her thoughts for the New Year. In “Living in the Past” you’ll find the perspective you need to delve into 2015.


Living in the Past, by Maggie Johnson

I moved over 800 miles away from home to go to college.   When people asked why I was going to school so far from home, I told them it was because the college had a great program, it was more affordable, and other similar lies. But the truth was this: I wanted to escape my past, and moving was the perfect opportunity to do so. I wanted to recreate myself, to change the opinions people had about me, to start over.

I thought that running from my past was the only way to improve myself.

I worked to become a woman who was more likeable, more social, and more put together. My own brokenness seemed to be a glaring inner weakness so I filled the holes with the concrete of self-sufficiency and positive thinking.

The concrete hardened and with it, so did my heart.

I became a pharisee. God’s great love no longer astonished me. The sacrifice of Jesus no longer impressed me. I suppressed my past, and consequently forgot my need for the Christ.

The most extraordinary thing about God is that he doesn’t stop pursuing us. He follows our hearts even when they wander. His whisper is consistent and unwavering even when we try to plug our ears. His gaze is fixed on our plight even when fear causes us to look elsewhere.

Over the last several months, the theme of rebuilding has popped up in my conversations, devotionals, sermons, and conferences. One of the verses that came up was Isaiah 61:4 – “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” While reading this passage, along with others from books like Nehemiah, I began to realize that rebuilding isn’t effective or impactful without taking a stroll through the past.

Without acknowledgement of the past, we will not see the need to rebuild the ruins in our own lives.

So that’s what I’m doing. For me, 2015 is about looking back for the purpose of moving forward. It’s about rebuilding. It’s about looking fear square in the face and saying, just like the Israelites did when trying to rebuild their own lives, “You have no right and no claim here” (Nehemiah 2:20).

I’m done running from my past. I’m done hiding the brokenness. Instead, I’m facing it head on so I can rebuild the ruins. 2015 is going to be a hard one but nothing good ever came easily.

What will you rebuild in 2015?

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