Who I Used to be is Who I am – Jeremy Austill
Who I Used to be is Who I am

It is surprising
how a slight interruption on the road to somewhere can remind you of why you
are even on the road in the first place. Let me explain.

Recently I was traversing
the Kentucky landscape en route to a speaking engagement. Time was of the
essence and we were moving with determined pace down the highway, when it
happened. A casual statement of fact by my traveling companion, which
transformed into what has now been a three week conversation with the author
and perfecter of my faith. We passed the site of the historic Cane Ridge
Revival which took place in August of the year 1801. Over two hundred years ago
wagons, carriages, horses and feet transported over 10,000 people to the middle
of no where for a “camp meeting” which served as a monumental catalyst for
what is known as the “Second Great Awakening” in America. (At the
conclusion of this entry you can read an excerpt about the Cane Ridge Revival)

My friend was kind enough
to pause the day’s agenda and allow me to walk the grounds for a few moments. I
have always loved history and treading the soil of our forefathers heightens my awareness of the timelessness of God and my connection to Him and those
who have paved the way. After a brief stop, we resumed our journey, but my
heart has yet to fully leave the door steps of this national treasure. We often assess the significance of
spiritual moments based upon their grandness, but profound does not always come
packaged so blatantly. A moment’s capacity to linger, validates its substance
more than the degree of explosiveness at impact.

Since Cane Ridge, my
thoughts seem to repeatedly drift to this phrase, “the 25 year old version
of myself”. Honesty demands me to confess this writing may be more relevant for
me personally, than beneficial for you. Nonetheless, I believe most can
identify. I have spent the last six years revisiting my past, with exploratory purpose, allowing the
Lord to reveal regions of my soul which needed healing, correction and
transformation. As I reflect on this needed journey of soul and spiritual
health, I can perceive how I have frequently been very hard on the “25 year old
Jeremy”. Somewhere down the path I ceased giving him much credit and honed in
on his dysfunctions. Yet, Jesus walked with that 25 year old, was gracious,
released blessing, created abundant fruit and kept his patient hand firmly
attached.

It is not uncommon to view our past
through the lens of regret and allow a tinge of shame to harbor in the docks of
our soul. However, just as our natural parents “raised us to be this way”,
God Himself has spent a lifetime “raising us.” Most of those who run with
me now, would not recognize “25 year old Jeremy.” He was brazen, wild eyed,
raw, unwavering, intense, and unrelenting in his belief for revival. There was
an ever present audacity that God would move, and a deep rooted dream that he
would one day have the honor of being a primary voice in a special move of God
in the earth. Some that know me now may think those things still describe
me…but 25 year old Jeremy was all of those things without filter…with an
edge…like a sledgehammer. For three weeks now I have been contemplating the possibility that the
Lord wants me to protect my younger self. I sense the need to unearth some of
the dirt I shoveled over that era of my life and make sure it can still breathe.
Those years are a part of the fiber of who I am, and to become too
sophisticated for them may just be a sin again God…the Father who raised
me.

I certainly believe the
Lord evolves us as he increases our understanding, nevertheless, the core DNA
he deposits in us through the years is directly attached to His assignment for
us…His dream over us. Through my experiences, the spiritual cultures and
communities to which I have been exposed and the influences He brought into my
sphere…God raised me to be a revivalist…to be a dreamer…to believe in the
possibility of Cane Ridge in our day.

I’m contending on behalf
of 25 year old Jeremy, because he was on the right path…the path assigned
him. I can understand now this assignment is not everyone’s to flesh out. But for me, it was the house I grew up in. Without a doubt, “25″ had a lot of growing and maturing to do, but he wasn’t
wrong.

As self indulgent as this
may sound, I hope 25 year old Jeremy wouldn’t be disappointed in 39 year old
Jeremy…but knowing him, I have no doubt he would…haha

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