I Used to Be…

IMG_4192Hi, my name is Emily, and I’m a religion major. But I used to be a music major.

If you’ve met me within the past ten months, this is probably how I introduced myself.

I think my reasoning for bringing up my time as a music major is because it didn’t end voluntarily. I also didn’t flunk out. I had to change my major out of necessity.

Over the past seven years, I’ve developed multiple problems with my musculoskeletal system. These problems are a direct result of a connective tissue disorder; I was diagnosed six months ago with joint hypermobility syndrome. That means that my tendons and ligaments get overstretched easily and lead to injuries while performing normal daily tasks (i.e. writing papers, doing laundry, sleeping, etc.).

To play piano or flute, it helps to have properly functioning hands and arms. So being a music major became impossible when my shoulder dislocated repeatedly. After completing two years of college as a music major, I was left with no option but to make the switch.

I honestly have loved being a religion major. Probably because I’m a nerd and would enjoy most majors that my school offers. But this change of major didn’t come without its emotional drawbacks.

I had so many great memories of performing in my time as a music major. And I did well in my music classes. When I changed my major, I was worried that I wouldn’t have the same success that I previously had as a music major. But the Bible tells me that I’m not defined by my past successes or failures.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Many times over this past semester, I mourned the loss of my ability to perform music. It was such a huge part of my life from the age of eight. And I devoted half of my college career to its study. But my time studying music was not in vain. The Lord allowed me to form so many relationships through music-related activities that made it all worth it. The Bible tells me that I’m not defined by my losses; loss is a victory in comparison to gaining a relationship with Christ.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8 (ESV)

Looking back even further in my life, who I was at the beginning of high school–when health problems started to appear–is definitely not who I am today. In some ways I miss who I was then; I seemed to doubt God’s goodness and sovereignty less, when I had less health problems and hadn’t been in pain as long as I have now. But with chronic pain comes chronic opportunities to learn how to rely on God. He has so much more to teach me. I’m not defined only by what God has already done in my life; He’s not done with me yet.

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:19-24 (NIV)

Who I “used to be” is not my true identity. Because of Christ’s sacrifice of His life, I have the hope of “being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another’ (2 Corinthians 3:18). I look forward to sharing what the Lord does in this broken mess named Emily.

Emily (@ejenkins220) is an author and editor at thegracescripts.com. She is passionate about ministry + sharing in her brokenness. Emily currently attends Samford University. She lives in Alabama.

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