January 16, 2022

You Can’t Be Who You Are Without Being Who You Were

Written by Shana Schutte

You can’t be who you are without being who you were.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 16, 2022

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 

Have you ever wanted to forget who you were in the past because of your failures and sins? Have you ever hated the memory of who you used to be? If you can relate, my prayer is that the Lord will encourage you today through the words He has given me to share.

In Jeremiah 18:1-6, Jeremiah went to the potter’s house where God said that he would speak to him and allow Jeremiah to hear His words.

When Jeremiah got to the potter’s house, the potter was working at his wheel. “. . . and the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done?’ declares the Lord. ‘Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’”

The Lord wasn’t saying, “I am going to destroy Israel and remake her entirely new. No, He was saying, “I am going to take Israel as she is and rework her and reshape her into a new, usable vessel. She will glorify me.” Everything about Israel, how God created her, and even all her failures and sins would be reworked into her. And because this was true, she would be able to glorify God in a new, magnificent way. 

If you wish you could forget your old life, be encouraged: You can’t be who you are without being who you were. All your experiences—both good and bad—are being woven into the new you, integrated into who you are to make you usable in an amazing way for Christ. He is the Redeemer. He gives all things, even broken things, new life. 

I recently met a man who became addicted to pain killers following surgery. Through his addiction, he betrayed his wife, kids, friends, and employer—and almost destroyed his marriage when he was sentenced to 13 months in prison for theft. Prior to his addiction and imprisonment, he was a successful contractor; after his time in prison, he founded an organization to help youth overcome addictions. 

God didn’t erase this man’s sin. He didn’t destroy his old life. Instead, God reworked the clay of this man in the same way a potter reworks spoiled clay. God is in the business of reworking unusable vessels so they glorify Him in new ways. You can’t be who you are without being who you were.

Honestly, there have been times I have resented my past. I’ve resented my prolonged singleness; my poor relationship choices, and my relationship failures prior to marrying my awesome husband.  The Lord recently showed me that He has reworked my failures and heartbreaks into me and into my life. He has reworked the clay of who I am to make me new. Without being who I was, I wouldn’t be able to be who I am now because I am coaching singles who were like me and want to marry. Without my experiences and my life before marriage, I wouldn’t be able to understand their hurt and the pain.  

The Lord is our amazing Redeemer. He works all that we are, and all that we have done—both good and bad—into new vessels that can glorify Him. If you say, “But Lord, I really wish that would’ve never happened. I still resent it even though you have used it” then you will stay stuck in regret. Joy comes from seeing the magnificent creation He has made from something bad. Focus on the fruit, not on the pain.

“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).


Lord, help me not to stay stuck in the past by believing it was a waste. You waste nothing. You bring good out of all things. Thank you for redeeming me, making me new and using me for your glory. Amen.


Do you resent your old life or who you used to be? If so, how do you feel about today’s devotional? Do you believe God is able to use who you were in the past and what you have done for His glory and your good? Talk with Him about it.

Related Reading

Psalm 19:14; 1 Chronicles 17:21; Nehemiah 1:10; Romans 8:28

Worship Resource

Elevation Worship: All Things New


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