Saturday, March 12, 2011

Where are the 'dents' in your life?

(Let me start by saying that even admitting this happened in public is difficult because as many of you know, I pride--see below-- myself on being a good driver.)

A couple weeks ago, I was having lunch with a friend and was leaving the restaurant. Well, this parking lot has these measly 'posts' that I don't really think serve a particular purpose other than being in the way. Anyways, I was backing out trying not to hit the car that was next to me, since they parked too close, and as I turned my head to look back, I heard the most awful sound...ccrrruuunnnccchhhh. OH NO! I was looking back at this point and could not see a thing...that is because this fine little pole, had found itself hiding behind the one corner I could not see between where the side window ended and the back windshield began. Needless to say I have a nice indent on the rear bumper on the passenger side. I went a couple days later to get some estimates since it happened after all the places had closed on a Saturday afternoon. At any other point in my life thus far, I think I would have just melted in shame and balled my eyes out to the point that I was dehydrated but because of all the work God's been doing in my life, I chose to look at the positive side: no one was hurt, no other cars or people were involved, and it really won't matter once I finally am able to get it fixed.

Furthermore, I found myself really examining my pride. I realized that there are quite a few things that I take pride in...ones that don't affect others but rather my own self-confidence and self-concept. Actually, this extends to most things in my life. Those things that I do that are a reflection of myself such as driving, how I decorate and keep my room/office/spaces, my musical/photography/teaching skills, and just about everything else, are the things I put my 'pride' in because I lack self-confidence. This pride is also an extension of the high expectation (my half Type A personality appears here) I have for myself. I don't want to be thought of as a careless driver because I certainly am not, I don't want people to think that I'm not as musical as I portray, I don't want people to know that I'm scared, lonely, and would much rather become a hermit at times. All of these things go against what God wants for me. Satan is trying to attack through these because he knows how much I'm pleasing God with my life...or at least how I'm intentionally desiring and trying to please God with my life and choices.

DE-RAIL with me for a minute: As I write, this song is playing on the radio:

It's What Love Really Means by JJ Heller

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done
Or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
the love that you never knew...

These lyrics hang in the air as I am trying to write this because I know that God will love me no matter what I do or who I am as long as I'm in relationship with Him and striving to be closer to Him each day.

BACK ON TRACK: Last weekend, I attended a retreat that was truly life-changing. The theme for the weekend was grace...something I often struggle with. I always thought I understood the concept of grace in my head but believing it in my heart was something I now realize I never did. Growing up, I always tried (and still do) to be a people pleaser so when I would make mistakes, I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and would always get REALLY down on  myself and certainly never extend grace to myself. I felt like I let my parents, or those that were affected, down and couldn't understand why they would still love me and show me grace. I NEVER knew and still struggle with accepting grace in my life...the same with LOVE and FORGIVENESS. Therefore, why would I believe that God could put aside my sin and truly love me when I've let Him down so badly with my sin? This weekend, I felt like I started to understand and accept all of this. One of the most profound things I realized is that I often let the sin in my life paralyze me from allowing God's love and grace penetrate my heart and the remnants of unforgiveness in my life stem from not being able to forgive myself first and extend grace to myself. If I can give these to myself, how can I extend them to others freely?

I think that I already extend grace and love and forgiveness to people at a level beyond my own capacity but truly as evidence of God's work in my life. For example, I have a friend that struggles with his own past sin and felt I couldn't possible love, extend grace to and forgive him despite his sin. But for me, I was able to put all of that aside and love him for who he was with all of his dents and I think it was the first time I've been able to do that without holding on to the little pieces of hurt in our relationship...I was able to truly LOVE him. I could identify with him because our self-concepts were similar, before this weekend of life-change that I was able to experience. He felt that his past sin would keep him from having the good things that God was giving to him and that he wasn't good enough for what God was blessing him with. Unfortunately, I think that we all allow our sin to keep us from experiencing the blessings that God has planned for us.

This song played on my way home from the retreat and I couldn't ask for a better prayer as I left this weekend:

I see each of these things as 'dents' in our lives. Things that keep us from becoming the 'vehicle' God created us to be. We beat ourselves up for each of these dents and until we do the work required...getting estimates and truly letting go and allowing God to "fix" our dents, we won't be able to be the person God created us to be. Where are the 'dents' in your life? Where do you need to give up control?

1 comment:

Kate said...

Ahhh this post is like a breath of fresh air. Its a good reminder that even when little things go bad, God can use those to refine me!