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Finding Purpose in Our Scars

“Well, that will leave a mark!!”

Have you ever injured yourself and thought or said those words to yourself immediately following?  It’s no fun.  Pain that has been inflicted on us, whether intentionally or not, leaves a mark.

Here’s what Merriam Webster says about it:

MARK

-an impression (as a scratch, scar, or stain) made on something :  a distinguishing trait or quality

We all know what a scratch or scar is.  We’ve had them.  We have them now.  Everyone has experienced something in their life that has left a scar.  Whether emotional or physical.  But Merriam calls them a “distinguishing trait” or “quality”.

They are unique to who we are.  We are the only person who has the exact scar that we have.  No one else has what we do and it’s part of what makes us who we are up to this point.  Like it or not.  Would you agree?

 

Scars appear after we’ve been wounded.  Time has passed allowing us to heal all that we can.

The location of that injury will always look a little different.  It may feel a little different.  It may react to sunlight or other outside influences a little different.  But nevertheless, you carry it with you.  Though it may fade, it never goes away.  You will never look the same in that place as you did before your injury.

 

Whether emotional scars, or physical scars…

“He heals the brokenhearted

    and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3

He heals and He binds.  He doesn’t heal and wave a magic wand to make the mark disappear.  He holds it together.  He holds you together, and me, right in that very spot.

 

Ponder these things about scars:

  1.  They indicate survival.  Whatever it is that caused that wound, whether deep or shallow, you have survived the source of that wound.
  2. They make your story unique.  No one has the exact scar that you carry.  Your experience was YOUR experience, not someone else’s to tell.
  3. They spark conversation.  When you recognize someone else who is carrying a similar wound, it’s oftentimes a safe place to share stories.  To encourage.  To laugh at the past.  To cry together.  To be thankful for survival.

Perhaps the most significant truth about our scars is this…

4.  They are something we have in common with our perfect savior.

Jesus has scars.

Physical scars in his hands and feet that came with tremendous emotional and mental anguish.  Your scars give you a connection to Him.  A very personal connection.

comforting-scripture-verses-psalm-56-8

 

And although Jesus suffered on the cross and bears the physical scars of His horrific earthly death, He suffered at other times too:

*He was distressed when He announced at the last supper that one of his disciples was going to betray him (John 13:21)

*Jesus’ soul is troubled when he predicts his own death (John 12:27)

*His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:38)

*Jesus was troubled and wept when Lazarus died (John 11:33-35)

These experiences brought pain and anguish to Him.  They left a mark.

Take note that despite the fact that Jesus led a perfect, sinless life, He still endured troubling times.  Although our scars are sometimes an indicator of consequences from our own decisions, they aren’t always.  Sometimes, they are just souvenirs we’ve picked up from our life journey.

I can’t help but think that in searching for some purpose in our scars, we are brought closer to Him.  They create common ground with Him.  They help us identify with His humanity.

What are the scars that you carry?

*Hurtful words that left a mark when spoken to you earlier in your life…

*Relationships broken and crumbled that once held great strength…

*Decisions made in your past that had consequences leading you down an unwanted path…

*Ever been physically abused?  Ever been the abusive one?

What is it that ripped through you at one point but has healed since?  What is it that is now healing but still feels fresh when bumped or when you run your hand across it?

The markings on your life, those distinguishing traits, use them as conversation starters with Jesus.  Use them to explore how Jesus may want to use your life to draw others closer to Him.  Use them to foster a sense of thanksgiving every time they are bumped or exposed unexpectantly.

They make up the fabric of who you are and God loves you no matter how or when you acquired those scars.

All scars carry purpose…that is truth…ask the Lord what that may be when you talk to Him.

And thank Him for your survival while you’re at it.

Praying for us all to embrace every part of who we are,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

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Purposely created to BE, not to DO

quote-rick-warren-a-purpose-driven-life

 

“It’s not about you.”

Last week we talked about putting the mirror down and getting the focus off of ourselves.  Not the most popular line of thinking these days is it?  We love to talk about our issues, our challenges, our past…but for this series we are exploring why we were created in the first place.

Now that the mirror is put away, let’s talk about love.

Before I even get started, I bet I can read your mind.  You’re already thinking that I’m going to tell you that you were created to love others.  That we are here to lavish love onto those that are less fortunate and to give of ourselves until we are empty.  That in loving others, we will find our purpose.

Wrong.  And right.

Today we aren’t talking about our performance.

We are talking about being loved.

Love.

One of the most over used words in the English language.  One of the most weighted words in the English language.  One of the most desired titles in the English language.

Why a title?

Don’t we all want to be loved?  To be cared for and thought of?  Don’t we all long to have someone who is wise, caring, discerning, someone who keeps our best interest in mind, who is fair and gentle to love us?

I say yes.

Look around.

Television movies are always centered around a relationship where either love conquers all or someone is looking to be loved.

Authors make millions of dollars selling books telling stories of two people not meant to be together who find their way through every roadblock until they intersect in the last chapter and live happily ever after.

Women young and old let things go too far too quick in dating relationships hoping they will be loved in return.

Our culture is inundated  with stories and photos and music that awaken something deep within us that says “somebody love me!!!”?

Where do we think this desire to be loved comes from?

Why are we wired this way?

God.

He placed in each of us the desire to be loved.  He did that.

Why?

Because He wants to be the one to fulfill that longing.  He wants for me and for you to open our hearts up to Him to fill that hole.

 “How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”

Ephesians 1:3-6 The Message

Read this again.  Read it slowly.

“...long before the earth’s foundations…” He envisioned us.

“...he had us in mind…” He thought of us.

“…settled on us as the focus of his love...” He chose to make us his center.

“…adopt us into his family...” Before we were born he knew He wanted us.

“…He wanted us…” His mind was made up.

“…his lavish gift-giving…” He planned to demonstrate His love for us.

None of this has anything to do with our performance.

None of it.

One of the reasons you are here on this earth is for God’s pleasure.

So He can love you.

He takes pleasure in loving YOU!

It you are a parent, think of it this way.  Don’t you love your children just the way they are?  Especially if you planned on having them, don’t you cherish the fact that you have this child and that they are yours. They carry your name.  They resemble you in appearance.

What if they were laying in a hospital bed and were unable to do their chores.  Would you love them the same as when they could hold a broom?

What if they got caught up in the wrong crowd and went astray for a while.  Would you love them the same as when they were under your wings?

What if they lived their lives pursuing their dreams.  Would you love them any less if they did not?

That parental love…it’s not performance based.  It doesn’t come with conditions.

I John 4:8 tells us that “God is love”.  It’s His nature.  His character.  We were created in His image and that love resides in us.  Both our desire to love and our desire to be loved.

Let’s settle on this for now…you exist so that God can love you.

He loves you whether you want it or not.

He loves you whether you think you deserve it or not.

He loves you whether you are walking in His ways or not.

He loves you.  Period.

Like a loving father, even if you push back, run away or turn your back on Him, He still loves you.

He has since before the foundations of the earth were set.  Before.

So let’s rest in that.  Breath it in.  Believe it.

Reflect & Respond:

**Perhaps you were taught that the purpose of your existence is solely to please God through your actions.  Reflect on the scripture above.  Read it and ask Him to help you believe it.

** What’s your response to this good news?  I’d love to hear about it!

Praying for you all,

Kellie

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Put the Mirror Down

quote-rick-warren-a-purpose-driven-life

“It’s not about you.”

Ever heard of The Purpose Driven Life?  This is is the first line of the book.  Kind of a let down right?

It was written by Rick Warren in 2002 and sat on the New York Time’s Bestseller List for over 90 weeks!  That’s nearly 2 years!  That’s a lot of people seeking to find their purpose.

Ever heard of What On Earth Am I Here For?  It’s an updated version of Purpose Driven Life released to culminate the 10th anniversary of Warren’s best seller.

The first line in the new book?  “It’s not about you”.  Seems things haven’t changed.

 

We have been enveloped with ads and quotes and books and commercials that keep our eyes on ourselves.

You need this phone so you can stay connected to the world.

You need this nutritional plan so you can stay focused on your health.

You need this car so you can impress your coworkers.

You need this line of credit so that you can purchase your dream boat.

You need …

“It’s not about you”

Why would Warren open with such a statement?  Does it make you want to keep reading further?  To be told that maybe we’re not all that important?  That maybe our lives don’t really matter?

Isn’t there a small part of us that thinks “really?”  If it’s not about me, then why am I even here?  What’s my purpose?  When is it going to be about me?

When someone hurts us we ask “what did I ever do to you?”

When a loved one passes away we ask “why is this happening to me?”

When we lose our job we say “what was the point of that?”

When someone else gets that promotion we ask “when is it my turn?”

I.  Me.  My.

 

”  It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

  The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal…”
John 13 1-4a

 

This passage gets to me.

The scene here is that Jesus is at what we call “The Last Supper”.

Jesus knows that the hour was here for his death.  The hour.

He knows that the devil has already spurred Judas to betray Him.

So, Jesus gets up from the meal…

I stopped the scripture here because I think we should pause and ask ourselves what we would be doing if we were in Jesus’ place.

Would we get up and make an emotional speech about how we were about to die?

Wouldn’t we want some sympathy or for people to know what a martyr we were about to be?

Wouldn’t we want to stand up and point at Judas and let everyone know that he was about betray us and so “ya’ll make sure he gets what’s coming to him!”

What does Jesus do here?  Let’s pick up where we left off…

“4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

John 13:4-7

My goodness can you see it?  Do you feel it?

I would be trembling too hard to tie anything around my waist and pour water into a basin and kneel down so calmly.

I would be nauseated with fear of what was coming.

I would be busting at the gut to tell everyone what was about to happen.

But if I did, all eyes would be on me.  All compassion, sympathy and protectiveness would be centered on me.  Feel sorry for me.  Look at me.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45

It’s not about me.

It’s not about you.

Everything Jesus did while he walked the earth was at the direction of his Father.  He knew his Father had a good plan, that it had a purpose that would make an eternal impact on lives until the end of our time here and he knew that we would be better served if he pointed us all to his Father rather than to his own life.

Everything.  All of it.

Jesus didn’t hold a mirror.  He didn’t keep glancing at his problems and his frustrations and the unfairness that kept coming his way.  He didn’t lean in to his own reflection (like I’ve done so many times) and question over and over again “why me?” or “what now”.

Jesus didn’t gather his friends around and ask for their pity.  He didn’t manipulate others into constantly asking him if he was ok.  He didn’t.  It wasn’t about him.

It’s not about us…the question is, do we understand that we still have purpose?  That there’s a reason we’re all here and breathing?  That we are a part of God’s divine plan?

We have purpose.  We are important.  We are so loved by the Creator that He chose to demonstrate that to us through the sacrifice of His son.  His beloved.

Let’s follow Jesus’ lead and serve others without the expectation of return service.

There was purpose in the life of Jesus.

There is purpose in the lives we lead.

I’ll say more about that next week.  But for now…let’s just put the mirror down.

Reflect & Respond:

**Do you ever find yourself so focused on your own life that you almost nauseate yourself?  I have.  Examine your more recent thoughts and turn it around if necessary.

**Serve.  Be intentional and do one thing every day to serve someone unselfishly.  Let’s see if our problems start to shrink as we put that into practice.

Praying for you all,

Kellie