Archive for the ‘Truth’ Category

Beautiful Scars

Posted: May 24, 2012 by clairer in God's Faithfulness, Truth

My toe nail is black. Yes, literally, black. It happened five months ago now playing an alumni basketball game with my old high school team. I’m happy I at least injured it athletically and not by stubbing it on a stair. But, over the past several months, while I’ve been waiting for my toe to heal, I’ve done my best to cover up the “injury.” It isn’t something that’s terribly pleasant to look at so when I go out in flip flops, sandals, or bare feet, I’m careful to cover up that particular toe with a band-aid. When I forget, I just tuck that toe surreptitiously under my other foot. My “scar” isn’t something that I want to show off to the world because, frankly, it’s ugly and makes me look bad.

I think I sometimes do that with other areas of my life, though, too – not necessarily with physical scars, but with emotional or spiritual rough spots. I’m a perfectionist and, as such, I usually like to seem like I have it all together. I like to make it seem like I’ve got no problems, no flaws…like nothing bothers me.

But, not surprisingly, I’m human. I’ve had times of spiritual dryness, times when I’ve been hurt, times when I have been less than perfect. We all have these pockets of imperfections. But, like my toe, I think we often try to cover them up and make sure that no one can see them. That way, we seem whole, even if we are somewhat “broken” inside.

But I think this is a mistake. Our “scars” are a testament to who we have been and who God has made us today. Every physical scar comes with a story – like my little brother’s small scar above his eye where he got hit going up for a rebound in a basketball practice (yes, another sports injury). In the same way, our scars from our histories tell a story – and, for those of us who are Christians, a story of grace.

For example, when I was a freshman in high school, I went through a very difficult time spiritually and really began to question my faith. Am I proud that my faith waivered for a time? No. Do I love broadcasting the fact? No. But still, I’ll talk about it with my friends and I’ve written about it on this blog. Why? Because that “scar” – that rough time – points to God’s grace in my life and can be used to help others.

I’ve been able to relate to many of my friends who are doubting their faith because I’ve gone through it. I can talk to unbelievers about how God has changed my life because I can point to that time of doubt. I can be a testament to God’s grace by revealing that “scar.”

I know there are other areas of my life that can be witnesses to what God has done as well. There are things in my past that I may not be proud of, decisions that I regret, or experiences where I’ve been hurt. But by being open to using these experiences to  testify to God’s grace, these scars can be used by God…not band-aided over.

The True Me?

Posted: January 6, 2010 by clairer in Pride, Truth

I was bored one summer afternoon, so I grabbed my laptop, opened my browser, and checked my Facebook account.  My newsfeed was littered with results from my friends taking yet another Facebook quiz.  Usually, I ignored these (as the results tended to not mean anything significant), but this one intrigued me: “What famous literary character are you?”  As an avid reader and fan of literature, how could I resist taking this one quiz?

I briefly answered the eleven “what-would-you-do-if-this-happened” questions and viewed my result.  Apparently, I was most like Jane Eyre – someone who struggles between her mind and heart’s desires, an eccentric, quiet and thoughtful, smart, romantic, and forgiving person.  I quickly dismissed the results.  True, some of the qualities might be similar (of course I am forgiving, smart, and thoughtful), but me be Jane Eyre? Jane Eyre is extremely plain, someone nobody wanted, and was deceived by the man she loved.

I much preferred to think of myself as a Lizzie Bennet – someone who was smart, witty, pretty, and unafraid to speak her mind.  Of course she had her faults, but in light of all of her good qualities, they weren’t that significant.

However, why was it that I was so quick to reject the result that I didn’t like?  No doubt if Elizabeth Bennet had been my result, I would have been quick to publish it to my newsfeed and paste it on my profile.  Perhaps it wasn’t so much that the result was wrong, but that I viewed myself incorrectly.

One of the areas that has been central to my maturing process has been seeing myself as I am and not how I imagine myself to be.  As a strong-willed, imaginative perfectionist, it is easy for me to see myself as I would like to – a perfect, smart, beautiful prodigy with a mixed-in Mother Theresa personality.  Learning to see the truth has been a process for me that will continue throughout my life.

When I was little, my stuffed animals talked to me.  I knew that it was really my mom talking through them, but they always seemed so alive because their personalities were so realistic.  Looking back, I can understand how my mom developed and understood these personalities so completely – their personalities were perfect replicas of my own!  My favorite stuffed animal was a lamb, originally and creatively named “Lamby.”  She was strong willed, sometimes irascible, and a perfectionist.  There would be times that I would argue with her and ask her why she couldn’t just be like my brother’s stuffed bear (who had an extremely sweet, caring personality and an adorable little laugh), to which she would reply, “Because you aren’t.”  This puzzled me somewhat because I thought I was a lot more like my brother’s bear than my demanding lamb.

However, as I matured, I began to be able to see and acknowledge my true self, both good qualities and flaws.   I was more selfish than I wanted to be, less considerate than I could be, and more stubborn than I should be.  While I didn’t and still don’t like to admit where I fall short of who I want to be, acknowledging who I am was the first step for me to work toward becoming who I can be.  There are some things that I won’t be able to change about myself, like my appearance or my naturally strong personality, but there are other aspects that I am able to change now that I see a bit more clearly who I truly am.  I can practice more patience, work on being more considerate of others, and learn to channel my strong will so that it is used effectively to serve others and not selfishly.

I think that it can be a temptation for all of us to see ourselves in the way that we want to.  However, it is important for us to have an accurate picture of who we are.  Without truly seeing who we are, we’re blinded to the areas where we need to grow and, without this growth, we are unable to become the people that God wants us to become.  While it takes humility to look in the mirror and see the areas where we need to grow, God reminds us that we aren’t alone in this task, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

In all humility (*cough*)…I still didn’t think that I was a Jane Eyre, so I went back to take the quiz one more time.  Jay Gatsby?  No way!