How do you like to define yourself? By that I mean, when you look in a mirror who do you see? Is it the person you were five years ago? Last year? This week? Do you like to see who you are or who you were?
For me, I hope that if I were to look back that I would not see the same person I was six months ago. I always want to keep changing and growing. Now as the years have gone by I have incurred some scars. But the experiences of my past do not define who I am, they change me and have an influence on who I have become, but they don’t dictate how I am defined.
About three years ago I had surgery on my thumb. There was a lump in my thumb and I had left it there for over a year. Because the lump had been in my thumb for so long it had gotten tangled in some of the tissues; the damage was done. The surgeon removed the lump and stitched me up. Now I have little sensation around the scar tissue and my thumb doesn’t look the same as it did before. But that’s not a bad thing.
Scars are not bad: they show healing. The event that led up to the scar was not an enjoyable experience. But that experience did not change the definition of my thumb, it changed the print my thumb made.
We all have scars that we have incurred from our pasts. Some are small (like my thumb) and others are big. One thing that they have in common is that they all had a process of healing. Wounds can’t turn into scars if we keep on opening them up. Sometimes when we look back it opens our wounds that have not healed, and this can lead to infection.
Words stick. I have a pretty decent memory, and it seems to be amazing at remembering the negative things that people have said to me. Many times I have caught myself replaying these words in my mind over and over, and it’s like reopening the wound. I’m not treating the wound. This causes me to become angry and sometimes bitter and hateful towards these people. When I look in the mirror my focus is on what they have said and not on who I was created to be (Psalm 139:13-14, Psalm 103:4, Ephesians 2:10). I let them define me. Replaying their words is what traps me. But if I can switch my focus to God and what he says to me, my wounds can heal and be replaced by scars.
God does not define us by what has happened (Psalm 103:12). He holds nothing against us; he is always there with open arms, waiting to bandage your wounds, to begin your healing process (Psalm 103:3). No matter where you have come from you are not too broken for God. So, next time you want to look in a mirror pick up God’s mirror (Isaiah 43:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:5). It says that the areas we are lacking in, he is the one who will fill in the empty spaces. Don’t focus on what you are not, because “I am” is (2 Corinthians 12:9). Surrender your wounds to the Healer.