by Linda Slaton
Behind every pair of eyes, there is a soap-opera that rivals anything reality TV has to offer. I’m often bewildered at how resilient some deeply wounded people are while others become embittered and adrift in a sea of loss. Is it just personality at work or can resilience be learned? Is it possible for the embittered to morph into the emboldened? The hopeful? What’s the key to transformation when scars run deep?
I’ve come to believe that people can change their past. You can’t change what happened, not without living in a fantasy world of denial. But you can change how you view it. You can tell yourself a different story.
What’s the story you’re telling yourself? How would you complete this sentence, in a word or two: My story is one of ____________… If you chose words like loss, abuse, suffering, abandonment, consider these questions:
- Is there meaning in my suffering?
- How does God want to use my story to bless others and me?
- Taking the long view with eternity in mind, what is my story, Lord?
Yes, you can change the past by seeing it in a new way.
We get a glimpse into how Jesus saw His past in a prayer recorded in John 17. He’d been mocked, maligned and mistreated for three long years and He knew he’d soon suffer an excruciating death. Yet listen to how He related His story to His Father. “I glorified You on the earth having accomplished the work You have given me to do (verse 4).”
Let that sink in a minute… He didn’t say, “Father, life sucks and this is my reward –death on a cross and more humiliation. Really? Why me, Lord?” He saw His story in light of eternity. He lived and died with one purpose-driven priority: the glory of His Father. And that changed everything.
Like Jesus, you can change your story without pretending or denying anything. By putting on a new pair of eyes, you have the ability to see your past in light of eternal purposes. You can tell yourself a different story. And that changes everything.
For students of Embracing Purpose: As you write your family story in lesson 1, ask God for help in seeing your past with new eyes.
Lord, teach me to find eternal meaning in my pain
so that my story is new and I am transformed by Your grace and for Your glory.