When I look back over my life, I get frustrated. I see mainly the things that hindered me—both outside of my control and totally my own fault. My heart seemed to be in the right place but my actions were of the impatient kind or the pleasing kind. My parents raised me right; I had a good childhood. They loved me, disciplined me, provided for me and trained me. They always did what they thought was best, so I appreciate these facts. For whatever reason, I always felt something was missing. I was the youngest child but at 14 years of age, became the middle child. My oldest brother had left home to go to college at a young age (yes, so he was very smart and talented), then my sister, the “true” middle child became—her words—“the oldest”. My parents adopted a newborn son so I took my place in the middle.
Ironically, and continuously throughout my life I have been trying to find my place. In my workplace, family, as well as my group of few friends, I have searched for “my place”, or perhaps more like tried to make room for it somewhere.
I look at all the events in my life and I focus on the flaws. All the things that could have been better. All of the tools that I didn’t have to do the things that I could have. Therefore, I get frustrated-one; and two-discouraged. Discouraged that I have never accomplished anything of value except for raising my 3 kids. Even then–thank God they are all great citizens and lovely people whom other people love to be around—I made grave mistakes. My experience as a mother was sadly lacking in my first born’s teen years, but we made it through and are better for all the experience and training by fire that the two of us received.
I wish things had been different. I can think of a couple hundred things I could change and perhaps my life would have been different-more accomplished-more enriching. As we all know, nothing can change that has already been done in our yesterdays, only in our todays and tomorrows. So I’m reminded of the ones I have read about and the great heroes of Scripture and observe that in their lives that there were many dysfunctions and events that were catastrophic. None of them had perfect lives, especially the ones whose final chapters depict great things that they accomplished. Seems like the ones that made the worse mistakes or experienced the most horrific events although detrimental to them at the time, the end of their story was epic. So why not mine? After all, I have experienced some things that others would never survive, let alone endure.
My second thought upon this reflection of my sordid past is—“who do you think you are? You’ve never been that intelligent, how can you compare yourself to the people in the Bible—inspired by God Himself to the prophets and disciples and great leaders? Do you consider yourself a great leader, worthy to stand next to the greats?” To which I reply a humble “no” to myself.
But…but…but…wait! Back up! The works that God did in these people’s lives were wrought by God despite their human errors. That’s the key! It’s God doing the work through the fallible and we are all fallible! We are all broken or bent. And…and…
God made me who I am for some very important reason. He put me in the family, in the position, in the place, with the right set of genes and characteristics that it would take for me to be….well, me! Every vessel has a use. Some for honor, some for dishonor, but all useful for something in His hands.
So my magnifying glass—my binoculars—should focus on God’s hand and God’s work, not on these faults and failures of mine. In spite of all those things, even the ones done to me, the harmful things I had no control over as well as the mistakes I committed and the decisions I made…God is the one in control and the one who works and no one can reverse or modify what He does.
When I bring that picture in close and focus in on it, the rest is still there but it becomes a blur. What remains has a clarity that I cannot ignore. If I hope to change, it has to happen on a deep level. My mind can play tricks on me so I have to make sure everything lines up with my focus, and constantly be vigilant of what is taking center stage. That takes a quality called: daring.
So, maybe I am!