It’s Narcissist Friday!
Recently I read about someone who had a tattoo she no longer wanted. It was someone’s name, I think. She went to a tattoo artist to see if it could be removed, but was told it would be both painful and costly. Even then, it would still be seen as a blemish or blotch. But the artist offered another option. He could use the existing tattoo in a new design. The old would still be there, but it would never be seen in the old way again.
I remember someone calling a tattoo a “permanent record of temporary insanity.” That usually gets an uncomfortable laugh, but there are many such “permanent records,” aren’t there? For some people, their child is such a record. Others bear physical handicaps because of a poor decision. Still others suffer under long and large debt, job restrictions, incarceration, family loss, and more. Things of the past do affect the present and the future.
Maybe there is something in your past that continues to have an effect on you, but it wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t because of a bad decision or a sin. Maybe it was something someone else did. Maybe it was just something that happened, an accident or a natural situation. It had a lasting effect in your life.
You can, of course, choose to blame everything on that “tattoo.” You can decide to obsess over the poor decision or the twist of fate. You can let it ruin your life or run your life. But you don’t have to.
No, you can move on. You can let the Lord make something beautiful of your life with your past as part of the tapestry. You can see your past as the path God used to get you to today.
I have to be careful here. I am not one to suggest that God brings pain and suffering into our lives so that we become something He wants us to be. No, I think there are plenty of ways for this broken world to hurt us. God reaches into our lives, knowing our past, and works it all to good.
Let Him do that for you. Accept your past. Embrace what has gone before.
You don’t have to say that it was good. Bad things do happen. Bad people do bad things. Someone might have hurt you and that person is culpable. But whether justice comes or not, the fact of the event remains. Accept it and move on.
Nor do you have to say that everything that presents a challenge to you from the past was sin. We make mistakes. Some are born into difficult circumstances. That’s not sin. You don’t have to blame yourself. Move forward to something good.
Divorce, physical injury, an unexpected pregnancy, a foolish decision, an egregious sin, trust in the wrong person, whatever. You might have any of these or several of them. Some you chose, and some you did not choose. They make up your past. They do not define your present or future. Yes, they have an effect, but you can decide what that effect will do in your life.
If you want a good future (and who doesn’t?) accept your past. Allow God to give you something beautiful.