I Just Want to be Normal Again
I remember lamenting that I just wasn’t the same person anymore. Burnout had changed me and not in a good way. I recalled I had such joy for living life, but had moved into a state of passionless apathy.
I just wanted to go back to the way I was before. I just wanted to go back to “normal” but I bore wounds from my experience that seemed to prevent me from moving on. I soon discovered that I would not find healing by simply getting myself back to the way I was before. We can’t go back in time or come back to life at full health like a character dying in a video game.
So how do we reconcile that we are changed because of our painful experiences? For me, this came from learning who I was in light of my experiences, not in spite of them.
Getting Used to the Scars
I am surprised when I read about Jesus after his resurrection that his resurrected body still bore his scars.
In Luke 24:39 Jesus pointed out his scars saying, “Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me.”
It would seem right that his resurrected body would be flawless, that is without scars but his scars were not flaws but instead glory. For Jesus, it wasn’t about getting back to a life before the pain of the Cross. It was about embracing his past and letting them tell a story.
Jesus’ scars on his hands, feet and side told a story. A story that God so loved the world that his only Son would die on a cross. A story of how He died in our place for our sin, so that we might be reconciled to God. A story that we too would receive the fullness of life for eternity. What incredible scars to bear. The scars of the gospel.
Our scars can also tell the story of the gospel. A story that proclaims hope in Jesus even in the midst of the darkest of valleys.
Writing this blog series is just one way I’m moving past the wounds and letting my scars tell a story. I have started to realise that I don’t want to go back to how I was before. I actually prefer who I am now!
Scars of Pain into Scars of Joy
This experienced helped me to understand how James could look upon his trials (or his scars) not with despair but with joy!
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (ESV)
Just stop for one moment and actually think about these words: count it all joy.
To consider your past pain as joy is so clearly foreign because comfort is considered king in our culture but I believe counting it as joy is pivotal to overcoming your past.
For what reason should we count it all joy? That you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Could what James suggests be true? That we are actually more complete people because of our scars. The shattered image of God in us, now reflects a fuller picture of God. Not in spite of our scars but due to them.