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Friday, February 3, 2017

Do I keep this or not?

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. (Scott Adams) When you see your reflection in the mirror, which mistakes do you actually see in that reflected image? When others see you, what mistakes do they observe? If Christ has become the center of your life, it is likely that what others see in us are those mistakes interwoven into the fiber of what we call "character" - displays of God's grace. These are the ones upon which God has applied a great big coating of grace until the mistake isn't prominent anymore, but his grace shines through.  As a result, they can now become prominent displays of his goodness and graciousness, not so much as flaws in our character, but as evidence of how God can use even what we see as the "worst" to become something of beauty and purpose in our lives. I have been pretty "creative" with my life at times, making some big mistakes, but God has always been faithful to let me see just how they can become these "artful" displays of his grace and goodness!

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. (James 4:10 NLT)

Much of what God uses in our lives isn't so much a matter of us making things better, or smoothing something over so we can move on - it is that God dealt with it head on and covered it with his grace! In counseling terms, this is where the rubber meets the road - the evidence that we take the problem we have created quite seriously and we then allow God to show us how to move beyond it. It is more than sweeping it under the rug - it is learning what took or turned us toward that specific point of making the mistake and then finding a way to block that pathway once and for all so we don't travel it again.

Most of the real work of dealing with our mistakes isn't that we admit we have them. It is admitting we need some help to get away from the consistent pattern of making them time and time again! It begins with humbling ourselves enough to acknowledge the mistake - to bring it to the foot of the cross - then to allow it to be dealt with as only Christ can - in grace. We might think we have a handle on our mistakes, choosing which ones to kind of just gloss over and move away from, but in "glossing over" any mistake, we run the risk of returning repeatedly to that same mistake.

We may not have to revisit all the ugliness of the mistake, but we need to allow Christ to show us what it is that even got us to that point in the first place. This is where we begin to see him "unravel" the events leading up to the place of our "mistake". It may not be as comfortable as we might want it to be, but nothing of value in our lives actually comes to us with ease! Humility is not an easy thing - for it might just require us to reach out from behind our "secret place" of dealing with the ugliness on our own to find help outside of ourselves. It definitely requires we acknowledge we have been on the wrong path - but it may also require us to seek help to build the blockade of defenses that will keep us from ever traveling that path again!

Some mistakes he makes pretty prominent displays in our lives, but it isn't to shame us - it is to show just how much grace can take a pretty ugly mess and turn it into something others can see as a thing of beauty and a place to find hope for their own "grace-filled artwork".  Just sayin!