Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 11: Can we right the wrongs?

The Books section of today's NYTimes has some entertaining headlines, even if you're not into books. One review is called "To Err is Human: And How! And Why!" about two books on the art and science of being wrong. (I can't help but wonder if my early dating years aren't mentioned in at least one of them, given how doggedly I pursued my own gift of being wrong...) The other review is entitled, "You Can't Run From The Past, But You Can Rewrite It." True again!

Most of us--if we have a sense of humor, or irony, or a career in the arts in which some understanding of angst and pathos is helpful--can mine some gold from the lower dips in the narrative timeline of our pasts. But lets be honest: just because we can use it for good in the present doesn't mean parts of it don't sting when we take a moment to really think about them....or that they can't leave us despondent on the couch for a whole weekend with a gallon of Rocky Road and a marathon of Julia Roberts movies on cable if a wayward memory catches us off guard. The past can be potent.

How do we defuse it? Especially in places where we see ourselves making the same mistakes over and over again, how do we break the cycle? I used to read helpful books. I'd identify my mistakes, and DECIDE TO BE DIFFERENT! The trouble was that when I was in the trenches of real life, away from my books and my firm decisions, I couldn't always figure out what "different" looked like, on a what-do-I-do-now? level. So back on the roller coaster I'd go.

I'll admit that I wish my grand solution to this dilemma was cooler. As I said in my first book, I'd love nothing more than to say that my life was changed my adding kale to my diet and finding the right lip gloss. If only... But what really happened was this: God spoke to me one day (weird, right?) and said, "I have a husband for you, and a family...everything you want. But you need to take Jesus seriously." It was just so ridiculously crazy, I decided to give it a try...even though I had no idea what "taking Jesus seriously" might entail.

Eight years (and a husband) later, I'm still figuring it out. I'm delighted to report that it didn't mean a lot of the things I feared it might...and that it helped in a whole host of unexpected ways. No the least of which was answering the question, "What do I do with my wrongs?"

Jesus says, "Give them to me." And if we do, he transforms them. And us. It's miraculous, and mysterious. But I've seen it too many times not to believe in it's power.

So today, if the headline about rewriting the past seems like a possibility too good to be true to you, try talking to Jesus. Ask him if it's true what that Blogger Trish said, about how he could help. And ask him for a vision of your future--free of baggage and cycles of mistakes--might look like.

An engineer named Charles Kettering once said, “My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there." Provocative point. I wonder if cleaning up our past, inviting in Jesus' spiritual help to sort things out (like an organizational expert who helps you decide what to hold onto and what to throw away), might be one of the most powerful things we can do to get out of our cycle of hurts and wrongs and invest in a better future?

Make me feel better: Am I the only one out here with wrongs that need transforming?

10 comments:

Anna said...

Moving out (and staying out) of the past is so hard!

Reminding myself that God is bigger than my imagination can even comprehend, humbles me a bit but I say "Here I am. Again. And again. And again. Help me." The Great Defuser. I'd be a total wreck without him.

kim said...

What I've been getting is forgiveness and risking sharing my vulnerability with people who are trustworthy (particularly men, yikes!). SO glad I'm not in this alone.

larramiefg said...

You're not the ONLY one.... But have you ever realized how brave God made you to admit it? Impressive!

Sarakastic said...

I can't wait to try this one out.

KristyWes said...

I think my challenge is separating past wrongs from my identity. As in, "that's what I *did*, not who I *am*." Believing that past wrongs don't make me inherently less valuable in the eyes of God. Giving it to Jesus, and also taking the grace that He offers in return. Sometimes receiving forgiveness is equally as hard as giving it. You know?

leisel16 said...

i am so there. this one nearly has me in tears as i just sat and ate 5 slices of delivery pizza. i am so turning to the wrong thing. i am at a loss as to how to begin to make a change. i do not know how to begin giving it to God and especially leaving it there. anyway, i think i could type forever, so i will end here.

Jane said...

In the past few weeks I have been dealing with being really fed up with myself with what seems to be making the same mistakes over and over again - in the area of men and relationships. As I have tried all approaches, and nothing works, the only way forward now is with God. This is an area of my life I have resisted putting my faith in God in. Forever the control freak!! I am coming to accept that the nature of being human means making mistakes which can then allow for God to come through for us. I'm tired of keeping it together and am ready to let go. And maybe that's just what there was for me to learn. Lord I pray for humility and the grace to embrace with open arms that I don't know everything there is to know. I pray that there is a parting of the waves and the path is clear Lord.

KimberlyH said...

Receiving forgiveness is tough for me, too.

KimberlyH said...

Receiving forgiveness is tough for me, too.

vee said...

Oh my gosh Trish, no, you are not the only one with wrongs that need transforming. Honestly, I can't even count all the cycles that i no longer want to repeat (and I'm someone who friends try to emulate). Strange...I know. Just confirms that we all need some of that transforming love from God.