Friday, September 23, 2011

Jeans that fit...Pain changes you

Here is an all-too-familiar scenario: you go to a store to buy a pair of jeans. You pick up several styles in the size you used to be and head to the fitting room. Why they call it that, when almost nothing fits when you're in there is beyond me.  But I digress. You try on all of the pairs and get frustrated, possibly even emotional. They just don't fit!  This is the size you used to be! Why have things changed? You didn't ASK for them to change. You didn't WANT them to change.

But they have.

Now you're faced with a few options.  1)Buy the old size jeans and fight with them every day, a constant reminder that you're no longer the old size.  2)Don't buy jeans at all and just hide out in seclusion because nothing fits and therefore you are in pjs all day.  3)Buy whatever size jeans you are RIGHT NOW that look as good as possible on you and feel as comfortable as possible.

On this side of the fitting room, options 1 and 2 seem illogical at best. It just makes sense to wear what fits you, to accept the size you are right now and move forward, even if that includes working toward change.

What in the world does this have to do with pain or loss?  I'm glad you asked!

When we face a loss, we are changed.  Forever. But wait - that doesn't have to come across as depressing.  Change, while hard, is not necessarily bad. A lot of times change is good, in our best interests, a blessing in disguise down the road. That doesn't mean that the loss that preceeded the change is good or a blessing, just that the resulting change can be good and a blessing. We say that we believe God works all things together for good and that He doesn't waste pain, using it instead to increase our Godly character.  Yet we often live and act as though all is lost, or as though we are simply surviving until we return to the "old" us.

Sometimes friends and family do not understand the changes pain has brought into our lives - they expect us to be going through a phase and to soon return to normal. What they do not understand is that what was normal is no more. We have a new normal. This isn't a normal that includes forever gaping open wounds, but a normal that does not attempt to ignore or hide our scars. 

Remember how Christ showed His scars? He could have risen without them, but instead they were there for all to see. They increased His believability, credibility, and impact on others. In the same way, showing our scars, or letting them be seen, will benefit those we encounter.

We have to accept that how we are today is the new us. It isn't necessarily the forever-on-this-earth us, but it is true for right now. While there may seem to be an abundance of negative aspects of the new reality, there are positives as well. We just have to decide it is ok to find the positives and begin looking for them.

Better to be comfortable with where God has you right now, today, with a heart willing and ready to grow and learn, rather than fight against yourself every day in desperate hopes of forcing yourself to be how you used to be.

One more thought.  It is almost as though we have made the assumption that if the loss had not happened, we would have always remained the way we were. But God doesn't let ANYONE stay the way they are!  He has so much for each of us, and it will involve change of some sort.  The enemy would love to convince you that because of your loss, you will forever be living a second rate life. But that is in direct opposition to what God promises about having a plan for your life, about blessing you abundantly, about loving you with an everlasting love.

Say it with me: This is how I am today. There are blessings in today.  I choose to trust God, walk with Him wherever He leads, and continually surrender my life plan in exchange for His plan for my life.

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