Posts Tagged ‘inventory’

Scar-wars was originally posted on “Tides of the Heart” 

photo: by Angela = )

 The scene takes place in the galley of a fishing boat. Three men, who 24 hours earlier, shared mostly contempt and arrogance toward each other, had just survived “round one” of man vs. nature. But now they were acting like old friends. I wonder if it was because they were removed from the “battle field” where it was evident that they were up against something bigger than all three of them that began the bond. The began a game I though clever to call “scar wars”. It sounded like this: “hey look at this scar. I got it from an eel… or this from a bar fight, or this from the girl who broke my heart…

The games the primary objective was to match scar for scar. It was a game that may have been played by warriors returning after a raid, a challenging hunt, or fending off a wild and deadly animal. Later it evolved to a grown up game of show and tell and it helped to break awkward silences. The silent times that came when we realized how small we actually were in the scheme of things. I called these exchanges “Scar-Wars” because the exchanges are territorial at first: ” I can do better than that look at my scar it’s from…” Still the stories open a window that reveals just how alike we are in our human-ness. We are all at times vulnerable, silly, clumsy, or week.

 Back to the fishing boat: The atmosphere in the galley scene changes. Someone in the “scar-wars” exchange takes an interest in an obvious scar that is not brought into play by one of the players. The one upping, and bragging ceased. Had this player intended fold without showing his “trump” card? Maybe because he knew that death could be waiting around the corner, he decided to give an answer to  the inquiry by sharing the story behind the scar. When he (the most unlikable of the three) begins talking, the room becomes still and quiet. The men stop smiling and listen compassionately maybe even introspectively. They knew that his story might touch on some of their own untold stories, and they knew that this scar might reveal more about who this salty old dog really was.

I sat among the theater audience listening much like the characters in the story, thinking, “oh that’s who you are.” My heart softened toward this contentious character and I found myself not wanting him to die.

The scar was self-inflicted. It was the result of an attempt to remove tatoo. The tattoo served as a reminder of two life changing battles in this man’s life. The last was a tragic battle he had with nature. After being torpedoed, he and several shipmates watched helplessly as man-eating sharks picked them off one by one. He bore no visible scars because even though he shared many days in the water among the sharks, he was never bitten. Surviving and not being bitten came at a high price and it was not something worth bragging about. On the wake of this man versus nature battle, he had successfully delivered the Hiroshima bomb. Again, he couldn’t brag about winning that battle either and again there was no visible scar. But there was a tatoo. The tatoo that would serve as a reminder of the tragic stories he was part of. It was that tatoo that he tried to remove. As if the removing the tatoo would erase the memory.

But there was still a scar.

So it is that some wounds don’t seem to leave a visible scar. But visible or invisible all scars have a story. Whether the scar is on the flesh or below the surface, like the tatoo, removing it often leaves a scar too.

I am familiar with these invisible scars. I have unfortunately considered them a “badge of heroism”. My personal trump card for the ” I am tougher than you ‘star wars’ game”. I believed they gave me justification to be bitter and guarded. They successfully put distance between me and experiencing other people’s feelings. When someone was going through something that was a little too painful or familiar I could use my trump card to secretly put myself above them. (After all I survived much worse). Mercy was a concept I couldn’t get. Pridefully I considered my hardness as strength. Maybe it was even fear that kept me from entering into another person’s story. But, as long as my scars stayed hidden, my ability to relate to others was limited.

One of the steps found in recovery programs instructs us uncover (or take inventory of) each and every scar. I found for me that I had falsely believed that, because scars were from old wounds they had no potency on my life. WRONG Once the inventory was made, the program required the sharing of this “inventory” with myself, God and another human being. My “inventory” showed that my unspoken stories were still very potent. But when I shared these stories, the secrets were less powerful. By sharing my scars I allowed people and God to speak into my stories. They gave me encouragement, empathy and acceptance. At times we shared laughter or tears. More importantly the people I shared with, revealed some of the scars they had from their lives. Wow. connection.

1John 1:9 says: “if we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness” (all: that which was done by me or to me). All is washed clean by the God who made me, the God who gives me strength, the God who cares for me, the God who reveals truth to me. When he cleanses me from the unrighteousness there is no scar. I am given soft new flesh. I learn how to laugh in what delights God, and to cry at what breaks his heart. More importantly God reveals the scars he bears for me (and by which I am healed). And I learn to be in agreement with God, who in the beginning said, “It is not good for man to be alone”.

  • (scene references to the motion picture Jaws)

(to visit “Tides of Heart” and read more like this click here)

Spend your time and Energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness.

Physical exercise has some value but spiritual exercise is much

more important for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 NLT

 

I love it when I am “re-awakened” to experiencing God.  At any given time I can say, that I am blessed, that God is dwelling richly in my life.  I am in daily contact with God.  I put aside time each day to read God’s word.  But there is something profoundly different when I am actually in the midst of what God is doing in my life.  It is then, I look back and “remember”  the richness of God’s blessing  and love.   And realize that I have been settling for less than God’s best for me.   It’s like the difference between:  talking on the phone( or even across the room) to someone who loves me  and supports me, and actually being wrapped up in a big hug with that same person.  (Interesting the latter doesn’t really call for words).

 

So this weekend I “went forward” for prayer at church.  We have a time at the end of our service, where  we can go forward for prayer, a special touch from God,  repentance, healing,  or a refilling  from God.  Often going forward is like that big hug….NO Words necessary.  This week however, I went forward as I wanted to go to God in repentance.  Repentance  for the same things I confess  at least weekly  to my accountability partners and at meetings.  Step 5 We admitted to God ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.  “Therefore confess your sins to each other, and pray for each other, so that you may be healed.” James 5:16 a

But “going forward in repentance”  is like step 6 and 7  :

We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

 – James 4:10

We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

“If we confess our sins He is faithful and will forgive us our sins

and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 

-1John 1:9.

 

I realized (a reoccurring realization)   that when I “go forward”   I am at that place where I am entirely ready to receive what God has for me.  I may be going forward to have God take away my defects of character…but I think that what really happens is God doesn’t take it… let it go… 

Admitting  and being accountable are good…but going to God in repentance is better.   Why?

BECAUSE UNLIKE OTHER PEOPLE, OR MY OWN STRENGTH AND DESIRE

GOD CAN FIX IT!

GOD KNOWS JUST WHAT I NEED.

AND

HE IS READY TO GIVE IT TO ME.

I felt the healing power of God’s gracious forgiveness.  I felt God’s  favor.   I felt restoration as I my eyes were again open to the wonderful gifts He had for me and had already given me.  And what is more, being reminded of who I am in Christ, propels me to move forward in renewed strength that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit.

 So to wrap up…The act of “going forward ” to me is not just a physical action.  It is a spiritual action  as I am “going before God”  and receiving, from Him,  what is beyond words.    

 

 

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander as well as malicious behavior. Instead be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you” Ephesians 4:26-27

I recently was reminded to consider the tone of voice I use with my family.   Hearing how someone had noticed a shift in how they talked to their family as a result  coming to meetings, I thought it would be not only desirable to talk to my spouse with the same kindness I showed strangers, but to speak to him with the same secret intimacy we shared at the beginning of our relationship when it was, “us and ‘them’”. 

There was a time that I struggled with rage on more than a weekly basis.  It was because of the work God did in me through recovery that I have been rage free for over 5 years.    AA teaches an acrostic that has helped me in this area.  H  A  L  T   Halt reminds me that my tendency to rage, or act out can be triggered when I am  too

Hungry

Angry

Lonely

Tired

 “Don’t Sin by letting anger gain control over you, don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry for anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil” Ephesians  4:26-27

I see more clearly the importance of not only starting my day with God, but  before ending it;  it is important to check in with him as well.  So even if I have been so caught up in the business of the day, at the end of each day I can check in with myself and God and put myself in his hands.  Remembering that it is God who feeds me, gives me peace, is my companion, and gives me rest can release me to give my spouse the same break I give to strangers. 

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