Today in iso church we continued to looked at our fit through our story. The things that we have experienced, that have influenced us and form part of our shape in bigger ways than we often realise. Some of these things are everyday things we don’t even think twice about, others more complex.
As I look back over my story some of the things that standout are:
- I have always loved art. I used to copy the teachers drawings off the board when I was in primary school. I learned to sew, knit and how to take photos in primary school.
- My Mum’s faithfulness to get us to Church when I was young, with no car, Sunday school in one place and church in another.
- My grade 5/6 primary school art teacher. The impact you had on my love for art and creativity and using art in such fun ways that connected me to analogue and video art (before digital was even a thing).
- Journals. I have been drawn to writing in journals since I was a teen. I could fill a bookcase with them, though not all of them would fit. They range from 2 x 4 inch to A2 in size. They mostly started as writing, poetry and songs and continued into writing to God, prayers and illustrations.
- The sudden death of my brother and the impact it has had on my life in the multiple layers this comes in and though I would have done it very differently, I don’t think I would be the person I am today without going through this. It has shaped me in ways I couldn’t have imagined before that happened. I am a better person. Weird I know to read that, weird to write that.
I wrote once that who I am today has been hugely impacted and shaped by the experiences of trauma in my life. Abuse, death, divorce, growing up without a dad. But I am not defined by the things that have happened to me, but by who has gotten me through these. God is the only reason I can stand each morning in the shape I am in. Recently, and maybe because COVID iso has had me reflecting more, I have gotten to the place where I have no strength left. We often say in Christian speak that we do all things through Christ who strengthen us and this is how I used to see my daily walk. I used to think where I end, he then begins. Now I literally can only depend on the strength I am given, I have none of my own. The coolest thing about this….that strength comes from God who created everything and this makes each day so much easier knowing I do nothing in my own strength. It is liberating to say the least. It has freed up my head space. It has physically lifted a weight I was carrying all the time. I can’t explain it.
It’s that transformation and renewal of the heart. It’s not a get it done kind of deal. It’s a continuing to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Ongoing and in stages, and just as I tried to get across in my staff devotion this least week, when you are at capacity and there is no more only then can we begin to know the only strength we actually have comes from the creator of all things. This strength, endless, uncomplicated, fresh and life giving.
The highlight reel you get to see of my life is not how I see myself, but are the parts you get to see because I have walked the narrow, deep valleys so deep there were times I couldn’t see light or breathe through the pain, to the mountain top heights of joy. But all the things I have experienced and continue to experience are the reason I am the shape I am today. This shape that I continue to be transformed into. The bits we get to see of each other don’t match up to how we see ourselves, because my shape is not your shape and your shape is not my shape, but who shapes us makes us all fit together. There is a bigger picture that we miss when we only see our shape in the light of others. When our eyes are vertically focused, we can see our shape developing and we can rejoice in the shape of others without feeling like we are holding the door open while everyone else’s life and gifting make sense.
In iso church today Roma Waterman said this and it really hit a cord with me: “Through the struggles and pains God will use these to shape you into a beautiful work of art”.
Your because determines your become. ~ Justin Gaul. Your gift makes a way for you. It ushers your gifting into the places that need to hear the word of God in places you would have never of known possible. When we take our eyes off what everyone else can do better than you in allows you to start to see the light God is shining on your gifts so you can see them and develop them.
What are you doing that has you in the process of finding your fit, but you can’t see it yet? What impacts your heart so deeply that you want to see it changed? What do you need to say yes to that will help you confirm this is your fit, or confirm it’s not so you can move on to the next part of your story?