i am stressed. and worried. and anxious.
and so, when i am these things, my brain needs distracting, so I come here and hope writing words will calm me down.
I’m on the launch team for my friend Kaitlyn’s book, Even If Not. I’m so excited about this book being brought into the world, especially for those like me who are caught in this in-between stage of life. It’s never the easiest place to be, but her words constantly remind me that God is in every moment in this in-between. Life in the ampersand is easier knowing he’s on every page. 🙂
Anyhow, so she made some graphics with some quotes from the book for us to share for promotion purposes. This week’s quote grabbed my attention:
your scars tell your story.
I really thought about this for awhile. I don’t have many story-telling physical scars. The only permanent scars I have are from bug bites on my legs- doesn’t tell you much of a story (except that I’m terribly allergic to mosquito bites).
but emotional scars? oh, do I have them.
and they tell my story even when I don’t want them to.
Glennon from Momastery shared this word earlier this week:
You want to be tough
You want to be rebellious
You want to be a badass
Then show your heart to everyone…
EVERYONE. (via “The Challenge” by Michael Xavier)
It’s such a paradox to me, this showing my heart to be tough. I grew up thinking the opposite: box it in, conceal it all and present yourself neat and tidy even when your insides are falling apart at the seams. No one needs to carry your burden, or question your scars. That was tough, I thought.
Now I know it’s not. It’s the opposite, actually– it’s cowardly, this internalizing yourself this way. Hiding your scars hides part of who you are. It hides the parts of the story God is redeeming through you… so why wouldn’t you share them?
We are made tougher when we wear our scars and stories like they’re the badges of honor they are.
You see, I spent my whole life hiding my scars. I don’t want people to see the ugly, to ask me what that is and why. To go deeper than I feel comfortable with. I still don’t want to go too deep most days.
I spent a long time burying my scars, acting like they didn’t exist. I’d hide details about my life and my backstory in hopes of avoiding the subject and forgetting it existed.
Forgetting the hurt. Forgetting the fear. Forgetting the bruises on my heart, the scars hidden inside. It was a lot easier to just pretend they didn’t exist.
And I did that for awhile. It worked– I kept my eyes down, got just personal and intimate enough to let people see a corner of my heart… but never the whole thing. There were whole sides of my life and my story that I just didn’t talk about to keep from letting people in too deep. I was scared I’d get burned (again). People wouldn’t care, or use my hurts against me. I didn’t want people to reject me for what I’ve done or what’s happened to me. I still don’t.
I realize now that that is no way to live. It gets really lonely when you only show part of yourself to the world. Keeping everything inside only made it harder when I had to give up the ghost and live with my scars out in the open. When you hold something like your story in for so long, when it comes out, it explodes. And it’s not pretty. At least it wasn’t for me.
It finally stopped working when I realized that pretending things didn’t exist didn’t make them not exist. No matter how much I wished for things to go away, it didn’t make it actually happen. I realized this my freshman year of college: I couldn’t make my past go away. I could only learn how to deal with it and move on. but the scars remain.
In retrospect, I’m glad the things didn’t disappear. It made my life harder, and forced me to be open with people-myself included. But who I am and who He is making me to be wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t have the scars or the stories behind them. And I am more myself when I allow others to see my scars and know my story– for it shows what God is doing in my life.
So, I use my scars, I tell my stories, I let people know what stories those scars hold. Because those stories are all apart of what He has done for me. While I am not my past and I am not my scars, they are a part of this crazy story God is writing. Those scars, no matter how annoying or delicate or visible, prove that I am healed. I am redeemed, a new creation free from my past. The scars are there, but the pain behind them isn’t anymore.
The scars are just there to tell the story.
These scars I’ve earned in whatever battle I’ve been given…and I share them, because they are all apart of the story He is writing for me. And while scars and battles are never easy parts of us, they’re still parts of us– and they give God the glory.
Scars are a reminder of what was, but they’re also reminders that we are healed. We survived. We won.
And my scars mean I am healed.