Monday, July 23, 2012

Some Ugly That I Used to Know

No, I’m not talking about that meanie from my 5th grade lunchroom. Nope, not going there. I’m plunging in somewhere else—to my heart.

It’s disconcerting sometimes to reflect back to times in my life when I acted ugly.
And if I’m honest, I usually don’t have to reflect back that far.

Here’s the kicker—the real pulsing point I want you to take away today: At any given moment we have a choice to step out of the ugly. To repent and leave it in the past.
For animals this process is called molting. It represents a time of shedding. Hair. Skin. Horns. Shells. Feathers. All of it—off. Left.

Why does this occur?
It allows the animal to grow and mature in a healthy way. Often molting takes place in order to discard old or damaged hair, feathers, etc.

I also read that for many species there’s an initial resting and preparation stage the animal lives through before the discarding begins.
All of the above details remind me of spiritual molting.
Whole shells get cracked and split down the middle. (You know what else was split down the middle? The curtain in the temple as Jesus died for us.) Here’s another tidbit worth paying attention to? The animal doesn’t take the sloughed off part with them. They don’t gather it, and tuck it in a pouch, or carry it on their head. They don’t collect a rack of horns so they’ll have more to fight with next time. They leave it.

And this is exactly what God calls us to do as we allow Him to sanctify us.
Some ugly that I used to know is not still with me now. It’s not me now.  Even if the ugly was part of me yesterday, it doesn’t define me today. It no longer has the grip on me it used to.

Old is gone.
Why does this matter?

Because I witness so many people torturing themselves as they go through the cycle. What cycle, you might be wondering. The cycle of hurt, anger, and lashing out. The cycle of clinging to the ugly. It’s familiar. Living as a victim garners attention. If I massage this hurt it will remind me to keep my guard up, never trust again—it will make me feel some sense of power. It will give me a right to feel angry. Forever angry.
Unforgiveness and unresolved feelings are like carrying around skin that we were supposed to shed. Eventually, the skin will discolor and likely cause some sort of infection. And most certainly, if we’re clinging to the old we won’t be able to grow new.

Okay, I must stop here to exalt God. How cool that He created everyday lessons for us in nature.
One last detail…In this article about birds molting their feathers, I read: “Since feathers cannot heal themselves when damaged, they have to be completely replaced.”

So the question of the hour is… do you want to get well? Do you trust God in the spiritual molting of your life?


*I love it when God really starts stirring. I had most of this post written before church service on Sunday. And what did our guest pastor speak on? You guessed it—John 5 “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’” Amen & Amen.

*photo by stock.XCHNG

22 comments:

  1. Mmm, what truth, Wendy. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

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  2. Wow. Some similar echoes of our pastor's sermon yesterday on abiding in the vine and getting pruned! Like your example of the feathers, we get so much new (feathers or fruit!) when we let God tear away the old. It's a lesson I have learned and continue to learn on a daily basis. I want the old man to keep on dying! I'm so glad the Lord doesn't leave us in our ugly.

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    1. Thought of the whole pruning process--the abide in me verse, but wasn't sure how to tie that in with molting. Love it how they convey the same thing.

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  3. Very cool how the sermon tied in! I do want to get well. Sometimes I can see myself getting better but sometimes I still see "disease".

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    1. Often when I'm weak my thought life will get messy and have me keep focus on the diseased parts. Something I try to pay attention to.

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  4. Replies
    1. Big LOVE there. Here a love, there a love, everywhere a love love. Okay, it's been a crazy busy day. That's what you get! Thanks for the love!

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  5. Love it, Wendy! I'm so in awe when I realize a spiritual truth through a natural occurrence - it reminds me that God is in everything and everywhere. My pastor said this yesterday: "They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." Romans 1:19-20 (NLT)

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    1. Amen about God being in everything and everywhere. Cool how you added that verse!

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  6. Amen! My hubby and I have talked about this topic here and there in the last few days, and it's a tough one for me. I want to get well, and I'm trying to lean on God to learn how to do it.

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    1. It always comes back to Him--the healing. Always.

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  7. Beautiful, Wendy, and so awesome how God works. My guest pastor spoke on John 4 yesterday (Samaritan woman at the well). She changed the subject a time or two because she didn't want to see the truth of her own heart. So this post really speaks to me. Sometimes I can get bitter about...anything! This was such a great reminder for me. Thanks! :)

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    1. It amuses me how hard people work to act like they don't have the ugly. We all have the ugly. But some of us learn through grace and surrender (and perhaps years of landing hard on our arses) to leave it behind.

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  8. This is amazingly awesome, especially the line about the opportunity to step out of ugly at any given time. It's so easy to think, I don't have a choice. These are my emotions. I can't help it. So not true. I can take the reins. I can choose how to react in any situation. I can step out of ugly and into newness. Love it. Absolutely love it.

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    1. At any given moment. I love that part. That freedom!!!

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  9. There's so much truth to this post. I think so many people are stuck in cycles and have difficulty moving on to a new healthier, loving place in their lives.

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    1. Yep, yep, yep, I'm trusting. Love this post.

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    2. Constantly striving for that loving place & learning the joy in throwing it out more than being desperate to catch it.

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  10. You ALWAYS make me think, and as uncomfortable as that is (like shedding a too-tight shell) it's so very good. Thank you!

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  11. Thanks Erica! It's not not to be alone with some of these thoughts. Pretty sure that's what keeps me blogging after all these years.

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  12. I can totally relate to this post. I've had an issue in my life that I'm trying hard to forgive. It's been hard and slowly I'm getting better.

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