By definition, a dictionary is a reference source in print or electronic form containing words arranged along with information about their forms, pronunciations, functions, etymologies and meanings. People use a dictionary to provide a true meaning of a word. On Saturday October 24, 1976 at 12:19am, I entered into the world at the end of my mom’s 26th week of pregnancy weighing 2 lbs. 2 oz. The first few months of my life were not times of joy or glee, and it was a polar opposite of the joy I experienced during the birth of my own two children. Today, I bear a scar on the right side of my head, and another 3-inch incision scar on the right side of my abdomen. Both of these scars are a reminder of my fight for life back in 1976 and proof that my life started as a fight, a fight that ended with me being victorious and living strong decades later.
Life is not just a series of destinations and results. Life is a journey where chapters of a story are written. The scars of trials and defeat don't define you any more than the scars obtained from the battle of a premature birth in 1976 define me. We tend to view a person in their current sate and think that they have always been in this state. But how wrong can we be? As one who's worked in the finance arena, I've seen thousands of credit reports with a corresponding credit score. The mortgage crisis that began in 2007 is proof of a score or a part of the story that does not define a person. I cannot tell you the number of homes I witnessed go through foreclosures, despite the homeowners having great credit scores. This is proof that a piece of the story is not a definition of a person, or their intent.
The Bible confirms in the book of Joshua Chapter 4:
Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
This scripture outlines two things: the children of Israel going through the journey, and the children of Israel preparing to share the story with others. "When your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
One facet of walking your journey is getting past the focus on oneself. Self-pity is an act of selfishness. And as I write this statement, it’s like a personal wake up call. Jesus tells the demoniac in Mark Chapter 5, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” Why was it that Jesus did not permit the man to embark on the mission of outreach with Him and the other disciples? The answer is that part of the man’s story was for the benefit of others. The problem with living your story is that it can be painful at times, and the pain experienced can scar you to the point of fear and trepidation. The writer John Maxwell said, "Once a person tastes success and realizes that their efforts have significance, this is something that they never forget and never want to give up.” The same holds true with their failures – it's something that they never forget and never want to experience again.
Speaking from experience, we must do away with the scar tissue of life. I experienced a tear of my patella tendon some years ago and had to work through the pain of that experience through rehabilitation to avoid the development of scar tissue. When looking at that instance of injury, the development of scar tissue could halt my ability to recover. The same issue holds true for many of us in relationships, job layoffs, failed business ventures, or whatever struggle appears. Part of your story is rehabilitating yourself into knowing that your struggle is temporary.
Think about the biblical referenced journey of Job– the Bible chronicles his struggle which lasted 9 months. At the end of this, Job trusted God and did not allow the trials to determine his future. We see in scripture that Job was restored and had much more than he had before. Make the decision to define yourself through how the word of God sees you. The word of God sees you as a victorious overcomer poised for positive results. Your responsibility is to act on these promises.
Now tell me, what's your story?