"You are what you eat." "What goes in, must come out." "Once you have made your bed, you have to sleep in it."
I have often been forced to realize, that this is true. Much of who we are is because of where we have been, what we have done, and what has been done to us. "Memories have a way of defining not only who you were, but who you are and who you will become." McManus
I think everything in the past affects us. Some good, some bad. Everything must be filtered. Counselors, and the Bible, would wisely tell us that we have power over these defining moments. Especially when the Holy Spirit resides within us! There are some memories that are best left in the past, only a split-second away. For these, I choose not to allow them to define me. You have heard it said, forgive and forget. Let's be real, the reality is, I can't really forget. But I can choose not to remember. Now that is life changing!
So what has defined you? Was it good stuff? Or was it ugly stuff? Or is it a pattern of indifference?
Me? Among many, but without a question one of the most defining moments in my life, was my mother's death when I was 7. I have often thought that those years were the years that I probably needed stability most in my life. Yet, it happen. The following years, even up to now, this 'experience' and my interaction with that reality, has defined me. Why would God take my mom? Why...
I could have decided to allow this memory to destroy my life. But, by the power of God , this memory/experience has made me who I am. I realize that life isn't about my life, it is about God being glorified. It is not about finding humanistic happiness. It is about extending God's kingdom. It is not about the pursuit of self-absorbed satisfaction. It is about learning to be soul satisfied in Christ (Psalm 63). God has blessed me with an extended family that none of us ever dreamed of. God was at work. Whether we realize it or not, God was/is totally in control, loving us and knowing what was/is best for us.
I want to make it clear, from my perspective, it was an 'ugly' thing. I wish it didn't happen. It still hurts when I think about it. It has caused a life of pain, not only for myself, but so many others. Here is the reality - The cool thing is that by grace God takes an 'ugly' thing and makes it beautiful. And for this I am deeply blessed. In faith, I can say, that I have truly found that God does work all things for the good for those that love him and are called according to his purpose. We throw this verse around out of context and often like a cheap bandaid, but it is real. My life says it's real.
What memories define you?