One night recently I decided to tackle the bookshelves in my room that had been an eyesore for months. Books stacked high with a growing tower of papers, files, magazine clippings, and receipts. What I intended to be just a quick “clean up” ended up turning into a disaster zone.
I sifted through the mess, some things I hadn’t seen in years...really, it felt like lifetimes ago.
“Man, I’m so not that person anymore.” I said aloud as I tossed another item into the box of trash.
Realizing the weight of what I’d just said made me stop and survey the piles surrounding me...and as I looked closer, I felt like I was seeing a depiction of the road map of my life.
Things I used to be interested in, academic awards, journals, photos, memories I could keep and treasure...and then other piles of things that no longer represented who I was or what I believe. Books and articles with legalistic theologies that were used to keep me bound for years, now so easily found their way into the trash.
Honestly, it was quite refreshing. This physical act of purging old hurt things to make room for new felt like another layer of healing happening.
Who did I want to be? If someone were to describe me, what would I want them to be able to say?
"I want to be bold. Fierce. To have an unrelenting love and persistence for people and justice. I want to be someone who extends grace even in the toughest of circumstances."
And so as I went through the piles, I measured them up against that description and tossed what fell short of bringing me closer to Christ.
The last item on the shelf was a Bible. Old, and worn. The first Bible I had been given as a teenager when I came to Christ. Seeing it, my instinct was to toss it in the trash as well. Don’t misunderstand...I have several new Bibles on my shelf. This particular Bible however represented a lot of hurt. It had been used to abuse us, to distort and manipulate. It had been used as a punishment, and had only further pushed me down the path of believing I had to strive for perfection constantly. It is astonishing how something that was written to set people free, something filled with so much goodness, could be twisted by humans for their own gain.
Before tossing it, I began flipping through it’s pages, most of which were falling out of the binding...skimming notes littered throughout the margins and faded post-its jumping out every direction.
And it was then that I decided against throwing it in the garbage.
Because it reminds me of just how far my life has come. And how even though I’d love to, I can’t reprint the worn out chapters of my life...just like trashing this Bible won’t get rid of the ugly memories that cling to it.
Even the most tattered pages of our life stories can one day be used for something good.
I was reminded that God still redeems.
So yeah, I’ll carry this box of old things out to the curb, but I think I’ll hold onto this Bible for a while yet still.
And if you come over and see it sitting on the shelf, ask me about it.
Ask me about it, and I’ll tell you a story of grace and hope and healing and victory. And how one girl met a God who is good, and kind, and who is the author of some really, really beautiful things.