Smile firmly in place, Marcos gave a firm handshake or a bear hug to each person who entered the room for the Fresh Start seminar. A friendly, easy-going guy, Marcos was the type of person you could talk to easily and feel comfortable around. He was excited about our visiting Fresh Start team and the week’s seminar on “Processing the Issues of Your Heart.” But there was something in his eyes, behind his smile. A hint of hidden pain.
Day after day, all through the week, Marcos listened attentively with the other participants in the seminar but didn’t talk much. Yet it was clear he was doing a lot of internal processing. Wide-eyed, he took in each story told by the Fresh Start team, writing copious notes.
“It was something that happened when I was a child,” he said when asked to identify the person or loss he was processing that week. Though he didn’t share any more details, he told us that he felt shame because of that experience. “It’s affected all my relationships, including my relationship with God.”
On the last day, Marcos finally gave us a glimpse of what he’d been processing. He started by reading aloud from Romans 9:20-21. “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”
“All my life I’ve felt like I was born for ‘common use,’ ” Marcos confessed softly. “I’ve felt I was created for dishonor, for shame. God seemed far away.” He was silent for a moment, then continued. “But this week God has told me, ‘You thought I was far away. But I’ve been walking with you .’ Now my eyes are open and I can see all the good things He has done for me.”
“I’ve felt so much change in my heart,” Marcos continued, a grin spreading over his face. “I feel healed, able to forgive, able to let God fill my heart. Now I know that I wasn’t created for common use. I wasn’t created for shame. And I want people to know that no one is created for common use.”
The transformation was evident in Marcos as he summed up his week’s experience. “I’m re-born. I’m ready for God to deposit more in my life. It’s a new page. A new beginning!”
Has an event or hurt from your past left you feeling ashamed, dirty, rejected, abandoned, or unwanted? That experience doesn’t have to DEFINE you. You are NOT a sum total of your life’s experiences! Ask the Lord to help you identify the lingering residue of hurts or losses in your life, to forgive those who have offended or hurt you, and to remove those untrue “labels” of shame, rejection, or dishonor. Ask Him to show you who He says you are. He says you are Beautiful. Valued. Loved. Accepted. Secure. You were not created for common use. You were created for something special!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11