July 18, 2008

Factory-New

Thanks for indulging me to cry about my computer woes. After spending a long couple of days of reloading and rebuilding, I’m happy to report I’m up and walking. (Running will take a bit longer).

I have one word of advice for you today: backup. Stop what you’re doing right now and backup your hard drive to an external storage device (CD, DVD, external hard drive). The ten minutes you spend to save your data can mean the difference between facing a major inconvenience if your hard drive crashes and experiencing major heartbreak when you lose all of your photos, music and financial data.

Even though I heeded my own advice, there was one area I didn’t backup--my emails. Thousands of emails sent and received, as well as my address book are gone forever. Certainly, my cluttered inbox needed a good housecleaning, but with the clean sweep went some important communications. Only time will tell how substantial the loss really is.

Last night I sadly recalled one casualty. Ever since I started writing my blog, I’ve received many emailed notes of encouragement, support, thanks and understanding. Those words, your precious words, were priceless payment for the writing journey I’m on. I'd read them and re-read them. They encouraged me when I wanted to quit. They showed me I’m not alone in my struggles. And they were my real life proof God really is using me through the words that flow through my fingertips. Now they’re gone.

Just writing about it makes me sad all over again.

I know God uses everything for His purpose and this morning it struck me, I think there might be a message here with my name on it. Maybe God wants me to see I rely too much on the positive praise of others to validate myself as a person, and especially as a writer. Maybe He wants HIS words and not the words of others to resonate in my heart. Maybe He wants me to see I don’t need to look to others to determine my worth because He tells me, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” (Is. 49:16)

We’re designed to belong. But we forget who we belong to. We look to others determine our place in the world. We let others say who we are and if the package we offer is valuable. Or not.

...The warmth of praise. The sting of rejection.
...The glow of the spotlight. The darkness of the corners.
...The assurance of popularity. The heartache of loneliness.

Messages from the world, both good and bad, overwrite the message God wrote on our hearts at creation: “Listen to me. I made you. You are mine.”

Oh, how I want that message to sink in deeply to clean out the clutter of my heart. I want its truth to resonate and stop the voices that say otherwise. I want to look solely to my heavenly Father and boldly proclaim, “YOU ARE ENOUGH!”

We live so far from the perfect union Adam and Eve enjoyed with the Creator in the Garden. So far, that we don’t know where our home is. Or how to get there. But there is a way—and His name is Jesus.

And it's only by falling deeply in love with Him that we begin to discover the keys that restore our hearts to their factory-original condition.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (Jn 15:9) If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." (Jn 15:19)

2 comments:

Katherine said...

Kelli-
I understand the validation point. Sometimes we do rely on others to the point we look for THAT instead of God.

However, it's our human nature to want to know that we are somehow making a difference.

People come and leave our lives without us ever telling them that. Usually, it happens too late; when they are laying in their coffin.

Keep up the good work, know that God it using you to encourage others and continue to look for Him for your own encouragement.

Blessings!
Katherine

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, I read that passage about God engraving us on the palms of His hands in my quiet time today. What a loving, powerful truth.

I think all writers long for feedback -- you're not alone. It's always such a blessing to hear that our words touched someone in a special way. At times it's just the encouragement we need to keep on writing. You're right, though. We need to look to God as our Encourager. And you know what? Many times He encourages us through the words of others. He graciously fills our longing for feedback!