Earlier this year, my friend Ms. Katy published a series of blog posts that caused me to take a long look at myself. They caused me to look at where I‘m at in my life from lots of different perspectives. My spiritual life takes precedence, followed by my family life. Then work, writing, social media, and other aspects of life fall into place as needed. One thing this self-assessment period did was, to my astonishment; show me how different I’ve become. There have been many changes in my life since retiring. Most for the better.
One thing that hasn’t changed is, I am still a “Hoarder of Things.” In some universe or language, I’m sure J.D. translates as “Saver of all things.” I’m also certain I could find the envelope containing my sideburns from my first haircut when inducted into the Army (don’t judge, it was the 70s). I remember the barber at Fort Jackson, SC asking “You want them sideburns boy?” “Yessir” I replied; he handed them to me in an envelope.
As part of this self-assessment, the Holy Spirit guided me to ask “How can I show God’s light in my life to the world wearing those t-shirts?” I decided it was time to attack my “Good t-shirt” drawer. Doesn’t everyone have printed t-shirts you save for special occasions versus the ones you wear every day? As my life has changed, I’m convicted some of my cherished t-shirts (such as If I’m Talking, You Should be Taking Notes) have got to go. Now some I don’t fit into anymore. Others, just send a confusing message to people I meet.
So, the purge began. As I unloaded the drawer onto our bed, it surprised me how memories for almost each one came flooding back. I remember being in Savannah at a conference with my friend Ms. Barb, whom I was grooming as my replacement. We had such a laugh at that saying. I remember my friend Gary giving me the t-shirt reminding me how I was once a sniper in the military; one who exhibited great shooting skill back then.
With each shirt I placed into the “donate pile” I sent with it two things. A prayer of thanks to God for changing me from the person I was, and a prayer for the recipient. I pray God blesses them with this provision. Throwing them away was considered, but it seemed wasteful. I thought perhaps another person will look at that old t-shirt and receive the same blessing as when I rid myself of that part of my history.
I call these witty sayings and put downs a part of my history for good reason. We should not forget our history. I don’t live in it or dwell on it, but remembering who I was helps me see who God has made me. We all need a baseline to measure our growth from. I expect God will continue growing and grooming me until the end of the age, as His word promises. Part of that growth is my exhibiting it in this world around me.
I’m not a sandwich board on the street corner with a “Repent” sign in my hand kind of guy. Instead, I pray God uses me each day to show His light in this fallen world. It might be in something I write or speak, or maybe just a smile or act of kindness towards another. However God guides me in serving Him, I try to accept His urging without question or hesitation.
I realize I can no longer wear a t-shirt emblazoned with “Did you have a bowl of STUPID for breakfast?” If I do, I send a confusing message to the person I am trying to witness to.What message do you project to the world? Click To Tweet
I’m certain I’ll still ask “Whaddya think Sparky?” more than I should. And am just as certain I’ll mutter the phrase “I-D-10-T” or “YCFS” as I walk away shaking my head. In time, I trust God will guide me to leave these in my past as well. I pray you seek His guidance in what needs cleaning up in your life.