Monday, June 18, 2007

....made me who I am....




The man I am today has been influenced and changed by the sum of my experiences. Certainly, God designed me a certain way, and I an uniquely made, but my experiences have formed and shaped me in certain specific ways.


At times, joyful, odd and unusual experiences have contributed to my sense of humor and my warped way of viewing the world.


At other times, suffering and sadness have formed in me a tenderness and compassion. Hope deferred has made my heart sick, and heart-sickness has contributed to my earnest desire to know God more fully, and to hear His heart more clearly.


While much of my life has been filled with pain, stress, worry, frustration and other things many might view as negative, I don't see it that way at all... I have come to believe it's much less about what happens to you, and more about what you choose to do with it. I have found that I can turn to anger and bitterness, but it ultimately brings more pain and suffering - if not to me, then certainly to those in my life... or I can turn to a quiet, inward and still place, where I find grace, compassion and patience from the Lord, which helps me to endure and overcome my circumstances.


I am not a person of regret. I generally make decisions, live with the outcomes and go on, never looking back. Lately, however, I have been very reflective in my thinking. Not that I regret, but I wonder how I got to where I am and who I am today. There are many things about my circumstances that are difficult and painful, and they are not of my own doing. I did not choose this, but I find myself evaluating how I got here and how I feel about it. In some ways, I am uneasy with my circumstances. I have good times and bad times, and I deal with them the best I can. But I have come to some conclusions...


First, through my experiences, I have come to understand and know myself. This has been a precious gift into my life. Second, I have come to know God, which is beyond measure and worth. Third, I have come to understand what is important to me, and why. And fourth, I have come to realize that the first three realizations are a direct result of the path I have walked.


So, although I have endured the pain, often nearly overwhelming me, and although I have hurt more deeply than I though possible and still survive, and although I have been so deeply disappointed by hope deferred, and although I have felt abandoned and discarded, judged and rejected, and although I have despised much of my experience - I must acknowledge my thanks and appreciation for what all of this has produced in my life. Rather than it producing something very negative and descructive, it has produced something very positive and lasting, building and restoring, peaceful and loving and kind.


So I reflect today, and although I am a work in progress, I see the hand of the Lord and the shape I have been formed and conformed to, and I am thankful. My experiences have made me the man that I am...


Jeff

12 comments:

Kim from Kansas said...

What insight! Thank you for praying for my mom! I will be praying for continued strength and bonding of you and your family.

chill24 said...

wow, lots of pain yet sunshine through the clouds.
your post is very deep and spiritually encouraging. thanks!

GoteeMan said...

Kim - Thanks for the prayers and encouragement.

Chill24 - thanks for dropping by. It has been a tough walk the past few years, but it's all working for good in the end.

Jeff

Lisa said...

I agree with chill24. I'm sorry to hear about the pain you are going through. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They are "real," with both the good and bad, but also encouraging, which is a rare combination to find.

GoteeMan said...

Lisa -

Thanks for stopping by. It's a strange & difficult path sometimes, but it is what it is - and it's my story. The story of God loving me and changing me and taking me through the most difficult days of my life yet, and in the midst of it all, I know so completely that He not only loves me, HE LIKES ME! And, well, that, more than anything produces the outcome that is me.

Jeff

HappyToBeHere said...

Jeff, it is SO REFRESHING to see you thanking God for your life - all of it - the good and the bad.

You are truly blessed to be able to see that even through the difficult times, God loves you.

I am sure you make Him smile.

Heidi

GoteeMan said...

Thanks, Heidi - It's been a long road to learning who I am and how God sees me. It's a real blessing to know He likes me (and He likes you, too!). It's one thing to know He loves us, but to know that He likes us is something entirely different, I think.

Not sure if you have seen it or not, but there is a really incredible book called "You Are Special" that illustrates the point in an incredible way. Dots and stars - I don't want either one to stick to me...

God bless you.
Jeff

In_spired said...

Jeff, it took me many years to reach this point in my life...

"I have come to believe it's much less about what happens to you, and more about what you choose to do with it."

Your post is inspirational and uplifting. Thank you for sharing.

GoteeMan said...

In Spired -

Thanks for stopping by. Somehow it helps to know others are going through or have gone through similar learnings. Some of those learnings come hard and slow, but they come to be treasures of great worth.

Jeff

In_spired said...

Do you mind if I add your blog to my blogroll?

Such inspiration!!

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

You know what buddy..
that was a very powerful and moving post...


I will be sure to keep you and your wife in my prayers...

I do believe in the power of prayer....

Hugs to you and your wife.

GoteeMan said...

Thanks, Terri -
Appreciate the kind words...
and the prayers.

Jeff