You know how you sometimes enter into something thinking you’re going to totally “get it” because you already think you know exactly where you’re headed and how to get there?
That was me, about a month ago, when God showed me my One Word for this year. “Showed,” as in “made it known to me while I was reading a Bible verse I had read about 67 quizillion times before, but never actually LOOKED at before.” It is a word which has multiple meanings, and - to be transparent - 3/4 of them seemed to totally sync up with what I thought I needed. It seemed to make total sense to me in terms of me making peace with my past. It seemed to be a way for me to reframe, to own, and to honor the struggles, the loss, and the pain I still sometimes see and feel as I look behind me to see where all I have come from.
It seemed easy.
Which, of course, meant that it was only a matter of time before God blew my ‘tude out of the water.
One of the only translations of my One Word - shalam - that felt a little like it belonged in the “one of these things is not like the other” song was that in addition to what I wanted the word to translate to, it also could be translated to mean “to be sound.” A fellow blogger left a comment that the “to be sound” translation of shalam struck her for some reason moreso than the other definitions. I kinda glossed over her comment at first, thought, “That’s nice,” and moved on. ...rather, I tried to move on, because my mind kept circling back to this.
“To be sound.”
Basically, in one fell swoop, God managed to use her to completely derail the journey that I thought I was supposed to be One Wording it with, and instead she made me start to actually ENGAGE with this friggin’ word and not just pull it out like a magic charm/easy-peasy quotable Bible verse when I want to just throw some Jesus into my mind. This comment made me...start. Start. To. Think.
Therefore, in the best Dr. Doofenschmirtz voice I can mimic: “CURSE YOU, TRACEE THE PERSIKO!”
(Just kidding; Tracee managed to give me just the right dose of challenge and support with her comment. She is an INCREDIBLY talented writer and who consistently pulls some massively deep thoughts out. I am continually challenged and inspired by what Tracee writes - and you should seriously check out her blog, both hyperlinked here and noted in the blogroll in the sidebar.)
Looking closer at this definition, “to be sound” relates to something much deeper than just the healing I thought I was looking for. “Sound” as an adjective can mean:
• free from injury, damage, defect, disease, etc.; in good condition; healthy; robust: a sound heart; a sound mind.
• competent, sensible, or valid: sound judgment.
• having no defect as to truth, justice, wisdom, or reason: sound advice.
• of substantial or enduring character: sound moral values.
• following in a systematic pattern without any apparent defect in logic: sound reasoning.
• uninterrupted and untroubled; deep: sound sleep.
• free from moral defect or weakness; upright, honest, or good; honorable; loyal.
• having no legal defect: a sound title to property.
• theologically correct or orthodox, as doctrines or a theologian.
See, here and I thought that I was simply just going back and revisiting Joel 2:25 - “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – my great army that I sent among you.” - and discovering that redemption encompasses more than I ever thought possible. In that regard, I was correct (or, if I may, sound) in my reasoning: I will be/am being placed/have been placed in a covenant of peace over my past. I am/have been/am being made whole over and over and over again. I am/have been/am in the process of being complete.
But this is showing me that also, apparently under the Law - which, y’know, Christ came to complete and all - I have no defect. This flies in the face of the words and labels people tend to place upon those of us who have a past that doesn’t mesh up with the image of perfection that believers are “supposed” to have.
This is showing me that I should not be troubled by my past.
This is showing me that I am valid. That my past - my story - is valid.
This is showing me that I am not to passively just accept the grace given to me, but to actively work IN it. “Yay, I’m forgiven! Now let’s all go on to Cold Stone! La la la!” should not be how I operate.
I am sound. I am being made sound. My life is sound.
Going through shalam is gonna kick my butt this year. I can just feel it.
And I welcome this forthcoming bruised tushie.
It beats having a bruised heart.