Hello, fire-ring friends. I have the exciting opportunity this week to come to you from the Spark Media Conference being held in conjunction with NRB 2021 - Christian Media Convention in Grapevine, Texas. WOW! This event is epic. Seeing so many people with lots of smiles and conversations rich with vigor brings me joy. Those in attendance are connected through belief and driven by inspired purpose. With this, I can’t help but ponder over our value as individuals and to our community. Consider these questions with me if you will.
Where do you fit in your circle or community, among family, or in your profession? Do you question your worth?
If invited to sit around a fire-ring with fellow travelers, would you be the life of the party? Hide in the corner? Maybe leave early? Or would you put the invite on your calendar and later find a reason to cancel?
The human experience is unique, layered with multiple representations of our true selves. Years ago, a deep conversation left me musing over the many versions of myself that remained in the minds of people I’d encountered at one time or another. My parents and teachers no longer see the same little girl or young woman they knew in my adult self. Fellow soldiers I knew during my military service may not recognize the mid-forty-year-old I am today. Some associates who knew me during the “hard” years, when severe trauma oozed out of repressed containment, might come to appreciate the more mellow and recovered version of me today.
Those prior selves may impact not only how others see and treat you but how you see and treat yourself. For me, my worst times left me paralyzed with fear and angry. As those years wore on, I began to loathe who I was and pushed many people away. The solution to this self-loathing was not one of my finer decisions as I chose to put myself down with chemical concoctions.
The result? Years of desperate attempts to numb or hide from people and the pain. When I finally surrendered, I was no longer invited to most of the parties and certainly wouldn’t have found myself at a convention of any sort. Not to mention, crawling out of this dark hole seemed much too difficult – I had little belief that I could engage with others and do it well.
There was one however who consistently sought me out, ministered to me, and urged me back to the warmth and safety of His inner circle. The Good Shepherd found me, cast a light of acceptance and love over my wounded soul, and lifted me from pain and shame as He drew me back from the brink of despair. The value of the One was not lost on God.
In Luke 15 (KJV), Christ presents the logical conclusion that one lost sheep is worth so much that the shepherd would leave the other ninety-nine to find the missing One. When found, the shepherd would host a great celebration.
I like a good party, -er, convention, don’t you?
If you can relate to the questions posed at the start or even my story, please know this – YOU have value. YOU are seen. YOU are wanted. YOU are never alone. If you are searching, struggling, or doubt your worth, know that YOU are HIS. He will restore you to sanity through His never-ending love. I know this because He rescued me even when I wrestled Him most of the way.
When lost and wounded we tend to get a little scrappy, unapproachable, and discontent. He knows this and is patient with the healing process, no matter how long it takes. I write from a place of conviction that personal experience has given me. I deeply value the tug on my heart to share my authentic self here at our fire-ring.
For a long time, I was blind and through His love, I now can see – and so can you. Whether it’s at a convention, party, in your church community, place of employment, at home, or even in your most quiet place, He is always there for whichever version you are today. He searches us out and is our source of joy and hope.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46: 1 (KJV)
-From the Fire Ring Blog, Vol.1, No.9