I have a scar.
It's ugly. It's long. It's on my right leg, and I will always have it. I've tried to hide it so many times... and I still try to.
The truth is, I'm afraid. I'm afraid that people will look at me and just see my scar. That somehow, the rest of who I am will be completely overshadowed by this massive imperfection that was engraved in my leg several years ago.
See, that's where my cancer was. The tumor had grown just under my right knee, so in addition to toxic chemotherapies, I had to have five inches of my leg bone replaced with a cadaver bone that was set in place with a metal plate and seven screws. As if I wasn't already bionic enough, I also got a knee replacement a few years later. Needless to say, I've got a pretty hefty scar to show for it!
Around my nurses and doctors, scars like that were totally "normal". However, as I began to get better and started to wear shorts for the first time in public after my surgery, I was greeted with a much different response. People would look at my face first and smile, no problem. Then, they'd glance down and... *gasp*... Their smile was instantly choked out by the horrified look on their face after seeing my scar.
At the time, this broke my heart. I remember coming home in tears after that happened far too many times in one day. "Why can't they just see ME??", I'd cry. "I'm not my scar!" Somehow, in those momentary glances, I felt judged. I felt looked over, summed up, and thrown into some completely unwanted category that I had no place being in. I was SO scared of what their decoded reactions meant, that I just started hiding my scar altogether. While I wanted to blame my insecurity on them, it was really my own pride that had me so tangled up and convinced that I couldn't show my imperfections.
Why is it that we can be so scared to show people the real us? Why can't we understand that we are ALL scarred, imperfect and broken? What good does it truly do to hide?
I finally started to realize that I was actually robbing others and myself of something when I hid my scar. Every time I would open up enough to share, God brought about some totally unexpected blessing that would empower me and bring inspiration to another. He began to work through my sharing, and would convict me of the times when I didn't, because I was robbing others of HIS glorious story.
The words in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 rang out to me in my weakest moment... "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Wow. Leave it to God to say something crazy like "my power is made perfect in weakness"! What?? That's nuts... but it's true.
God has come through for me in some of the biggest ways, through my weakness. When I finally put aside my own pride to let His story be told, there is unbelievable beauty that pours from my deepest, most hated scars.
If so, how truly beautiful it is to be imperfect. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We all have scars. One of mine just happens to be visible. See it for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ss14pKx9to