For many years trash was just trash. Some of the richest archeological finds have been discovered while digging through the garbage heaps of earlier civilizations. Imagine, then, what the seas of refuse that our civilization generates will tell future generations about the world as it exists today.
According to the EPA, in 2011 the United States generated 250 million tons of solid waste, of which we managed to recycle 87 million tons of material, or about 34.7 percent of it. That’s pretty good, but it could be better. If you consider the fact that 54.1 percent of our solid waste is made up of materials like paper, metal, glass, and plastics that we already have established methodologies for reuse and recycling we’re still filling the ground with a lot of useful stuff.
It’s the same with your spiritual life. All of the sins you have committed, all of the mistakes you have made, all of the hurts that you have suffered, all of the damage that has been done to you, every negative influence and attack of the enemy — all of it is trash — spiritual garbage. And like the early days of the industrial revolution, it can be easy to see the accumulation of waste as just a necessary evil and unavoidable side effect of living.
The bags and piles and heaps and pits full of lost opportunities, broken dreams, damaged experiences, and dysfunctional relationships can seem like something you should just throw out, bury down deep, or ignore, but just like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, not knowing what to do about them doesn’t make them go away.
So, here’s what I suggest. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
When you discover negative results from past decisions and situations, use them as a learning experience for the present and the future. Intentionally set out to reduce the number of poor decisions you make. Reflect on your life in the light of the fact that there are things within your control and things outside of your control. Consider what is inside your control and alter your approach as necessary to replace the negative outcomes in your past with better outcomes in the present. Use the experiences that you have collected to get a handle on what works and what doesn’t in your life. And most of all, realize that you have the opportunity to turn it all around.
You may have heaps of baggage, but that does not have to define you or hold you back. Not only can you reduce the incoming flow of garbage, you can also look for ways to reuse it or even recycle it.
You are not alone. It may seem like many of the people in your life have it all together and don’t make the kinds of mistakes that you make, but every mistake, every hurt, every disease, every loss, every negative influence, every attack of the enemy can be turned into a stepping stone. Your destiny, your mission, your purpose does not have to be compromised by the baggage that you have, it can actually be empowered by it.
What you choose to do with your garbage has a lot to do with how long you are going to be carrying it around before finding a way to put it down once and for all.
The question is, “Can you find a way to reuse, repurpose, rebuild, reconstitute, or recycle what the enemy has given you to bring about a blessing in your life or someone else’s?”
In the Bible, when Joseph was rejected by his brothers and sold into slavery, then wrongly accused of a capital crime and imprisoned, then forgotten and overlooked by the one man who could save him, was this the pathway to a curse or a blessing? All of these negative experiences were just stepping stones along the pathway to greatness, way stations on the road to his destiny. Joseph accepted the principle of reduce, reuse, recycle, when he explained it to the very brothers who had sold him as a slave,
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” – Genesis 50 (NLT)
Don’t let the opportunities of your past pass you by. Your weaknesses may be the greatest opportunities to demonstrate God’s strength. The enemy intends to harm you, but God can give you the insight, the inspiration, the innovation, and the energy that you need to turn the weapons formed against you into the very tools that you need to receive God’s blessings in a more powerful and abundant way.
Maybe you had a rough childhood, then reach out to a child in need. Connect with them in a way that only you can and provide them an opportunity to have a better experience than you did. Recycle your own experience to pave their road and help them find a path higher earlier along their journey then you were able to.
Or maybe you are fighting cancer or HIV/AIDS. Don’t suffer in silence. Reach out and connect. Tell your story. Encourage someone like you and let them know that they are not alone. Start believing for more and releasing more of God’s favor in your life. That disease may be your greatest struggle, but it may also be your greatest opportunity to minister to the lost, the hopeless, the broken, and the hurt.
God has so much more in store for you when you embrace the chances God gives you to turn the enemy’s own attacks into opportunities for blessing.
Start telling your story. Start making connections. Start using, reusing, and recycling your garbage to build a platform for God’s blessings in your life.
“Come follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” – Matthew 4
Annie Lobert was a prostitute for more than a decade before coming to Christ and founding Hookers for Jesus with the mission to,
“Hook (Outreach) Give Hope (Jesus) Heal (emotional & spiritual restoration) and Help (Transitional Assistance) for those who have been negatively affected by sex trafficking and the adult entertainment industry. Hook. Hope. Heal. Help.”
She could have kept it secret and buried her shame, her guilt, her sadness, her hurt, and all of the evil that had been done to her, but instead she chose to tell her story and step off the sidelines to make a difference.
Everything that has come against you in life can be turned to God’s purposes. Your trash, your baggage, your hurts, your failures, your garbage — all of it can be remanufactured, reused, and recycled into stepping stones towards your destiny of blessing, success, abundance, joy, and fulfillment.
The enemy may have intended it for your harm, but God can turn it into your greatest success. The enemy may have intended to stop you, hold you down, or abuse you, but God can restore to you what was lost and bring you into a new season of healing, abundance, and hope.
Jesus didn’t choose perfect people to be His disciples. He chose real people. And then He challenged them to be honest enough with themselves that they could share His message with the world.
The only hurts that can hold you back are the ones that you bury and ignore. When you do that you give strength to the enemy to cause the same harm again, not only to you, but to others like you, who are looking for an answer and hoping for a better tomorrow.
You can be that answer. You can be the one to plant your flag in the sand like Annie Lobert did and say that the lies, the abuse, the dysfunction, and the damage stop with you. You are not alone and its not just you that you are fighting for. One of your greatest opportunities to bring blessings into the lives of others is found in the very moments of our lives that we hope no one else will ever find out about.
The enemy wants to isolate you. The enemy wants you to hide. The enemy wants you to bury your hurt where no one else can reach it. It’s time you start turning the tide. It’s time to start using what was meant for your harm to bring bring about a new season of blessing both for you and for every other person who is under that same attack.
God will give you the message. God will give you the mission. God will show you His promises and open your life to receive the destiny that He has in store. You just have to be honest enough with yourself to reduce, reuse, and recycle the weapons of the enemy to beat them into the plowshares that will bring on the bountiful harvest of healing, restoration, promotion, favor, prosperity, and eternal life that God has planned.
Are you ready?