Re-cycle the past

I’m learning all about recycling right now, in my effort to pursue my one-word, green, during 2011. I’m not just learning for me, and my house, but because our annual April event, Butterfly Festival, which raises funds for the Church preschool, Chrysalis, is taking on a green theme this year.

Specifically, we’re trying to find a reputable company to do electronic recycling on the church campus that day and to provide an educational experience for the kids about what recycling does. One company promises to empty, clean and repurpose our electronics so they don’t end up in a trash heap. I did pause, though, at that word – recycle.

Recycle the old

At the heart, it means to run it through a cycle again. I’ve re-cycled hurts in that way. Every time I see the one who hurt me, or the situation is similar, I re-cycle those past hurts, running them through that same perceptual filter I have.

When I was all of 20, and planning a wedding/honeymoon, we wanted to book a cruise. The cruise company told us that because I was a minor, I could not be booked in a room with my husband, without a guardian aged 25 or older. So, if I didn’t want to take Mom on my honeymoon, I was out of luck. Every time I see advertisements for that cruise line, I remember the pompous sneer of the call center manager who told us that policy was policy. I cycle that bitterness through again.

Collect It

In the book of John, I read of Jesus taking 5 loaves and 2 fish and feeding a crowd of 5 thousand. Talk about making a little go a long way! But there’s more. When the people had all eaten until they were full, he had them collect the leftovers, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” Collection. Congregation. In order to be recycled, items need to be collected out from among the rest of the waste.

When I’m hurt or angry or sad or jealous or fearful, I need to recognize those emotions for what they are, so that I can recycle them properly. I don’t just want to run it through that same filter, I want to bring it to Jesus.

Jesus Changes the Process

When Jesus touched the 5 loaves and 2 fish, suddenly it was more than enough to feed a crowd of more than 5 thousand. Not only that, but then “they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.”

Jesus isn’t a re-cycle program. I don’t give him hurt and he turns fresh hurt back to me. At first glance, it seems like Jesus just made more of the bread, he re-cycled the same thing, but if you look at the story as a whole, you see that he took Philip’s incredulity “Two hundred denarii wouldn’t be enough to buy them all bread to eat!” and turned it into wonder. He took something small and turned it into something miraculous. He took doubts and gave back hope. He took uncertainty and created surety.

I don’t want to settle for just getting what I give. I want more. I don’t want to re-cycle and run that pain and bitterness through the same cycle that created pain and bitterness, anymore. I want to change the production line. I want to put in trash and get back treasure. I want to trade my sorrows for dancing. The only process by which I’ve been able to do that? Jesus.

What difference have you seen in your recycling methods, and Jesus’?


18 responses to “Re-cycle the past

  1. Good post! I needed to read that today.

  2. Kristin, great post. I would add that we recycle our attitudes and mindsets everyday, and most of the time, we would say those were on autopilot. When you turn those over to God, you are making a conscious decision to let go of the hurt and pain – and the subsequent attitudes that come along with them.

    Thanks for posting!

  3. Kristin, what an interesting insight. I’ve struggled with past failures and shortcomings, thinking that they’ll never “leave me” or that they’ll just always be there… but you know, it’s encouraging to hear sometimes that God can and will use those things for something new.

    • breaking free when we allow God to change the process is an amazing feeling. I keep reverting back to how I’ve failed but he sees the new creature — when I finally see that — it’s a breathtaking view.

  4. In New York City, we have a saying for recycling that says, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”

    God Reduces my sin, by forgiving me.

    God Reuses me, for his Glory over and over again.

    God Recycles me. He takes all of me (with all of the ugly stuff) and compresses it and cleans it so it can be used again, as if it was brand new.

    Yay for our God!

    • good breakdown of how Jesus reduces, reuses and recycles in our lives. I’m thinking that might be a Sunday School theme to lead up to Butterfly Festival for next year, where Butterfly and Earth Day will be much closer together.

  5. “He took doubts and gave back hope.”

    I LOVE that line and what God is showing you through this process.

  6. It seems like when I bring past hurts up to myself thae He says “I’ve got you covered.” It’s a comforting thought.

  7. Hi Kristin! Really enjoying your posts. I love how Jesus changes everything as soon as we say – “I don’t want this anymore”. This life. This addiction. This ___. He takes the weary and builds something new…much more than recycled junk. Something brand new.

  8. LOVE this post! Jesus has been speaking to me about giving him what little I have and letting him multiply it.

  9. As far as technology recycling, there arent a lot if good companies that do it right. For me, the big push has been to avoid upgrading as often, and create less electronic trash. I posted a news video from 60 Minutes abt electronics recycling on my Facebook last week.

    As for Jesus, I need to pursue fresh mercy every day, and fresh insight into his Word, to avoid recycling.

    • I’ll have to go check out the video. Thank you! I found a company with really good ratings in the Houston area, and they’ve been covered by a local news outlet, so, I think we may try to talk to them. We want a place where community members can bring their old electronics and know they’ll be disposed of properly and according to state laws.

      As for Jesus, exactly 🙂

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