Today I visited the Dead Sea – the lowest point on planet earth. I could not believe the magnificence right in front of me. Towering mountains stretch as far as the eye can see on both sides of the gorgeous, crystal clear waters. The air is crisp and clean. One dip in the Dead Sea and I felt renewed and refreshed, once I got all the salt off, of course.
I discovered today that the lowest place on earth is the most beautiful place I have ever seen: an interesting juxtaposition that I’ve experienced once before.
You see, so many times in life we fail to see the beauty in pain. We forget that our scars tell a story of victory. We forget that our heartbreak teaches us what real love is. We forget that the lowest points in our life make us who we are.
The lowest point in my life was when I was nineteen. I completely lost my identity to the point where I didn’t even recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. I forgot who I was made to be. I was angry, bitter, cold-hearted, and broken. I didn’t trust anyone and I couldn’t be trusted. In the moment I felt like my life couldn’t get any darker or any lower. But now that I look back at that year, I can’t help but smile because I see the bigger picture now.
Here are some ways that my lowest time became my most beautiful:
- I learned the beauty of silence: There’s so much noise around us all day, every day and it’s not healthy. We need a break from it sometimes. There are so many things vying for our attention and too many times we neglect the very thing we should be giving our attention to. We have to create opportunities to hear God’s voice. I was sad and lonely, but through that I learned how to be happy in the silence. I learned to turn my phone off and go for a walk, and that has been my key to staying sane when things get crazy.
- I quickly figured out the type of person that I didn’t want to be: If you live your life to please yourself you will quickly find yourself feeling empty and lost. The only reason I know that is because that’s how I was living. I had to stop it. I decided that I wanted to do what Jesus did: Give. Love. Respect. Serve. Bless. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8). That has made all the difference in my life. I no longer seek ways to temporarily fulfill myself because living for others is fulfilling.
- I learned to identify influencers in my life: We are all influenced in different ways. We have positive influencers and we also have negative influencers. The people in your inner circle have a big role in what you are influenced by and for me they were negative influencers. Now I know how to identify my influencers and I know how to choose positive ones.
- I learned who my true friends are: When you’re the one experiencing the low, you learn to appreciate someone taking the time to tell you that they are there for you. You appreciate people who will listen to you talk about what you’re going through, without fear of them repeating it. You see the people who really do care about you and unfortunately you also see the people who don’t get why you cant just get over it. True friends will hold your head up when its low. They’ll encourage you and push you to be your best. They will shine light into your darkest places. Anyone else is not really your friend, and that can be a hard reality to face, but it’s extremely crucial to the renewal of your mind. Now, I don’t have many friends, because real and true friends can’t be found everyday. But the friends that I do have I highly cherish.
- I learned that it’s okay to start over: It’s never easy saying goodbye, but sometimes the place that you’re living in is toxic to you. The environment that you’ve tried to grow in might actually be killing you slowly. You have to come to the place where you realize that it’s not shameful to begin again. It’s okay to start over. God is a God of redemption and second chances. Learn that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is run. Just don’t make the same mistakes when you start over. I left my “life” behind and that’s when I started really living.
Here is my challenge for you:
Think of the lowest point in your life and write five good things that came out of it. You’ll probably be surprised to find that there are many more than five.
Next time you see your scars (physical or spiritual, because we have both) and you’re remembering the pain you experienced, and how much it damaged you, think of the lessons you learned in your pain. Don’t give power to the person or thing that hurt you by feeling bitterness towards them. Change your perspective and see things in a positive light.