I recently heard a recovering addict refer to herself as a dandelion: ugly and annoying to most but beautiful and useful to those who know her.
Her analogy has me thinking.
As the mother of an addict, I’m often baffled by the way my son returns to his drug of choice even though it makes his life so much more difficult in so many terrifying ways. I do not see him as ugly and annoying, but his behavior indicates that this is how he believes most see him. My new friend, however, recognizes that some people see her worth. She recognizes the stigma her past has put on her, but is beginning to shift her focus away from her shame and toward her worth.
Part of “recovering” from any ugly past is overcoming the stigma
As moms, we see our children as beautiful and useful–even when they mess up or become rebellious–because our hopes and dreams for them are strong. We believe in their potential. Unfortunately, it is hard to recognize your own beautiful potential when you are trapped in a lifestyle of ugly mistakes. The ramifications of bad choices make it hard to see what could be.
It’s hard to imagine a field full of beautiful flowers when at the time all it boasts is ugly and annoying weeds.
People are compelled by convictions.
When we mess up, we often allow our experience to form our opinion of ourselves. We experience a divorce and take the identity of a” divorcee” and a struggle with addiction names you an “addict.” I have a hard time with that, but really, when we get married we become a “wife”; when we restrict our diet we become a “vegetarian” (or such). I just hate this epidemic of people restricted by the stigmatism that their ugly mistakes have made.
What we experience does form our identity, and therefore we act according to who we are–in most cases it would be wrong not to. If you don’t act according to your marital status, its a moral issue. Your choice of diet, on the other hand, may or may not be a strong conviction, but each of us should BE true to who we believe we are.
Unless, of course, we are believing a lie.
A vegetarian who eats meat totally contradicts who she says she is. If she had no conviction about the matter, then her change in diet is not much of a concern. We might ask her what changed her mind, but it’s really not any of our business how someone else eats, right? If, however, she had strong beliefs on the matter and suddenly she was straying, I would try to encourage her to “remain true to herself,” wouldn’t you?
The only thing truly ugly and annoying about someones identity is hypocrisy.
It is upsetting to witness someone take on an identity that contradicts who they really are. I may never really understand why does my son keeps going back to drugs, but this one thing I am sure of: I still believe in him, but my convictions will never change his identity, only his will.
Dandelions have the potential to be beautiful or destructive.
As a little girl, my daughter loved to pick the bright yellow dandelions in our back yard. When their season of bright beauty past, and they turned to seed, she loved to blow the beautiful puff off into the wind. They started multiplying like crazy! When we told her that the flowers were actually weeds, I think we broke her heart, but once she understood the truth, she stopped the behavior that was causing an epidemic in our lawn.
Are you a dandelion?
Yes, the beautiful flowers are weeds, but they have worth. I hear you can even eat them! They are adaptable and able to grow even in cracks of pavement where their is very little soul. Try to pull them up and you will learn that they are extremely strong. Unless you succeed at pulling out the whole root, they will likely grow back. Most of all, dandelions are highly influential. They may go through an ugly season, but their beauty only multiplies as they fully recover and start all over. Why? Because they were designed with the potential to experience a Supreme MakeOver.
So were you.
Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. -Romans 6: 16 NLT
Do you see yourself as ugly and annoying or beautiful and useful? Recovering from an ugly past is a process, but it is a possibility. There is a Supreme Stylist–God, your Creator, who can make you completely new again if you simply ask. It is what He does. It’s what He loves to do.
Don’t let your mistakes–or the stigma they have caused–define you. BE who you were designed to be: Strong, adaptable, highly influential, beautiful and useful. After all, weeds may go through an ugly season, but they multiply a lot faster than other flowers do!
As an author and speaker, my passion is in helping women and girls overcome confidence conflicts, especially those involving rejection, betrayal and loss. After 30 years in the beauty industry as both a cosmetologist and an image consultant, I love to use my profession, along with my experiences and training as a Biblical life-coach to help others struggling. If you want to make difference, too, would you become part of this movement and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, Goodreads or consider having me speak at your next event. Visit http://catrinawelch.com for more information.