Why your ugly past should be part of your future (Guest Post by Duane Scott)


We’re in the Taco Bell driveway, just two famished college boys getting something to eat, when I mention it.
My past, that is.
And he stops diving deep in his backpack for scrunched dollar bills; stops and just stares at me with somber eyes, like he has witnessed something bigger than he or I.
“You too?” His eyes are wide.
And the lady is waiting now, for our money, and she watches as he hugs me tight and this is how friendship is, just two people reaching past the ugly toward fragile beauty.  
“I’m so glad your plan didn’t work. I can’t imagine never having met you.”
I hand scrunched bills and loose change to the lady and she asks if we need hot sauce, mild, medium, or hotand we say yes to all three because reading the captions is more fun than eating them.
Driving away, quietness becomes our passenger, and my friend starts to say something, then stops, starts again, and stops again.
“I was there too,” he finally says through bites of burrito, “and not too long ago either.”
I nod, sip at the super-sized Pepsi in my hand.
“I thought about calling you,” he adds.
“You can. Anytime.”
“I will now… now that…” his voice trails off but I know what he’s talking about, that this darkness we’ve both lived through has made us closer, like brothers, and this is why we need to be sharing our stories.
Yes, we need to be telling others the path we’ve walked because none of us can go through darkness and be unchanged, just like none of us can go to Calvary and be the same.
And the two, if you think about it, are closely related because the first steps toward redemption is in the walking through hell, just like Jesus did when He carried our sins there.  And you know what?
He came back to tell us about it. How there was hope. How there is hope.
So shouldn’t we, likewise, also come back from our hells, whether it an eating disorder, depression, or any other inner darkness? Shouldn’t we come back and tell others that there is hope?
Because written in the Word is this: “Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” 1 John 2:6
It saddens me today how many churches are filled with hushed, broken people, unwilling and embarrassed to share their stories. And this needs to change; the stigma needs to change that admitting our faults makes us weak because the reality is “the truth shall set you free” and when we become nothing, like the dust from which we are, then God can use us.
By telling our stories, we become human and becoming human is how Jesus saved us.
And this is how we can save the world.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 1 John 3:16


Duane writes about life and what it means to live fully aware of God in every moment, what it means to live loved, and to love in return. He lives in Iowa with a beautiful Southern Gal and a horrendously naughty dog named Mr. Watson. He currently writes on his personal blog Scribing the Journey, and here, you’ll find him scribbling all about this wild, grace-filled journey we’re all on.








41 Comments

  1. Yes, Yes, Yes! It is in the stories, the broken, hard, less than perfect stories that we bond, that we learn to lean in to each other, and we can find Jesus in one another in the grace that comes from knowing that the broken cracks is where love can seep in. That in our struggles grace abounds. It is through community that our wounds can start to heal, becaue God never meant for us to stay broken and alone at the foot of the cross.

    Reply
    • Karmen,

      We so often see pictures of Christianity portrayed by a lone man kneeling at the foot of the cross and I’d like someone to change that. Maybe Emily could paint it? Maybe she could place a lone man at the foot of the cross and have many other people kneeling behind that man? Because we have to come to the cross alone but it’s with the help of others, that we get there.

      Thank you for reading, Karmen.

      Reply
  2. lovely post—thanks for the encouragement

    Reply
  3. I love this and agree and have blabbed to the world about most all of my past. The enemy tries so desperately to hush me, too, and knows how to torture me. For example. I have this “about me” page on my blog in which I talk about getting divorced…as a Christian. Hundreds and hundreds of people have read that page but haven’t signed up to follow, and, on bad days, I tell myself: it’s because of my divorce. I’ve even wondered (fleetingly) if I should take that part of my story out of my about me page…or somehow disguise better that I already knew the Lord when I forsook my first marriage. But I know I can’t. Whatever I hide cannot be used, especially in the blogosphere.

    We have all sinned and had sin thrust upon us.

    Thank you, Duane, for sharing with your friend and for sharing with us, here. Thank you, Emily, for hosting him.

    Reply
    • If it makes you feel any better, hundreds and hundreds of people read mine and don’t sign up. :)

      I think it’s normal.

      Keep being honest, the world needs you.

      Reply
  4. Revelations 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death. Our testimony is powerful whether shared on a street corner, at a taco stand, a church pulpit or in a hut in Ecuador. Thanks for sharing Duane

    Reply
    • Julie, I love that scripture! And I haven’t heard it before. I’m going to bookmark it in my Bible right now. Thank you.

      Reply
  5. You know I love this, because this is my song, “tell your story, it changes people”. The greatest gift I receive is a response to my story of brokenness and redemption, when someone says, “Well if you did it, then so can I.” Yes, we need to tell our stories, to be conduits of God-glory that help to set people free. Yes and amen!

    Reply
  6. Love, love,love this. I was ashamed and embarrased of my past struggles with depression and an eating disorder for many years. Tomorrow will be the first step I take to walking out of that shame as I participate in a fundraiser walk to raise awareness for eating disorder treatment. I want to do just what you said; share hope. To let others know it is possible to pull through and live life again. Thank you for motivating me to continue to share my past!

    Reply
    • That’s redemption. Fundraisers. Telling the story. You inspire me today, Kristin. Oh, feels like I’ve found a new friend!

      Reply
  7. Sometimes I wonder if this isn’t part of what Jesus wanted us to understand when he asked the disciples to gather up the twelve baskets of broken crumbs, that none of it be wasted. The broken pieces–they are abundant. And they matter to Jesus.

    Thanks for sharing, Duane, and to you, emily, for featuring him here.

    Reply
    • Wow, that is amazing. Like a lightbulb. I love that insight. Storing that in my memory banks!

      Reply
    • Nancy, PLEASE write this into a post.

      Like Karmen said, that’s a lightbulb moment and I barely see the beginning of what you mean here. :)

      Reply
  8. Amen!!!

    Reply
  9. Oh the glory…to think…He can use me…

    It was only recently I realized that my messy story doesn’t define me…it reveals Him.

    Here’s to saving the world. One redemptive story at a time.

    Reply
    • Nikki,

      You are so kind. Thank you for being “you”.

      Reply
  10. Oh the glory…to think…He can use me…

    It was only recently I realized that my messy story doesn’t define me…it reveals Him.

    Here’s to saving the world. One redemptive story at a time.

    Reply
  11. Yes yes and amen….we all are broken in someway….a d each of us can share the grace given to us ….

    who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

    Reply
    • That’s a perfect verse for this post. Much more perfect than the one I originally shared. Thank you for posting it.

      Reply
    • Kelli,

      Thank you for reading… blessings…

      Reply
  12. Duane, Great read. Great post. We so often “stuff” our past not wanting others to see the marred clay.

    It is the broken and reset areas of the vessel that bring strength and victory to others so needing to see “real.”

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • By scars, we are saved. Then why do we try to hide ours?

      Thank you for this.

      Reply
  13. Yes…so many people leave church and go through life carrying things and burden they shouldn’t have to carry. I love how you said, Jesus went to hell and came back to tell us about it. We need to tell others so that they don’t feel so alone. Having come through many things, I can attest to the fact that most people are relieved when you share your journey. Not just the good parts but the black awful parts too. Coming out the other side is our redemtion story! Great post…Lori

    Reply
    • Lori,

      As one of the people you’ve told parts of your past to, I feel honored by it. And I can testify that every little piece you tell me, I grow closer to your heart. Blessings on you…

      Reply
  14. I love this: “By telling our stories, we become human and becoming human is how Jesus saved us.” Truth. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  15. Sorry, but this has not been my experience at all.

    Reply
    • Megan, in what way? I would like to hear. Have you found rejection in your telling? If so, I am sorry. There will always be those who are afraid of the broken, or mis-understand it. If you ever need a listening ear, I am a pretty good one (they are one of the few unbroken parts of me.;)

      Reply
    • Megan,

      Thank you for sharing this, but would you elaborate? When I write a post like this, it’s important for people to share the “other side of the coin”. If you have found judgment when you’ve shared your story, I am so very sorry.

      I would love to hear but I understand if it’s too difficult.

      Blessings and praying for you,

      DS

      Reply
  16. Dear Duane
    Yes, it is so necessary to tell your story and use the encouragement you have received from your Pappa God to help and encourage those around you who might be going through the same trial! It is so sad that there are so many broken people in the churches who never find true healing or just a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.
    Blessings

    Reply
  17. Awesome post and reminder, Duane. The church has been duped into thinking that following a set of rules makes us righteous people. And the walking wounded get a short rest in the pews on Sunday, not quite enough rest and restoration to get them to the next Sunday so they partake in their addiction of choice in-between to fill the need. Maybe TV, work, eating, or even writing… We all have something… and when we share our truth with others we find a peace, joy, and strength that comes from being light… which is truth.

    Reply
  18. Amen, amen. Not to sound overly serious or morbid, but the truth is–I don’t want my pain or mistakes –my brokenness and sin — and redemption to be wasted on me alone. I know I’m out here for such a time as this and I gladly surrender it all for His use.

    Reply
    • Loretta,

      YES! Amen. Amen. Amen.

      That wasn’t morbid.

      That was a “where the rubber meets the road” moment an I love those.

      Reply
  19. Amen! Amen! Bravo! I will not stop sharing my story. I lived through what I have for a reason. To tell about it and how Jesus saved me from living in the pits of hell on earth. I should not be here, but I am and every single day I am beyond thankful that I get to be. My ugly past has a beautiful redeemer and has turned what was intended for evil into something of value. I still struggle with the church and fitting in but I will not let that stop me. :)

    Reply
    • Lori,

      I would love to hear your story. I already feel closer to you. :)

      Reply
  20. “It saddens me today how many churches are filled with hushed, broken people, unwilling and embarrassed to share their stories. And this needs to change; the stigma needs to change that admitting our faults makes us weak because the reality is “the truth shall set you free” and when we become nothing, like the dust from which we are, then God can use us.” Beautifully said

    I’ve often sat in the pew hurting and knew there was NO one to share with. Then I would look around and wonder how many others were sitting in their pews with broken hearts and think “if we could all be transparent and sincere, how much easier life would be”. We are to care each other’s burdens – not pass it on as gossip from pew to pew or from SS class to SS class.

    Reply
  21. ah, yes, this. I was sent to you from a mutual friend. Bless her. I want a Taco Bell moment! I want someone to say: yes, they’ve been there too. I’m tired of being a pariah and sort of friends looking at me cock-eyed, fearful to approach. Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  22. My name is Jess, and I’ve fought through anxiety attacks and self harm thoughts with love and medication. I speak of the love of God but don’t feel it most of the time. I can tell stories that move people closer to God, but they haven’t worked on me for a long time. I read all Duane’s posts/stories, as well as others, and want to reconnect.

    I’m angry that my faithful, God loving mother had to suffer the way she did and died the death I would only reserve for the evil.

    My name is Jess, and I struggle…

    Reply
  23. My name is Jess, and I’ve fought through anxiety attacks and self harm thoughts with love and medication. I speak of the love of God but don’t feel it most of the time. I can tell stories that move people closer to God, but they haven’t worked on me for a long time. I read all Duane’s posts/stories, as well as others, and want to reconnect.

    I’m angry that my faithful, God loving mother had to suffer the way she did and died the death I would only reserve for the evil.

    My name is Jess, and I struggle…

    Reply

i'm so glad you're here, friend. how are you?