Blog Stories

A Very True Story about Shredding a Whole Bunch of Papers

This is Alyssa’s story– a friend and recent Aggie grad. I think you will like her short story and insight as she finds the gospel in the mundane.

There was an administrative job that I had on campus a couple of years ago. It was mostly mundane kind of work, file this, print that, hold the first call, transfer the second. Everyday kind of stuff. But every once in a while, I got to do something a little different.

I remember that paper shredding day pretty clearly. As I settled in behind my desk for the afternoon, my supervisor pointed to several boxes full of paper. She plugged in a paper shredder and told me to do as much as I could. As I looked at what was in front of me, I realized it was a year’s worth of paper. Paper that had accumulated over an entire calendar year, pulled from the locked filing cabinet and stuffed into boxes. I cracked the lid on the first box. The papers had a lot of mistakes written on them. And by that, I mean these were the papers that were filled out when students were in trouble with the university. Their situation was looked at carefully, and both the details of the event and their punishment were documented here. To be filed and remembered for an indefinite amount of time. The shredder hummed. I picked up a few pieces and began to feed them into the sharp buzzing teeth. This out-of-the ordinary task soon enough became a mundane one, paper by paper. It was feeling endless.

I could feel my mind moving to the rhythm of the shredder, slowly. And I thought,
Well, I’m the last one to see these.

And suddenly this mundane task stumbled back into significance. In my hands were a year’s worth of mistakes and punishments. And as I slid each one in, it became destroyed, unreadable.
I’m the last one to ever read these.

It was a weighty and haunting thought.

I let this spin in my brain, as I tried to grasp why this fact seemed so startling. And slowly, I realized that as I look at my life, I struggle to think that the wrong things I have done can be so easily destroyed. I tend to let them hang over me. I keep that locked-up file cabinet in plain sight, well aware of what’s in it.
And if I’m really honest, a lot of times that’s what I think God is doing too. Because what about the stuff I have done that God, who is perfect in every possible way, should punish me for? What do I believe that he does with that stuff, my sin? Is it in a box, kind of like this? Or, is it in a filing cabinet, carefully alphabetized?

And right there, in an empty office, with an armful of papers, I was mercifully given a glimpse of a God who is not like that.

Because as I looked down at the whirring blades in front of me, I realized THIS is what God does with my sin. He takes those things that I have done, written on those faded pieces of office paper, and says that he doesn’t remember me for those things. He sent his son Jesus, who was perfect, to take care of that. When I trusted that Christ has done this, and gave him those papers, he put them right down into the shredder.

And here’s what gets me the most—It can’t be brought back up.

The devil may tape those shreds back together and try to tell me it is who I am. I think a lot of times I even try to tell myself that.

But it’s a lie.

God said I’m forgiven, and I have a new identity.

All those little shreds—those don’t get to say who I am anymore. It was MY name written on a paper with MY sin, but my God chose not to hold onto them.

So when presented with a version of myself other than that which God has given me, I want to fight to understand that it has been through the shredder—it’s invalid. Those little pieces of paper that have my old self and my old sin on them, have been scattered as far as the east is from the west. They no longer form anything whole.

And then I want to fight to understand Truth– about myself, about God. And I want to live in the freedom of knowing that He does not treat me as my sins deserves…He has graciously put my sin down the shredder, and has handed me a blank sheet of paper in return.

Alyssa is a Texas A&M grad with a degree in Communication. On the weekends she loves to travel and explore new cities, but is also happy to stay home and make donuts. Her favorite app is Yelp, which 99% of the time is used to search for “nearby coffee shops.” She loves Jesus and wants others to know and love him!