Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Hurt (A Guest Post)

{My friend Courtney is sharing today about her Letting Go journey. Holla, Cee Cee!}

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Every now and then my husband and I engage in extremely poignant conversations. They go like this: Me: I don’t think that lady likes me.

Him: Why would you say that?

Me: Remember that one time, six years ago she made that comment about that thing I said?

He shakes his head.

Me: I can’t believe you don’t remember that.

Him: I can’t believe you do.

It’s true. When it comes to “keeping a record of wrongs,” I’ve got a mind like a steel trap. (When it comes to housework, my mind is more like Jello.)

I was born into this God-stuff. I “asked Jesus into my heart” when I was five…and again when I was ten just to be sure. My testimony isn’t earth shattering. I didn’t hit rock bottom only to find His hand waiting for me at the edge of a puddle of my own mess. For all intents and purposes, I’m as boring as an empty pickle jar.

But unlike pickles, I have a clean, fresh scent.

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The point is, I should know better. Love keeps no record of wrongs. It’s not like it’s rocket science… so why is it so hard to let go of months - even year-old hurts? Years and years (and years) ago now, kids were mean to me…and I allowed it to shape every little thing about myself.

I’ll show them, I seem to say…as if they’re still paying attention. As if they’re still sitting beside me in the sixth grade.

How horrible to find out everyone else has moved on.

Last night, I was thinking about this post and it dawned on me that, like an unfinished dot-to-dot, I can trace the insults of the past. From my early years through high school into college, and some only a few months back. If they were contacts in my phone, I’d have them on speed dial. I spend so much of my extra time with these insults… I take them out for dinner or a quick coffee & dessert. We’re old pals, me and the hurts of the past.

I entertain them as if they deserve my undivided attention.

The hurts that came from trusted friends. Teachers. Pastors.

It’s hard to look back and find any justification for pain, which I think is why it’s hard to let it go. When the offender isn’t sorry, how do you walk away from it?

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The truth is, I don’t have the answers, but I know this for sure…holding on to my own angst is only tying my stomach into a knot…the people who’ve hurt me have long since forgotten—or perhaps never even knew. Some of them can’t admit they’ve done wrong to anyone, so why do I dwell on it and allow it to affect me? Crying out for justice in a world that isn’t listening while at the same time, turning a blind eye to the world that’s right in front of me seems a bit counterproductive, no?

I can’t think of a better way for us to stop and stay exactly where we are, feet lodged in the quicksand of offense, than to hold on for dear life to the hurts of the past…when really, all we need to do is

Let.

It.

Go.

God doesn’t want us hanging onto this drippy mess of hurt.

Just for a minute, imagine your heart…

When you were born, it was whole. Healthy. Life-giving. And little by little, with every hurt, a piece of it cracked off. Another piece turned black and shriveled. Yet another piece split off from itself and got a mind of its own.

Now imagine the hands of your Heavenly Father, picking up that heart and holding it like the precious thing it is. With one touch, he oh so gently restores life to the dead parts without judgment…because he understands that we’re working this thing out.

Now imagine that heart free of the bondage of hurt and pain…because let's face it...when we chain ourselves to our pain, we're never really free...

What does freedom look like? What does it feel like to stop lugging it around, like a too-heavy suitcase shackled to our back...

Why don’t we—you and I—let it go…and find out?


***

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Courtney is my blog friend turned in-the-flesh friend, by way of the ACFW conference last month. Over hours of burning-the-midnight-oil conversations, I knew she really understood this "Letting Go" business. If memory serves me, I waited until lights were out and we had finally agreed to call it a night before shouting out (and I really did have to shout - she sleeps in ear plugs) "Hey, you're writing a guest post for me next month!" It wasn't a question so much as a statement. I get bossy when I'm tired. Go get to know Courtney. She's the real bananas.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

26 comments:

  1. i like her already. another blog crush. shannan, you better warn her.

    this is so wise. and considering i read the last few chapters of Grace for the Good Girl today and they were about this very same thing, i think it's a sign. it's time to let go of the hurt!

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  2. I am re-reading it because I wrote this as a reminder to myself, I swear!! I seem to have to learn and re-learn the same thing over and over! Thanks for having me, Shannan...I really love you! :)

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  3. I love her writing. You two as friends... oh yeah it makes total sense.

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  4. My sister and I just had an hour long phone conversation about this. The ones who have offended aren't losing sleep over this stuff so why are we? Thanks for the encouragement to let it go.

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  5. Beautiful, thank you both for sharing!

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  6. wow. just wow. I have that problem with memory too... I have a fairly easy time forgiving, but not forgetting. But, if we don't forget it, are we really forgiving the wrong? Something to ponder today.

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  7. I was just passing by and thought id stop to say hello. I'm checking new blogs today, and i hope you folks are enjoying the fall weather like we are having here in Pennsylvania. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon county.

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  8. Lovely post. I have a hard time letting go of things I feel bad about......foot-in-mouth moments that you can't take back, but it's so true....you've got to let them go. Courtney does sound like the real bananas, Shannan! Thanks for introducing her.

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  9. oh. two swoony-kins in the same place. this series is so amazing. letting go. has done wonders for my little ol’ heart. letting go of hurt is the one way i’ve truly felt my heart come alive. thanks for these words today. amen, sisters.

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  10. I know you're right. But... how? Do you ever ask yourself how to really let it go once and for all? I don't know how. I want to.. but I keep picking it back up. :(

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  11. Great post, Courtney. I love what you say about how holding onto the hurt only hurts us. Thanks for the reminder.

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  12. Great post. I can totally relate. I was just telling my husband two nights ago that it seems as if it takes me forever to let go of something someone said to me. It's frustrating! I have come to realize that holding on to hurts is actually a form of self-centered-ness because everyone else has moved on and I am caught on me, me, me. I hope that makes sense :)

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  13. Love her, dear friend. Not only can I remember the things people have said to me that has hurt, I can remember what they were wearing. ~lol~ I needed this today...
    ~G~xo

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  14. Seriously, I was just going through this a couple of weeks ago and one of my pastors (thank the Lord for this man!!) just simply said "We need to stop trying so hard to forgive with our heads and just ask Jesus to wash away the hurt, the offense, the pain." And I did that (it was a VERY hurtful thing said to me that was keeping me up every night for weeks, stewing about it) and I don't know how, but Jesus just took that pain out of the comment. I can't forget the comment, but it has no sting and I've been able to forgive this person even though they never asked for forgiveness and probably never will. God is so good!
    Thanks again!
    -Shannon

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  15. Alright BOTH of you know I adore you... but seriously this is where I'm at as I read this- it seems like in my case, I'm actually holding on to a perceived hurt from GOD because He didn't do what I thought He was going to do and now I'm in a new situation and I keep finding myself referring back to that "old situation".... so when Courtney said, "when we chain ourselves to our pain, we're never really free..." it rocked my brain for a full five minutes. I think... and I still need to chew on this... that I have totally chained myself to my hurt. Which is why I still feel raw and frustrated! Sigh... sad but true I fear. Anyway, it will be good to think on this today. I mean, as good as thinking about your failings and trying to correct them is... letting go isn't easy.
    Thanks for sharing this one girls.

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  16. I can see why you've become fast friends. You speak/write the same language. Lovely and smart.
    Dana

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  17. Beautiful. This is probably what I (unwittingly) hold on to the most. I have been hurt by someone that I have to forgive over and over. This person probably doesn't even realize how much or how they have hurt me. Hurt provokes anger. I catch myself being so angry. It's unhealthy. It is hard to let something go when the offender isn't sorry. (Or not aware of the hurt they (are) cause(ing)) I think you are right....there is no remedy to heal hurt, you just have to LET IT GO. And pray. Let Jesus be the salve to our wounded hearts. I'm also more aware how my words and actions (or lack of) can hurt people. Thank you for sharing!

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  18. It wasn't until I really realized that I'm no better that I was able to let others fall freely into Our Father's Grace. Even the unbelievers, cause He made them, too.

    (And, me, too...I committed my life to Him again for kicks and giggles...not really realizing what it meant; that I had oh so long ago! Funny how that happens with youngins!)

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  19. Oh my goodness. I remember. I remember every single one.

    Does seem very hard to let go of something that I try so hard not to forget.

    Very encouraging post.

    Shanny, great idea to invite her over!

    xxoo

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  20. Wonderful post Courtney! A lot of truth in that! We all could use that theory of letting go!Thank you for sharing! Traci

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  21. I still struggle with a hurt I received over a year ago. Recently a friend pointed out to me that holding a grudge/being mad is like me drinking poison waiting for the offender to die. The truth of this statement struck me hard. Time to stop drinking the poison and rest in the arms of the Lord.

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  22. So true. Yet, as hard as I try to let go, those past hurts always show up again and again.

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  23. Were you in my head? Something I need to learn!!!

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  24. Wow, did I need this today!

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