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.