I received a card from a friend recently and in it she wrote this quote: “You will find it necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy.” I have been weighed down lately with worries and burdens that I have no business holding onto. They are issues outside of my control, yet I waste time letting myself wallow in the sadness of my past and use this pain as an excuse to make poor choices today. This has been frustrating because I know better, yet find myself going around the same mountain over and over again.
The truth is often we are depressed or bitter because we are allowing ourselves to remain that way. We all have had bad things happen to us and it is easy to blame the past and make excuses to explain our behaviour in the present. You may have valid reasons for feeling the way you do but you cannot use the experience as an excuse to dwell in self-pity and be miserable. If you are not careful, you will get stuck and let it become the focus of your life.
In the same way that a wound will never heal unless you leave it alone, we need to let go of past hurts and pains and trust God. In the last post, I mentioned that faith is not denying that you have problems but rather facing the facts without being disheartened by them. Keep that in mind. Stop dwelling on what might have been. Forgive others, forgive yourself and let go. Instead of picking at your scabs and tearing open old wounds, take what God has given you and make the most of it.
“Don’t ever be ashamed of a scar. It just means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” (unknown)
I love peanut butter and can easily eat an entire jar in one sitting (but generally stick to a few teaspoons a day!) A large helping of ‘peanut gallery’ gossip on the other hand, leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and I do my best to avoid such indulgence. I am responsible for controlling my appetite and these temptations but I can’t control the actions of others. This is hard to swallow at times, especially when the peanuts are being thrown my way.
I have felt embarrassed because of what people have been thinking and saying recently and my confidence level has been tested. I have learnt from experience that not everybody is going to approve of me and God will give me the grace to keep going, even when it is emotionally hard. It is far easier to add fuel to the fire, instead of taking the high road and being kind and courteous. Forgiveness is something we have to do on purpose, sometimes daily, even if we don’t feel like it.
I may not want to share my last teaspoon of peanut butter with the gallery just yet, but I am working on it and keeping an open heart, as communication often clears up confusion. I don’t always get it right, and I desperately want to defend myself against my critics but I trust God to take care of things. Everywhere we go people are hurting and discouraged, even those sitting in the peanut gallery. They often have their own unresolved issues that have nothing to do with us. It is hard not to let bitterness take root when we are wronged but we need to persevere, spread God’s love and compassion (thick and generously, like we would peanut butter on toast!) and help heal those wounded hearts.