Think of a time you let something slide, only for it to eat away at you later. Tell us how you’d fix it today.
I’m a bag lady! Most victims of abuse carry bags of hurt. Do you have a bag of hurt?
In my post, Ouch! Painful Truth I share how I lost that natural instinct to shout “ouch!” to communicate hurt. I challenge my sisters to join me in crying out to God for help and admit when we are hurt.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
Psalm 34:17 (NIV)
Crying out is easier said than done. I’m wired to let things slide. I was the youngest and littlest member of my family. I needed to let things go to survive. My first reaction couldn’t and therefore will never be to FIGHT. I usually freeze like a deer in headlights, take the abuse, then I run away to lick my wounds. I know when to keep quiet, when to say “that’s ok”, “no problem…” or to laugh even when they’re not funny. I’m a Survivor.
But letting things slide or ignoring bullies doesn’t mean I let it go. These hurts slid off my back into a bag of crap. When alone, I pull them out, sort and grieve every un-shed tear.
There were hurts buried deep in this bag that kept boiling to the top, threatening to devour me. It seemed like a bottomless bag of pain, forming deep wells of tears that threaten every relationship, planting seeds of distrust, making intimacy and love difficult to nurture and grow.
Within this bag, were lots of smaller bags gathering each hurt from anyone I loved, readily available to be pulled out after each disagreement to remind them of their transgressions – not healthy!
Finally, my bag of hurts and I made our way to two great counselors who helped me dump the contents, label the abuse, confront some, forgive many, release resentment and learn healthy responses to every day pains in this sinful, fallen world.
Every time I pull a painful issue out, I immediately feel a million pounds lighter. My entire body releases the stress of carrying all of those burdens and secrets around day after day, month after month, year after year.
I wish I could honestly say I left the bag in counseling but I challenged myself to live in truth. In truth, we are sinful and say mean things to one another. I still run into people who claim they say mean things because they love me. Honestly, I still haven’t found the magic response to conflict. Some of these issues slip into the bag because I just don’t know what else to do with them. I am still learning to love my neighbor.
The ministry of reconciliation calls me to do better. We are all saved by Christ and reconciled to God through the cross.
I have learned to occasionally say ‘ouch!’ Every issue doesn’t end up in my bag. But if they do, I don’t wait, I open my bag of hurts at the altar; lay them and those who hurt me at the cross; praying we will be reconciled. Amen.