Hanging on to Your Yuck
Here’s the truth …
“Strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).
Dave Ramsey once said in a Financial Peace University video that a toddler will refuse to get out of a messy diaper because, by golly, it’s her mess and it’s warm. Makes you wonder if we are that far removed as adults from our own desire to hold onto our mess. Ever just want to curl up under a blanket and shut out the world and have a good cry as you bemoan all the bad happening in your life? It’s almost cleansing and therapeutic, as long as you don’t stay there on that couch for weeks and weeks. It needs to be a good day of crying it out, not a lifetime!
On any given day, I can be going through my own pain while also listening to my friend on the phone talk about her husband’s antics, pausing at the mailbox to chat with my neighbor about her recent loss, receiving an update from another friend who is recovering from Cancer removal and the aftermath of treatments, and texting with yet another friend about her breakup that she just can’t accept. So, there is no shortage of pain that seeps into our daily lives.
Some deal with pain by refusing to let go of what makes us feel safe. For me, it’s food! Oh, how I love to eat to ease my pain. A bag of Cheetos can provide such comfort for me, no matter what ails me! For others, it could be hoarding things to fill voids, staying in a broken relationship because it’s easier than the unknown, turning to drugs and alcohol to mask the suffering, or talking about their pain with anyone who will listen but not putting action to their words.
Taking steps to overcome pain is hard work, but it is necessary work in order to be healthy. I must overcome my love for food if I expect the bloated feeling to subside. But that’s too difficult sometimes when the pain seems bigger than myself. So, to God we must turn. He is bigger than any pain we could ever encounter. And although it might seem easier to cling to that unhealthy relationship we might have with material things or with certain people, we must never let the hole in our ship take down the entire ship into an abyss from which we will never recover. Only God can reach in and fill those voids with all of Him. Only God can surgically remove the poison that desires to take over and wipe out the good cells!
A good example of this is what made me think of this topic. A controlling boyfriend who chooses to check your emails and texts each night to make certain that you are being faithful is not marriage material, especially if he proceeds to berate you for the most innocent of communications with people who intimidate him. He closes his heart to you, yet you beg to be able to return? Don’t you know that you are a cherished daughter of the King of Kings? You should never be made to feel like you are not permitted to live life trusted and treasured by those who also reside in your heart.
When we give people power to define how we see ourselves, we lose, not just for ourselves but for God. He has a plan and a purpose for us that does not involve letting others decide for us how we will feel about ourselves. He desires for you to be confident in who you are as His cherished child so that you can walk unencumbered along the path He has for you. If you get too derailed, you simply will not move forward on that path. Worse, you might step off of the path entirely as you give in to the pain and cling to it instead of removing it like a backpack that becomes too heavy to keep carrying around any longer.
Hebrews 12:1 reminds us to “strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (NLT).
Folks, when we wallow in our pain, we are holding on to baggage that keeps us from running the race and finishing well on this earth. To the hoarder, I would ask, Why are you hanging on to your things? What are you afraid of? To the person in an abusive relationship, I would ask, Why would you return to a person who repeatedly hurts you? What are you afraid of? It takes great courage to walk away from what is comfortable, even if it is painful. But dig down deep and find that courage: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NLT).
A tree with a dead or diseased limb needs that limb to be cut off in order to become healthier and better. It might look a little funny without that dead limb than it once did, but that is so much better than how it will look if you keep that dead limb on there and allow it to infect the rest of the tree. Sure, cutting it off is painful at first, but those wounds will eventually heal; and the alternative will certainly be much worse if you permit the diseased limb to stay put.
So ask yourself, what am I clinging to that is unhealthy? Why don’t I, instead, give it over to God? Just like the tree that will heal miraculously and produce beautiful leaves and fruit in the area that was once infected, you, too, will one day see fruit from your decision to let go of the pain to which you cling. Trust in God. “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 NLT). He will not fail you.
… and that’s the truth as I know it!