Can I be painfully honest with you for a moment? It’s been awhile since I wrote a this-is-what-God-is-teaching-me-about-my-broken-self-post…so I guess it’s time to share.
I struggle to let things go. If someone hurts me, I struggle to get past it. And I hate this about myself.
My husband can get over things so quickly. If something offends him, he doesn’t hang onto it. He usually says something like, “Well, that’s just the way it is.” And then he moves on.
I’ve asked him over and over in our 13 years of marriage how he does this. For him, it’s just something he can do. It comes naturally.
For me, the opposite is natural. Instead of letting go of things and moving on – refusing to let things continue to hurt me – I hang on to them. I over-think them day after day, wondering what I did wrong to cause someone to treat me the way they did or wishing things had happened differently.
There are times that a song will come on the radio that was popular when I was in high school. It reminds me of a person or situation that hurt me, and the feelings are still so raw. It’s like I’m 17 again.
Or now, as an adult, when I run into someone who has hurt me, those feelings resurface.
It would be one thing if the offenses done were huge. Then I would give myself more grace. The hurt feelings would make more sense. But the offenses don’t even have to be big for me to hang on to the hurt.
As much as I want to let go of the hurt and move forward, it’s like I can’t. It’s like I’m stuck.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who has been through more in her life than any one person should have to go through. She has a child with special needs who has been in life-threatening health battles more than any child should ever experience.
She said something as we were talking that stuck with me. You see, we were talking about marriage and the little things that our spouses do that somethings bug us. I told her I was impressed with her ability to let things go. From the outside looking in, it seems like she and her husband do such a great job of working as a team.
Do they do things that bug each other? Sure. But they don’t fight a lot. And she explained why.
“Over the years,” she said, “I guess I’ve just learned that there are bigger things to worry about. Most things just are worth fighting over or hanging on to.”
Isn’t that so true?
Most things I get upset over or hurt by…in the grand scheme of things…don’t really matter all that much.
So that got me thinking….if most of the things that bug me or hurt me aren’t worth fighting over, why do I allow these things to taunt me? Why do I over-think them? Why do I allow them to continue to upset me?
Then I read this post about forgiveness over at Sheila Wray Gregoire’s blog. (It’s a really good post, by the way, if forgiveness is something you struggle with.)
Sheila wrote about how sometimes, the reason we can’t forgive is because we are focusing so much on the forgiveness itself. We’re praying, “God, help me forgive so-and-so for what they did to me.”
And in doing so, we’re focusing on the wrong that was done to us. Instead of doing this, Sheila wrote that we should focus on Jesus.
Focus on getting closer to Him, and He will begin to heal your heart.
And then, as He’s healing your heart, He’ll help you forgive too.
When you focus on the thing you need to forgive, forgiveness becomes impossible. But when you focus on getting closer to Jesus, Jesus does the work for you.*
I don’t have all the answers. Goodness, I wish I did. I wish forgiveness came naturally for me like it seems to for other people. But this makes sense to me.
When I do those two things…when I remind myself that THIS isn’t worth being upset about and when I seek to get closer to Jesus (instead of focusing so much on the offense itself)….when I do those two things, forgiveness doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.
What do you think? Do you struggle to forgive too? What has helped you? Leave a comment with your tips or thoughts.
*Though I wish Jesus moved fast, He doesn’t. Sometimes, healing can take years. Or even decades. We can’t rush healing. Or forgiveness…especially for big offenses.