Yesterday I was raving about the retreat I attended over the past weekend, and I want to continue that today.
We had a speaker who talked to us about the things in our life that hurt. I’m talking real hurt here. Things like sexual abuse, assault, neglect, divorce, and such. When these things happen, we have guilt, pain, and other emotions we need to resolve. And we have anger we hold onto over these things—anger that causes us to realize we want to murder. What does it mean to surrender something like this to God? And what if I don’t want to?
Sometimes a person begins to allow their pain to define them, and that’s not healthy. When you realize you have been holding onto your pain because it’s the only thing that comforts you, it’s the first step to letting it go. Right now you’re saying to yourself, “What are you talking about—pain that comforts me?”
You have allowed your pain to comfort you when you create scenarios in your mind that run like movies, and in these movies you exact your revenge. And it feels good. When you are unwilling to give up running these revenge movies in your head because they give you an emotional release, you know you’ve made an idol in your heart.
Who is our Comforter? Who says, “Revenge is mine?”
You know you’ve made your movie into an idol because God wants first position in your heart, and instead you have given your heart to the feeling you get when you run your movie in your head. It feels good to get revenge. But a clear conscience feels better.
So, how do we give this up when we’ve been hurt so deeply?
I’m going to tell you what our speaker told us, and I’m also going to confess that I’m not much of a ‘visualization’ person. I just don’t go for that kind of stuff, because usually when people are talking about visualization they are trying to create something in their minds and they think they can actually create something real, something tangible (like getting a new car), just by thinking about it. And that’s stupid, and that’s not what I’m talking about here, just so we’re clear.
Remember, this is not a therapy exercise, but an act of faith!! Here’s what you do: Picture your hurt. Make it look like whatever it looks like in your mind – someone’s face, a house, whatever. But picture it, and then place it in your hands. Now take your hands and lift them up to God, and place your hurt at the foot of the cross of Christ. Give it up to Him. Pray and tell Him you are letting Him deal with it from now on. Now let Him handle it. Easier said than done, right?
Do this as many times as necessary. Each time you start playing that movie, make it stop and turn it over to Christ. A thousand times a day if you have to until that movie becomes boring and stops trying to invade your privacy.
It may sound simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And now you’ve got a new weapon in your arsenal to bust those idols!