A New Year?
Some folks call it a new page, a new door, a clean start. Really…I mean REALLY?
A clean slate? I’m not a cynical person, but really? That’s a little miss leading.
A New Door?
Okay, because I love, absolutely love doors, let’s take the metaphor of a new door, fresh paint, gleaming clean windows, ornately trimmed opening into a brand new year.
But I got stuff
I’m standing at the door of my new year but I got baggage. Lots of it… stuff exploding from the pockets. Heavy baggage.
The soft canvas bag would hardly zip closed.
The door of my New Year isn’t wide enough for me and my baggage to go through at the same time. So I back through the door and groaned as I struggle to pull it into my New Year.
First the biggest, oldest bag, then I reached for another.
Do I really need all this stuff?
Then I promised myself, I even made a mental note to add it to my New Years resolution list, “Learn to pack better.”
Because I’m determined, and that’s a good quality to develop. And I am determined to do better this year, I stopped long enough to add it to the “My Do List” in Evernote, (My all time favorite app!) with a reminder to goggle “packing strategies”.
“But you don’t need to pack better,” I heard His gentle voice as I pulled one more bag through the shiny door of my New Year.
“Why is this door so narrow? Doesn’t God realize that I would have all this stuff to take with me?” I grumbled.
“I never intended you to carry it.” His voice answered, even though I didn’t mean to be talking to Him.
Ignoring that comment, I went back to His first one. “And, if I don’t need to pack better, exactly what do I need?” I groaned and pulled another bag through the door catching it on the door frame as I pulled.
“Leave it. Stop carrying it!” He said as I straighten the suitcase and pulled again.
His idea sounded ridiculous! “Yeah, right! Do you have any idea how long I’ve been carrying all this junk….ah treasures?”
“I do,” the familiar voice answered me. “And it’s time to stop.”
I felt like laughing. A painful, bitter laugh that leaves you weak.
But instead I knelt beside the nearest bag and unzipped it. Dusty, painful memories flowed through me, but the thought of leaving them, abandoning them right there… forever… was just absolutely overwhelming.
The bag was heavy…
it was filled with excruciating injustices I had suffered.
Wrongs I had endured.
As I picked through the contents of my baggage, the pain engulfed me like volcanic lava flow, burning as hot as if it had just happened.
You would think I would recoil,
instead I pulled them closer.
I felt my anger intensify.
“Why did this junk happen? I didn’t deserve this!” I wasn’t really asking, just raging in anger.
But He answered,
“As long as you carry them, they’ll never stop hurting you.”
But I didn’t like His answer.
I wanted to scream at Him…at Him…at my best friend! If you’ve never felt intense pain, you can’t possibly understand my reaction.
And what do you want me to do with them?
I can’t just leave them here. They are part of me. No, they are me. They define me. That’s who I am now. These bags are who I am now.
He continued, “That’s my point.
Your pain doesn’t have to define you.
It scars you.
It labels you.
It limits you …
only….ONLY, if you let it!”
I couldn’t believe my ears.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!
I didn’t let this stuff, this junk happen! By this time I was crying…HARD!
It’s not my fault. Do you think I want to carry this stuff?”
I didn’t look at Him when He answered, “As a matter of fact, I know you do!”
Incredulous, I screamed the only word I could get through my lips, NO!
I crumpled over the bag, and pulled another one into my arms without realizing what it was doing. Then I continued to tell Him,
“I don’t want this
…stuff …this pain.
I’ve tried to fix it.
But I can’t fix my past.”
His words were shocking,
“That’s the first thing you’ve said that makes sense.
The reality is you can’t fix or change it for that matter. What you can do, is change your future.”
My answer was soaked with sarcasm and doubt, “My future change? And now your gonna tell me there’s a real Santa Claus!”
My sarcasm and doubt didn’t penetrate Him, but I shivered as the darkness of my words exposed the depths of my soul.
How did I get to this point?
I was raised in church!
I read the Bible.
Where did I go wrong?
He waited while I processed my thoughts.
When He didn’t say anything I admitted, “I’ve blamed you. I know you didn’t cause it, but I blamed you just the same.”
I paused and then looked to see if He was still there, after what I had said, not that He didn’t know it already. But I’ve just never admitted it before.
“Can I really change my future? Will the pain ever go away?”
“Not as long as you carry it into your future.”
I was angry again. I spewed louder than I meant too…”I can’t leave my stuff here.”
Then quieter, in a painful whisper, I asked, “What do you want me to do with my stuff?”
There was a gentle quietness that came into my anger when I asked the question.
I looked up when He didn’t answer immediately and I was overwhelmed by the love I saw.
Why hadn’t I seen it before? Why was I so blinded…
I was blinded by my pain…
by my accusations…
by my fear!
I repeated my question, but this time it wasn’t a question, it was surrender.
It was an admission that I needed Him.
That I couldn’t fix myself.
That I couldn’t carry all my STUFF anymore.
“What do you want me to do with all the pain of my past?”
“Give it to me!” His words were gentle, but I knew they brought me to a pivotal point.
I was at the crossroads of HIS Way or MY Way.
I wish I could tell you it was an easy choice, but I’d be lying. So I’m not going to add that to my list of sins. I will tell you, without zipping the bag or shoving the bulging contents back into place, I pushed the first bag away from my knees and to his feet.
I couldn’t barely get the words out, but they were sincere, “OK. I surrender my pain, my past to you. OK. I’ll do what you say. I make a choice that I’m not going to carry the pain of my past into my future.”
I knew it was a choice I would have to live out…daily. Not something I would do one time and it was over, but like choosing to make my bed each morning before I leave the room.
A place of daily surrender.
Surrendering my thoughts.
But, the game changer was, I wouldn’t be doing it alone. I knew he would be there to help me!
How bout you?
Got baggage your struggling to get through the door of your New Year? I’d love to pray for you.