I felt really prompted to write today, and reach out to encourage my readers. I am currently working on a new book about the valley times in our lives, and how we can heal through those times to find joy and wholeness in Jesus. After writing today, I wanted to share an excerpt from the book that I thought could be an encouragement for you where ever you are at! It is from week two of the study where we discuss how we find ourselves in pits of despair and how we can practically find the keys to make our way out.
As we walk this path attempting to trace our steps to how we got to this current point, we may already be in a place of pain reliving the moments that slowly broke us down. Don’t be discouraged, keep moving with the Spirit of God. One of the hardest things to consider in our lives is the affects of other people’s sins, decisions, hurts and battles. There are many times when we are on this journey of life and we are hit by the shrapnel of other people’s personal battles. This is such a difficult thing to face because we are often the innocent bystander, who is wounded greatly simply because we were in close proximity to the war ground.
In life, we are surrounded by crowds of people who are each fighting a different battle, walking out a different story and working through pain or conflict. We are each processing through a unique set of circumstances; with unique family backgrounds, varying financial situations, different personal struggles with insecurity, fear or inadequacy, and an individual set of DNA crafted with generational habits, blessings or personality types. When we encounter people on a daily basis, we often also encounter all of these things in a momentary connection. We come to our boss and ask for a simple favor and we are met with an assault of vicious words and cutting remarks. What we don’t see is her storyline up until that moment that have culminated to a blow up moment in her own heart where one more request sent her emotions into a tailspin. It wasn’t you, it was her own battle that she was facing, and as you stepped into close quarters with her, you got hit with her shrapnel.
This is just part of the world that we live in. This doesn’t mean that we should not be in relationship with people, or shut off our contact with anyone. It just means that we have to reframe our perspective. Scripture continuously commands us to love one another, and not just in the good times, but in the bad as well. We are called to give each other grace when we each have our moment of weakness. As we would want to be loved, forgiven and lavished with grace, with must give that to others as well as they walk out their own battle. As many preachers say, “hurt people hurt people.” We each have the ability to see beyond the present situation and understand people’s storylines and what they are enduring or processing through.
How does this have anything to do with your present pain? Many times in my own journey I found myself in severe pain from all the shrapnel wounds I was gathering along the way. I heaped up words that were spewed at me, moments of betrayal and hurtful conflict, and carried them on my back as if they were meant to be there. I allowed those words or actions to weigh me down, and continually burn me. Combine what I was already walking through of pain and suffering, and then add the shrapnel from other people’s battles on top of it; it was a mess. You can see how it can create chaos within us, and confusion about what words are true and which are false.
You may be walking through this valley of hardship because you have kept relational shrapnel as luggage to hold on to. You have taken words, actions, circumstances of others as your own, and have held on to them like truth, proclaiming them over your own life. You may know an exact situation in your life when you were betrayed or targeted, and even those moments are someone else’s battleground that has found its way into your life. Hurt people hurt people; those who are afraid of being alone or rejected will often reject or push others away in an aggressive hurtful way. Seek to understand their story, and see how their past and present battles may be causing them to make their current decisions.
The goal of this week is to consider how our relationships may have been a cause or factor in our current depression or struggle. Situations of trauma and pain can often make a monumental imprint on our hearts that will stay if we don’t tend to it. Words that were spoken over us in moments of conflict, or someone else’s pain can become broken records in our minds that play over and over every single day. Take time with the Lord to understand how relationships have impacted you. Ask to see those situations in a different light; ask to understand the heart of the other person, and seek to know what the Lord says about that situation. Think about the words that haunt you everyday, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not a good friend,” the list could go on. To find these phrases, reflect on the phrases that often come to your mind throughout the day, especially when you try something new or for the Kingdom of God. Take those phrases to the Lord, and let Him speak truth over it! Reclaim your authority in Christ!
Also remember that sometimes there are circumstances or words that we have to take responsibility for. There have been a few key times in my life when I felt greatly hurt by people, but the Lord prompted me to go apologize. It can be difficult to decipher in our interactions what is our responsibility, and what is not. That is why it is so important to reflect with the Lord on what we say, do and think. Take time to genuinely process your relationships. If there is a past wound that digs at you everyday, seek the Lord to redeem it. Take responsibility for what the Lord is calling you to take responsibility for, repent and turn from your behavior and move forward in grace.
One last key on this day: forgiveness. Grace means that we extend forgiveness to those who have betrayed us, hurt us, persecuted us, or just didn’t love us. Our goal in life is restoration through the blood of Jesus, and this means restoration of relationships. *Now, this doesn’t mean that all relationships must come back into existence! We must aim to forgive and reconcile our emotions, hurts and bondage with the Lord to find peace and redemption. Sometimes, this means we must go to a specific person and either repent, or move forward, and in some cases it means we must work through it within ourselves and move forward. If you are unsure of how to process it, I strongly urge you to consider seeing a Christian counselor to have aid in working through difficult memories or situations. You don’t have to walk out pain alone.
Your time today should be that of reflection with the Lord about the relational shrapnel in your life. Pray to see how other’s battles have affected you. Ask the Lord to show you were you need to repent, and what things you need to throw away. And pray that the Lord would give you eyes and ears to hear the hearts of others. Just as you need grace and love, others do as well. Ask Jesus to give you a soft heart for the battles of others, and a guarded heart with the authority and victory of Christ to protect from unnecessary shrapnel coming at you.
“While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”
But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”
Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”
The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.”
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8