I have discovered in the past week that even though I have been a believer for over 40 years, I have been dealing with issues that I thought I had buried years ago.
When something from your past comes up and interjects itself in the middle of your life it can be “unsettling”. That would be the word I would use to define what I have been through. This week has been “unsettling” for sure. I know I am not the only person that struggles with issues of their past. I think we all struggle with our past. I think we all carry the excess baggage and burdens of our past in our life. I think we all struggle with issues that we have had to deal with and though we try our hardest to bury them they always seem to find their way back into our life.
One example for me is losing control of my temper. I grew up an angry person with a very short fuse. I never really got a handle on this and at 33, it cost me my marriage and ultimately my ministry.
However, for the past 20 years, God has allowed me to get this under control. I really worked hard on it and really I did not struggle with it like I had in my younger days. Unfortunately, like the Apostle Paul, I have found myself over the past few days struggling with the “Old Man” I used to be. I lost my temper about a problem at work. While I didn’t do anything drastic… I did indeed compromise my testimony at work. Years of trying to show Christ in my life… blown away by my reaction to a problem. In truth… it shocked me because I had not reacted that way in years. I don’t know where it came from other than to say it is buried deep inside me and it raised its ugly head. I am ashamed. I have to say I didn’t sleep very well and when I did, I kept having the same dream all night long about how disappointed God was in my reaction.
Life has a way of leading us back again and again to our weakness until the pieces are picked up and the lessons are learned.
Are you in a place right now where you can relate? Have you asked God over and over again to help you from the guilt, the pain, the rejection from something from your past?
Over the years when I would talk to people who were having problems in their life, I would always give advice to them. I would tell these people who were struggling in this life to just hold on to God. Just keep hanging on and trust His grace and the salvation He provided for all of us.
I even wrote about “Holding on to Your Faith… Even When God Doesn’t Make Sense” (Click here to read). While I believe that this is still good advice I think that in many situations this advice doesn’t quite give the comfort and peace that we all need in this life sometimes.
Our struggle with “excess baggage” is rooted in our own disappointments, setbacks and heart breaks. Our deep fear, hurt, suspicions and doubts are rooted in the stories of our own past. You can’t neglect those things. That’s where you lost heart. You have to go back and invite Christ to walk with you through those times, periods and places where you lost heart, so that you might experience the restoration we’ve been talking about. In other words, what I’m suggesting is that we take Jesus up on His offer. He says that what He wants to do is heal the broken hearted. That’s all of us! We are all, in some ways, broken in our hearts and we need to experience that restoration so that we might hope, believe and be released from resignation, depression and cynicism that are rooted in our hearts. Those latter things are rooted in our hearts because of the stories of our lives. The offer is to invite Christ to walk with us there towards healing and restoration.
Again… life has a way of leading us back again and again until the pieces are picked up and the lessons are learned. We need to go back! We need to go into our places of disappointments, setbacks, our heart breaks, our woundedness. Why? Because Jesus wants to take away the pain from those experiences. We can’t do this on our own. We need someone to lead us into battle and that person is Jesus Christ! Just when you think it’s hopeless God will show up and change the tide of the battle.
Whatever the burden, and we all have them, Jesus came and offered to take them…no questions asked. It’s a real invitation that He offers to everyone.
What more could God do? What more could He offer than to take our burdens, our excess baggage and carry them for us? The only requirement? You just have to give them to Him.