I have struggled with a lie which has held me captive for years. I have carried so many hurts for far too long. Emotional scares that I continually recited in my head like a never-ending record, “You’re not enough, and you’re not wanted.”
Last week, I sat on my kitchen counter, crying to my beloved husband, depressed that again, sincere, honest reconciliation wasn’t chosen by some people I long to restore a broken relationship with. During our chat, he helped me realize something which was totally profound to me.
Like Christian from John Bunyan’s, Pilgrim’s Progress, I have burdened myself with a heavy laundry bag, weighed down with painful memories that I have mentally taken out, time and again, sadly relived, neatly refolded and returned to my bag of burden, freshly frustrated again. The straps I’ve held so tightly too were, “This shouldn’t have happened!” and “It’s not my fault!” My bag was tied shut with the depressing strings of rejection called, “It’s not fair.”
I have tried to drop my heavy bag of burden. But in dropping the bag of hurts, I was angry and upset that I was releasing the people who have so wounded my heart, somehow stating what they did, was okay…and it’s not because the memory was still painful each time I pulled it out and revisited it.
I know Jesus died on the cross for my sins, my wrong choices. But for the first time, I realized, He chose to take all my emotional wounds that other people have inflicted on me, and die on the cross for those as well. I cried, overwhelmed with sorrow and pain and anguish, struggling to let go of my bag of burden. I thought about Isaiah 53:3-5.
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed…”
I know Jesus loves me, “for the Bible tells me so…” but I was overwhelmed with the realization that He was waiting for me to let go of “This shouldn’t have happened” and “It’s not my fault”. I needed to mentally open the knotted strings of “It’s not fair” and let all the stinky, ugly hurts spill out at the foot of the cross. Jesus died not only for my sinful choices, but also to free me from the burden of my heart hurts, emotional pain and mental suffering, which often were not caused by my own choices. Feeling name-less, unimportant, rejected and “not enough” most of my life, I chose to let go of the straps of depression and rejection, laying my heavy bag of burden down at his feet. I cried tears of freedom as my soul remembered, God knows my name, chooses me, loves me, and blesses me!
That night, I stumbled upon three powerful prayers written as poems that touched my heart, like a loving, gentle embrace. Over the years, I have furiously rehearsed and recited so many of these “nots” in my mind that have so bound and enslaved me in “knots”, until I finally, in surrender, untied each one before God, and let go.
The Knots Prayer
Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart, and my life.
Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind.
Erase the will nots, may nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.
And most of all, Dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all of the “am nots” that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought that I am not good enough.
Recently, when chatting with a friend about my recent surrender and freedom, she told me something she often thinks about when confronted with such mental choices…especially the “nots”. She pauses and ponders, “What truth am I exchanging for a lie?” I thought that quite profound as, in each lie, there is probably a bit of truth, but the smallest fallacy will corrupt the whole idea. I now can give pause to my thoughts when I feel that familiar “not” struggle, “What truth am I exchanging for a lie?” I need to hold onto the Truth, the Bible, that I know!
The peace and love I have felt in my soul this past week, is joyful, like opening a window to let in the fresh spring breeze which clears out the stagnate musty air of winter. My soul is refreshed, like drinking cool, clean water when I’m so parched I can’t stand it. There is no way I want to go back to my bag of burden. I do not miss holding onto it.
In March, my family joined our Yacht Club for a wonderful weekend on Hat Island. When walking around the Hat Island Clubhouse, my husband found this plaque in honor of someone from the Hat Island Yacht Club. I hope they don’t mind that I repeat and share the Commodore’s Prayer. I unfortunately don’t know who to give credit to for this beautiful prayer. For me, as I get older (and then much older), I think it gives wise guidance on how to move forward, without my bag of burden.
The Commodore’s Prayer
Lord, thou knows better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knows, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind from the recital of endless details, give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pain, but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint – some of them are so hard to live with – but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people. And give me, Lord, the grace to tell them so. AMEN.
Moving forward in this adventure called life, I have a purpose to which I am walking toward, now unburdened by the past. With heads held high, our family celebrated our one year anniversary living aboard our Cruise-a-home! We love our life on the water! Living with intention, we find purpose in each day as we prepare for our future adventure to circumnavigate. I have grown so much this past year. Truly, there is freedom and peace when surrendering to the arms of Jesus.
Blessings and Peace,