Last night I enjoyed my first night back with an incredible group of ladies. I had the honor of sharing with them a portion of the lessons I learned during my concussion recovery. The particular lesson I shared was really more than just one lesson, but a series of lessons from God to my heart.
As I have previously shared, the initial recovery time included a million thoughts running non-stop through my head. So the first I heard from the Lord was to “Stop toiling and striving and just rest”. When I released all thoughts and all perceived control, I was open to hear from the Lord in a meaningful way. That time of hearing from the Lord through His word, through prayer, and through Spirit began to reveal things about myself and the condition of my heart.
The time before the concussion I heard from the Lord, but never took time to hear what He was saying to me about me. From His word, prayer and Spirit I realized I had some dark and crusty areas of my heart. I realize now that I have spent a lot of energy justifying why I was right to have that little closed off area. When we start acknowledging the dark, crusty part of our heart and we truly open ourselves up to hear from the Lord, it seems He shows up to teach us the lesson we need in almost everything we see and experience.
Once I opened up my heart for Jesus’ illuminating light, the journey began to a healed heart. The first lesson on that journey came through Spirit. It was revealed that the dark, crusty area of my heart was due to unforgiveness. I have had people in my life tell me that I was one of the most forgiving people they ever met. I responded to the Lord with this little tidbit at first. Of course, He was neither impressed nor deterred from correcting me. I take comfort in this because scripture tells us that the Lord disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6-11). What the Lord revealed to me is that while I am very forgiving, there are a handful of people that I just have not let off the hook. I tell myself that I forgive them for hurting or offending me, but… Guess what? If you follow your forgiveness statement with “but”, then you haven’t truly released the offense. I forgive, but I’m not going to allow that person any access to my life. I forgive, but I will not forget the way they made me feel. Don’t get me wrong. I acknowledge that there are some toxic relationships that must end if we are to move forward. However, if you have truly forgiven and moved on, there will be signs of forgiveness…or there will be signs of unforgiveness.
This leads me to the second lesson on this journey, which comes from the book, Idol Lies by Dee Brestin. In this book, Dee talks about heart or soul idols. She outlines common heart idols such as control/power, affirmation/approval, and comfort/security. She also outlines some signs or red flags that you see when you have a heart idol. One of those signs included negative body language. When I read this, I realized that when certain people are around my posture changes. Ouch! What is wrong with me?!?! Clearly, I have a heart idol lurking in that dark, crusty part of my heart that I didn’t want to acknowledge.
As I let the Lord continue to work in my heart, the next lesson arose from a most unlikely place. On my way back from a week-long business trip to San Diego, I decided to spend the 5-hour flight home relaxing and watching a movie. I randomly chose a movie on Netflix called, Peace, Love & Misunderstanding. There were some profound moments and quotes in this movie that related directly to my journey. Light bulbs and bells went off and some things were really driven home for me. It just goes to show that when you’re open to hear from the Lord, He will use many ways to speak to you. Sometimes they’re completely unexpected.
Here are just a few thoughts from Peace, Love & Misunderstanding that spoke to me:
Exclusion is an unnecessary violence.
Thoughts: Excluding others intentionally because they look different, act differently or have different perspectives is harmful and it’s unnecessary. Excluding ourselves from involvement with others is a hurtful act against self. No one wins when exclusion is at play. Let’s choose not to exclude others or ourselves. Let’s choose love and peace instead of this act of violence.
Using our sorrow as a crutch and identifying ourselves by our hurt is an act of self-harm.
Thoughts: Many of us use our hurts, our grief, our loss, or our trauma as a cloak we wear. We wear it and carry it everywhere we go using it as our identity. I’m a widow. I’m a divorcee. I’m a victim. I’m afflicted. We were never meant to be identified by our suffering. We are designed to learn from it, release it to the Lord, and move forward. Our identity should be in Jesus Christ. Let’s choose to let go instead of hold onto an identity that wasn’t meant for us.
Your judgment of another’s lifestyle or life choices is not their problem. It’s your problem. Adversely, someone judging your lifestyle or life choices is not your problem. It’s their problem.
Thoughts: Spending time forming and sharing opinions regarding another person’s life is counterproductive. And if we’re doing this, we have a heart problem that we need to address with the Lord. On the other hand, there will be people that pass judgment on the way you live your life and the choices you make. That’s really none of your business and is not your problem. That’s between them and the Lord. The approval of others is not necessary to live a happy and fulfilling life. Choose to focus on the one true judge and not what others may think of us.
If your balloon is ever going to soar, you have to drop the sandbags.
Thoughts: As we go through life, we face suffering and sorrow. Those things become baggage that weighs us down. The weight is like a sand bag tied to a balloon. To allow the balloon to soar, you must cut the sand bag loose. If you drop the sand bag, the balloon will soar. However, if the balloon stays tied to the sand bag for too long, it will never soar. Likewise, for us to rise to our full potential in the Lord, we have to drop our baggage. We were meant to soar. We were meant to rise above our pain, suffering, grief, loss, and trauma. Holding on to those things will prevent us from ever becoming who we are meant to be in Christ.
This last one was a big epiphany for me. It was a total light bulb moment in which I realized that I have allowed the sand bag of my life to get too heavy and hold me down for too long. It’s time to drop the sand bag. So what’s in the sand bag? Unforgiveness, a need for approval, and a need to control is in my sand bag. What about your sand bag? What’s in it? Is it loss, grief, trauma, offense? Whatever it is, I challenge you to ask the Lord to reveal it to you. Once it’s revealed choose to drop the sand bag and soar. We were meant to soar!
The Lord has revealed so much to me about me and the condition of my heart through this recovery time. Before the accident, I would have probably never slowed down enough to hear so clearly from the Lord. Opening my heart for the illuminating light of Jesus has changed me. The parts of my heart that are dark and crusty did not become that way overnight and they will not be healed and made whole overnight, but God has begun a work in me allowing me to see myself clearly by the light of His word. What Jesus has also revealed through this journey is that these lessons were not just for me, but for me to share. I feel led to be transparent and honest about my struggles so that we may walk through this journey together. The Lord’s intent is to bring His people together in peace and in love through our struggles. Recognizing each other’s struggles for what they are should make us a bit more compassionate and empathetic. This will make the world a kinder, gentler place for us all.
©2017 Amanda Bordner