Forgiveness. Every time I hear that word I am instantly reminded of the movie “Just Friends”. I have literally burst into laughter during a serious testimony simply because the speaker said, “Forgiveness” and I finished with “it’s more than saying sorry” in an obnoxious singing voice (all in my head of course).
But on a serious note, there are areas of my life when that word is actually a word that makes me laugh…scoff, even. There are places in my life where forgiveness seems like a tiny seed buried beneath mounds and mounds of hot, steamy, shit. There is no way I am going to root around in that filth to find something that seems relatively worthless. What do I need a seed for anyway? Who needs forgiveness when I can just avoid those I don’t forgive?
But what I didn’t realize was that every time I think about the unforgiveable people in my life and become angry I throw some more shit on the pile. Every time I feel resentment towards the unforgiveable…more crap. And when I spend my energy picking out every flaw and blemish of the unforgiveable’s behavior and character, I am generously adding a dump truck of muck to my unforgiveness pile.
Oh did I mention this pile of crap is not even near the unforgiveable person? Nope, she has no idea, she can’t smell a whiff unless we run into each other unexpectedly and she simply smells it in my hair and clothes and attitude. This pile of muck is in my own driveway.
It wasn’t too bad at first: a small pile I could maneuver around. I didn’t think I needed to go searching for that seed, because honestly, this pile was pretty much nothing. It’s presence in my life was almost non existent. I could jump over it, run around it, and it wasn’t too stinky until you got close up. But it’s been years since I have even considered looking for that seed of forgiveness. I have spent years adding crap to the pile and let me tell you, I am now trapped in my house. I can’t go outside because the smell is so bad! I can’t maneuver around that pile anymore because it is taller than my house and wider than my driveway. I am in a prison and my only view is crap. YUCK!!! And the only way to clean up this mess is if I start digging. If I filter through all the crap I can find the forgiveness seed and after planting it, I can use the crap as fertilzer for my whole yard. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I heard it works, and honestly I have no other choice.
But as I look at the looming pile of dung, I am haunted by the events that produced the poo in the first place.
I looked up to her. She was so beautiful and good at whatever she did. I wanted to be just like her. And for some reason, she liked me. We would spend hours playing and laughing and being super silly.
Out of nowhere she got really popular. She still hung out with me and introduced me to her new friends, but I could tell she was a little embarrassed by me. When we were alone she would be her old self, laughing and being silly. But when we were around them, she was someone else and made fun of the goofiness we had enjoyed together.
They were all very beautiful and thin. They also had beautifully expensive clothes and wore high heels. I was not fat, but I was definitely not thin. I preferred to wear my beat up Chuck Taylor’s and I just couldn’t see myself wearing those clothes. I wished I could, I dreamed of it, but I couldn’t, it wasn’t me. I would have only worn those clothes around them.
She became more popular and was recognized for her talents. And as her popularity increased her embarrassment of me seemed to as well. But She didn’t give up on me. She explained to me that my weight was holding me back. I was the “chubby” one and I should consider using Hydroxycut. She even handed me one from her bag at that very moment. I was crushed and I considered it, but I couldn’t take it. I had dreams of being a mom someday, not a model, and I had no idea what this pill could do to my body. I didn’t want to risk messing up my chances, plus that stuff was expensive. But would she ditch me as a friend? For years I felt like I was losing her friendship and suddenly this seemed like the end. But it wasn’t.
We maintained our friendship for several more years: me getting more and more jealous of her beauty and perfect figure, and her becoming more and more embarrassed by my fluctuations in weight due to un-diagnosed PCOS, emotional overeating, and obsessive dieting. If I reached my goal weight I could never maintain it. I didn’t understand how these girls could drink all weekend and still be that thin. Even when I wasn’t drinking because of the empty calories, I was still a size 8 and they were still sizes 2, 0, and 00. It didn’t make sense, and I was exhausted from trying. I was tired of failing. I was ready to see who I really was without the dieting.
And that’s when it happened. I was finally kicked to the curb. The reason? “I didn’t fit the body type.” Ouch. Once again, I was crushed. The very thing I feared most actually happened: my weight did keep me from friendships and acceptance. And I was sick of people saying, “Do you even want her as a friend? She doesn’t seem like a good one.” But the answer was, “yes, I did.” We had so many fun times, and even in the midst of all that weight gunk, we had fun together. When it was just me and her we were back to normal, back to the old us, the goofy us, the my-abs-hurt-from-laughing-so-hard us. There were times she was an awesome friend and was there for me. That had to be in there somewhere. But I knew we could never go back to that; not after this. I would never feel comfortable in her presence again – I would be too concerned with how I looked and my fat rolls to feel comfortable. So, I did what I do best: avoid.
I avoided all contact with her and I avoided all thoughts of inadequacy, rejection, abandonment, and loss of friendship. However, I jumped back into the deep end of weight loss and dieting, hoping that I could reverse the pain I felt by “fixing the problem.” At the time, the problem was clearly my weight. So, I worked my ass of (literally) trying to fix the problem. Maybe, she would change her mind if I changed my body. She didn’t. And I couldn’t keep the weight off.
I spent years skirting around a giant pile of poo with avoidance tactics, and when I did accidentally think about something, I would fill with rage and resentment and add more to the pile. Meanwhile, I was spending all my emotional energy building bridges over the crap or around the crap instead of facing it and working through it. The bridges worked for a while, until I thought about what I was avoiding and then added more crap to the pile and covered the bridge I was on. And did she even know this was happening? Nope. Not at all. Judging by her facebook she was happy, skinny, and surrounded by happy, skinny friends. My crap was only hurting me. So, why couldn’t I just work through it?
What if I work through all that muck and don’t find forgiveness? What if I only come to find that I am fat, and that people will leave me? What if I end up hating myself? What if I get stuck in it? What if I smell like crap for the rest of my life? What if I end up hating her? What if she never knows how much she hurt me? What if she goes on thinking her behavior is ok? I WANT JUSTICE!!!
If CR (Celebrate Recovery) taught me one thing, it is to fight fear with Truth. Before I even start digging through my crap, I need to tap into my source of strength, Jesus Christ. I must ask God to transform my mind with the renewal of my thoughts:
What if I work through all that muck and don’t find forgiveness?
What if I only come to find that I am fat, and that people will leave me because of it?
What if I end up hating myself?
What if I get stuck in it?
What if I smell like crap for the rest of my life?
What if I end up hating her?
What if she never knows how much she hurt me?
What if she goes on thinking her behavior is ok? I WANT JUSTICE!!!
The pile of crap I now face, isn’t as much about her as it is about my relationship and trust in Jesus Christ. I don’t know her side. I don’t know her fears. I don’t know her hurts. All I know is that I was hurt, and because I continue to hold on to that hurt, I remain in a place of hurt. I live out of a place of hurt. I view the world from a place of hurt. Essentially, I am hurting myself and blaming it on her. She is responsible for the words she said and the thoughts she thinks (although, her thoughts are none of my business), and I am responsible for how I react to them. I am responsible for living in a place of anger, resentment, and fear for all those years.
She is responsible for this:
I am responsible for all this:
But there is a silver lining to this situation, and you want to know what it is? I don’t have to clean it up alone. She may never clean her part up, and that’s ok. I don’t need her to clean her part up, because Jesus is going to help me clean it all. All of it! But I have to ask Him. I have to confess it. I have to name it. I have to feel it. I have to be willing to get dirty and know that He will keep me clean. And then we can plant the forgiveness seeds and fertilize them!
Alright Jesus, cover me, I’m going in!