I've started this Bible study with some friends. I'm not sure how much I enjoy this study, because it is challenging me, and I prefer to remain complacent and lazy.
The study is asking me to ask God to reveal areas of "unforgiveness"---meaning, areas that I am holding on to anger or ways that I am not letting go of past hurts. It states, accurately, that when you stay angry, you are denying yourself and others the fullness of joy that God wishes for you. In other words, unforgiveness binds you, as keenly as rope. I think of Marley's ghost in A Christmas Carol---the inability to forgive weighs on a person, like the heavy chains Marley carried throughout eternity.
I have been lucky in life, and I do not have the serious hurts that others do. I was never abused, and my childhood was mostly joyful. However, I know that I can hold a grudge. So, here are a few of the things I'm going to release (and I'm really going to work on not grabbing them back):
1. When I was six years old, Bea Hendricks told me to get out of the church kitchen because I was in the way. She made me cry, and I thought she was such a mean old lady. I really gotta let it go.
2. Gretchen Preuss told me, when I was eight, that my belly looked ugly and that I needed to stop eating so much junk food. I cannot blame her for my body issues anymore.
3. In fifth grade, Erika Martin up and decided that she would not be my friend anymore. Just like that. She stopped talking to me, turned her chair away when I attempted to sit with her at her lunch table, and told Christine that I had bad breath. Then, one day, she decided that we should be friends again. I still don't know why. I need to not use her as an excuse to push female friendships away. I also need to forgive myself for being needy enough to accept her friendship without question.
4. I need to forgive every single person who I encountered or who encountered me when I was in middle school.
5. In high school, my best friend at the time fell in love. She spent less time with me. At the time, I felt alone. I now realize that she was looking for something or someone to hold on to after her mother died. I was too short-sighted to see it. It still stings. Again, I cannot allow this action to shape the way I view female friendship.
6. In college, I need to forgive myself for being needy. I don't want to write about the details. Maybe someday, when I'm feeling braver.
7. I forgive any student that ever looked at me cross-eyed. I'm a better teacher for it, even though it led to brief homicidal thoughts at the time.
8. As a parent, I must forgive myself for never doing enough, being enough, loving enough, trying hard enough. I need to stop trying, and start leaning on God.
Wow....this post has been a therapy session. Don't worry---I'll write about spit up, poo, or some other bodily function tomorrow.
However, if you've read this, you are my witnesses: I am going to release this unforgiveness from my heart, and throw off all that does not serve me, and all that does not serve my God.