When I was in 3rd grade, I was so self-conscious. I don't know what it was. Maybe it just the weird stage between girl and woman. Maybe it was because my frizzy hair was too big to go unnoticed. Maybe it was because my reading skills were lackluster.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason.
But, what I do know is that I sat at a very vulnerable place of life - a place where the prick of another's words had the power to wound deeply.
Today, I can't remember the majority of the words that hit those dark places but, I do remember the feelings and my actions.
I remember that I felt less than,
not as good as everyone else,
hurt by degrading words,
left out because I wasn't as smart,
scared to go to school,
made fun of,
punished and angry.
I remember those things.
I remember sitting on the side of sidewalk alone while others jumped rope. I remember wandering around my yard wondering if God saw me. I remember faking sick to get attention. I remember others laughing at my big nose. I remember lying to gain approval of my classmates. I remember the fear of another school day.
Those things I remember.
The thing about the past is - it lasts.
Somehow as a child, we are under the delusion that when we grow up, we grow out of these feelings. But, what happens is these things grow up with us - and then they grow inside of us. They grow bigger and bigger in our mind as we replay events, words and circumstances that hurt us.
Often, the things spoken - to us - have a way of becoming attached - to us. They define what we think about ourselves.
They grow like living giants in our mind.
They power over truth to tell us that we are too small to conquer them,
too weak to win
and too powerless to do anything about whom they claim us to be.
So, we allow our minds to marinate on words and situations of decades past - how they made us feel. How they pierced us. How they damaged us. How we are beyond repair.
We have all been damaged, haven't we? We have all lost a sense of ourselves due to the words of another.
Often we shove our pain into the closet of our mind. There, it sits and, like mold, it grows in the dark. It may be unseen but make no mistake, it is still there. Left unchecked, it wreaks havoc in our lives. It expands way beyond our closet doors.
It shows up in the little aspects of our lives - our responses, our fears and our inadequacies.
I am not sure what pain you carry today - it could be words of a parent, it could be a time of abuse, it could be the actions of a spouse, fighting parents, mean kids or sins past.
Whatever it is, promise yourself to take the risk to acknowledge
the power these events hold over you right now.
Because words and actions from decades past
have a way of taking residence in our hearts.
They move in - and move God out.
Unknowingly, we offer these well-acquainted houseguests space to rule our life.
We become familiar with their same old stories of fear, doubt, shame and regret. So much so that we let them impact our relationships with God and others. Fear and negative feelings push others away.
Our unwelcome guests, our living giants, won't back down unless we step up.
The choice is ours - we can live in denial, and pretend they don't exist, or we can live in truth and resist.
Because giants don't have to walk around with a ball and a chain to chain us down. They hold power.
Trapping power. Life squeezing power. Demotivating power. Power to depress us.
But, there is good news. Just because we have lived with these giants for so long, doesn't mean that we have to keep them around.
Why? Because, we have one who sees us just as we are.
He sees the hurting girl on the sidewalk,
he sees the fake cries for attention,
and he sees the tears shed from the words of another.
However, when this One looks at us, he doesn't chide us.
He doesn't laugh at our pain.
He simply loves us.
His heart beats for ours.
He desires to grab hold of our empty hand to lead us right up to the foot of the cross - where healing is always found.
Here, we can see ourselves for who we are. Here, we can see ourselves as greater than our past.
We can see beyond the pains that have held us.
Here, we are overcomers of our circumstances -
because one stands above any circumstance, higher than any situation and more powerful than any word.
Here, we can let him into the deepest recesses of our heart
and let him push out the unwelcome guests that have overstayed their welcome.
Jesus looks at us and sees our inadequacies - yet, he embraces them.
He sees our failings - and he holds them.
He witnesses our shortcomings - and he forgives them.
He is greater. He is stronger. And, he is bigger.
He looks at us and smiles.
Because, he is our Abba Daddy. Our ultimate daddy.
He looks at us, pleased, and he says:
I love you. (John 3:16)
I accept you. (John 6:37)
I care for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
I have not forgotten you. (Psalm 139:7-10)
I see you. (Psalm 33:13)
I know you. (John 10:3)
I will provide for you. (Matthew 6:31-32)
I will not abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
I will not abuse you. (John 3:16)
I will not forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)
I will take residence in your heart, as you trust me. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
I will transform you. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I will get you past your past. (Colossians 3:9-10)
I will heal your pains. (Psalm 147:3)
I will love your soul. (Psalm 86:15)
I will hold your hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
I will restore you. (2 Peter 1:4)
I will redeem you. (1 Peter 2:24)
Your daddy stands, arms open, longing, eager to embrace you. He expectantly waits, hoping you run to him with all that you are, so you can receive all of who He is.
Unveiling your past pains before the great healer, allows your past pain to become healed pain. The Spirit of the sovereign Lord more and more takes residence in your heart and he pushes out all looming creepy giants.
There simply is no room for both.
God is the master giant slayer. He never changes. He helps the weak and makes us strong - in Him. We can tackle these giants by the strength of our Lord. And by his strength, we become free.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor. 3:17)
Freedom from chains. Freedom from fears. Freedom from abuse. Freedom from shame. Freedom from regret. Freedom from the past.
Christ can overcome it all. The question is - will we let him? Or will we let the dark stay the dark and pretend it's not there?