We’ve recently had a falling out with a family member that has created quite a few sleepless nights for me. The crux of the difficulty has been that 1) we have had no communication from this family member, even to tell us what the problem is, and 2) we have never been asked for our side of the story. The second part is particularly hard for me because the source of the information being fed to the family member is a known offender (even to that family member!) of relaying neither full nor accurate information. What’s killing me is my strong desire to defend our reputation and at least be heard and understood. At the end of the day we can disagree, but I need to know that it’s with a complete understanding of the facts.
But none of that is going to happen.
So I’ve laid awake at night having those conversations in my head. And writing blog posts about the injustice we’re experiencing. And crafting emails to fire off in our defense.
Finally, sleepless and stressed out, I tried to figure out how to let it all go. I looked at my husband who has handled this whole ordeal with grace and forgiveness, but I still didn’t know how to let go. I prayed. I meditated on some Scripture. I pictured myself going up to the cross and laying down my burdens.
But after each time, I still feel the weight of them.
In quiet desperation, I cried out to God. How do I let this go? I want to, but just can’t seem to get rid of it! And what God revealed to me was this image: When I pictured myself going up to the cross, what I didn’t let myself see was that I sat down at the foot of it with my burden. I talked with Jesus about it. I shared with him what was inside. I told him I wanted to give it to him. And then I stood up, picked up my burden, and walked away. I never actually left it there.
Now, I don’t know if you’re a visual person like me, but the image was powerful for me. I immediate replayed the scene in my mind again, only this time I went through it slowly and deliberately. In my mind, I walked up a beautiful green hill to a simple wooden cross. I sat down at the foot in the soft grass, and set a backpack down next to me. I stared up at the cross for a few moments in wonderment. I inhaled deeply. Took one last look at my backpack. Got up and walked away. And I mentally pictured that backpack left behind at the foot of the cross.
When I opened my eyes, a peace settled over me like I haven’t felt in a month. Finally, I left my burden at the cross. I no longer felt responsible for defending my reputation; God took care of my future long ago. Pleasing the family member in this situation was not my primary concern; honoring my Father was.
It was a simple act: a little visualization. But it represented a major change for me. Now I know when I take something to the cross, I have to leave it there.
How about you? What do you need to take to the cross? What makes you hold onto those burdens rather than leaving them there?