Recently I realized that there was something missing in my life.
Some walls that I had built, some anger I had harbored for years was gone. Just gone. Crumbled. Vanished. ……..gone.
Had I been working on removing it? Not really. I had prayed a couple of times about it, but I wasn’t thinking about it a lot or praying about it recently.
I just came to the realization this past Sunday that the raging fire of anger was just…gone. I couldn’t even dig up the embers. And believe me I tried. When I first realized the anger was gone it was almost like a friend had moved away. My first thought was how to get the anger back (which makes NO SENSE, I know) It had been something I quite literally cherished. A fire that warmed me. If I stopped being angry, was I admitting that the person had actually done the right thing all along?
Letting go of the anger is not the same thing as agreeing with the event or the actions of the person that I was angry with. Letting go of the anger was just that. Letting go. Nothing more.
What happened? How did it go away without me even noticing?
Frankly, I don’t know.
Perhaps it had something to do with listening endlessly to the same sermon (one of Beth Moore’s Sunday school classes called called “Thieves of Joy” ) over and over for the past few months.
Or perhaps it had something to do with the Bible verses I have been concentrating on for all of last year. There are many, but the very first one that has been with me since January of 2009 is
II Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land”
Called by my name – I am a Christian. I have been begging God to help me be a better representative of His Holy Name. This is what Witness means by the way. To represent, to bear witness, to testify. In our case, those who are called Christians are meant to bear witness by our actions and lives to those around us.
Pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways – I have been seeking. Filling my mind with His words (memorizing scriptures), filling my ears with music that glorifies Him (making a deliberate choice to keep my CDs to only praise music this year). And keeping my mouth shut. One of the most sinful areas of my life is my mouth. I speak sarcastically and hurtfully in the name of humor far too often. Partially due to illness and partially as a personal choice I have been trying to keep my mouth shut recently. In effect – turning from my besetting sin.
Heal their land – I believe this is what happened. Not literal land, but my spiritual land. My land, the place my heart and mind was dwelling in was filled with fires of hatred and anger. God has honored my seeking by healing this area of my life. This scorching anger that has been consuming me for so long, the wound that would not go away, in part because I could not let go…..God loosened my grip and helped me let it go.
Which brings me to an example that my pastor Richard hunter used in church this Sunday –
Ever noticed that when you hold your fist closed tightly around something for too long it actually hurts to move your fingers in the physical act of opening your hand? Try it. Just make a fist. Make it really tight. Put a lot of effort into it. Hold it for 60 seconds.
Then uncurl your fingers. Relax your hand. It hurts doesn’t it? The word “relax” just doesn’t even seem to apply.
It actually takes effort to perform the physical act of opening the hand.
I think too often we generalize “letting go” as an effortless act of freedom. And the result absolutely is freedom, but the act of releasing our grip on something, someone, or in my case – some emotion can actually be an effort. In my case it was too much for me. I cherished that anger. I wanted it. I was not about to let it go.
But God knew it needed to go. It was standing in the way of joy. And I hadn’t put any limits on God when I prayed from II Chronicles. I just asked for His healing. I didn’t say what needed healing. I wasn’t trying to be clever, I just had no idea what God needed to do in my life.
I’m posting this today, even though it is not Easter related, because this really did just happen this past Sunday. And I wanted to share the joy.
Fill your mind and heart with scripture, any scripture. Don’t put any limits on God, and see what amazing things come of it.