Ted Mosby once said, “Everyone's got some baggage; it's part of life. But like anything else, it's easier when someone gives you a hand with it.”
In life, everyone over five years old has some sort of baggage: everyone has been through something and everyone has been hurt and has hurt someone at one point.
We can’t deny it that as we go through our everyday lives, we are bound to encounter people whose views don’t reflect our own and though they may not intentionally want to hurt us – they end up doing so.
It’s a fact of life that even Disney movies have villains.
Michelle McKinney Hammond’s Get Over & On With It was a book I read in college and I remember distinctly that a mentor of mine told me, “What is it in your life that you need to get over?”
Six years later, I finally get her point. The things I needed to “get over” six years ago are quite different from the things that I experience now. There are days when I wish I enjoyed my youth instead constantly focusing on the sad parts but then again, that was teen angst at its finest.
Whatever your baggage maybe and whatever you have to get over, I do understand that pain is not easy to forget.
It’s funny how life works that we easily forget the good times but cling to the things in the past that have hurt us tremendously. We rehash moments where we were hurt and betrayed and suddenly what was supposedly only supposed to last for a season has turned into a lifetime.
In the book, which is insanely good and definitely a must read if you have been hurt or have recently ended a chapter of your life, Mckinney-Hammond shares with us the joy of moving forward (yes, joy can be found in it!) and when I finally closed the book after reading it for the third time, I felt the need to share the points that hit home.
1) Accept Reality.
Most of the time when people hurt us or when things fall apart, we don’t accept things for what it is. We rationalize what has been done to us and we constantly analyze what we did wrong without realizing that we’ve been stuck in one place for so long simply because we have failed to accept the reality of the situation. This has happened to me countless times, I refused to take off my rose colored glasses (maybe the only downside of being optimistic) and see the picture for what it is. I believe in optimism, but I also believe in surrendering. By accepting and seeing the picture for what it is, we can hand it over to God and say, “I’ve been hurt & betrayed. I may have also done something that has caused another pain, I tried my best to remedy the situation but this is where I am now and I just surrender everything to you.”
It has been said that when we have done all we can, we simply stand and wait for His mighty hand to move. But the only way we can do that is by accepting our current situation for what it is. The faster we accept what is, the faster we can move into the bright things God has for us.
While it is easy to place blame on another for our current situation, we must also take the time to take a step back and see what we’ve done wrong. Accepting the reality that we may have also done something wrong doesn’t diminish what another has done towards us but it makes the pain worth it. It has been pinned, tweeted and tumblr-d countless times “make your pain worth it!” and you can do this by becoming better because of it and not bitter.
The truth may sting (of course, we are all prideful and refuse to admit that we were wrong) but it is beneficial. A broken relationship can be of great worth if we use it to better ourselves for the next season of our lives. By reevaluating our lives and our relationship with others, we can leave room for improvement.
As we reevaluate the steps we’ve taken that has led us to where we are, we can for Jesus to reveal the areas we need to improve on and as we do, we see a better version of ourselves that wasn’t ultimately possible if we didn’t go through the things we did.
3) Don’t let the season define you.
It’s so easy to get lost in a season, especially in sad ones. Often when we are faced with heartbreak we think this is it, this is the end of a happy life. We often confuse our season with a lifetime. While I understand that life has different seasons and each season has a purpose, I also believe that no matter what the season, we can still be joyful.
While happiness is dependent on our circumstances, joy is dependent on the beauty of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. While we refocus on Jesus and the bigger picture, we understand that we may be hurting right now and we may not know where to go tomorrow if any of our prayers will ever be answered, we can rest in knowing that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and if He doesn’t change ever then it means that His promises will forever remain as well. Which is the best kind of security around, isn’t it?
I understand the toughness of a sad season, I have been there, but don’t let that make you believe that there are no more happy days ahead. You have the choice to pick yourself up and pray (and even wrestle) for greater days! Your best days are ahead of you.
This season maybe tough but you can be tougher and God can use this time to make you even better equipped for the great days that He has ahead for you.
So toughen it out and wake up each morning expectant of the season where your sun will shine again—ever so brightly.
Dealing with heartache is exhausting so the best way to combat it is simple: rest! By resting, you can gather up energy again and you can reevaluate your life. You can replenish what has been lost by your crying and fighting and as you physically rest, you can spiritually stock up as well!
Matthew 11:28 is one of my most favorite verses in the Bible where Jesus promises that if any of us who are “burdened and heavy ladened” will find rest in Him. Resting in Jesus means trusting Him and His nature. It is very important to know who Jesus is, we can only trust someone we know, as we trust Him, we can eventually let it all go and rest in His name. In resting in Him, we find ourselves feeling lighter because we know that finally, someone is taking the burden for us and He is fighting on our behalf!
Such a refreshing promise!
5) Release the future.
You can look at the future in two ways: scary or exciting.
I have always been the type of person who saw the glass as half-full which maybe the reason why it has always been easy for me to think that my future is brighter than my today.
However, when we are hurt or dealing with a loss, we often see our future days as bleak and dark and it makes us lose hope.
Truth is, we don’t really know what the future doors, but God said that if we wait patiently for him (Psalm 27:13-14), we will see His goodness in the land of the living.
This is the reason why we can be assured that our future is very bright and we can be assured of the fact that whatever it is that we are going through, we will emerge victorious because Jesus won the victory for us. Instead of constantly wondering what the future holds, let us simply pray and declare that it will be good because we serve a good God! Turn your anxiousness (Philippians 4:6-7) into hope by looking towards the One who has made hope possible.
Pray for your situation. Pray for your heart. Pray that God will strengthen it and pray that God will deposit a different kind of joy each day. Soon enough you will see yourself celebrating each day (all you have to do is take it one day at a time) and you will see the beauty and fulfillment of all He has promised.
6) Step out of your comfort zone.
We all have a plan for our lives. We have blueprint of the perfect career, the man (or woman) we would marry, where we would live and so on. God has blessed us all with amazing & creative minds that can daydream in a second and while that is a good thing, we must understand that we are not the storyteller of our lives.
We cannot dictate to our Creator on how life is going to go or how it will turn out. We can pray to Him but we cannot be upset when things don’t go our way. I have been there and I have done that so many times, but the only way I truly enjoyed my life was when I let go of the stories I made up with my head and trusted Him with the outcome.
It’s not pretty. Just when we think we’ve got life figured out, something happens and bam! we’re left wondering if we would ever live the life of our dreams.
The good news is: the dreams God breathed in your heart will come true one day and in His time, but we have to understand that the journey God has for us maybe different from what we have envisioned but that shouldn’t be a cause of panic. When life turns out extremely different from what we have expected it to be, we must not give up, but instead cling harder to the Vine. Ask Him to renew your hope and ask Him to open your heart to the many possibilities He has prepared for us.
Be open! Life may not be turning out the way you have written but God does not disappoint. Just think of how your parents are with you (or any mentor you look up to or love with all your heart), there were times when they said “no” to something you wanted so badly simply because they saw the bigger picture and knew that you were meant for more.
Our God’s love for us is perfect and He will never lead us to a road that we will not enjoy. Once we put our hands up and say, “God, take the wheel!” that is when we open our lives to many beautiful possibilities God has for us and I assure you it is far greater than anything we have asked, hoped, prayed for and imagined (Ephesians 3:23)!
Bank on that!
In reality, the pain of our lives is often linked to someone.
Often, there is big, bad culprit lurking behind the reason why we feel so bad. And while it is so easy to inflict the same kind of pain towards the one who has caused us tremendous grief, what would be the point? We would be perpetuating a cycle instead of ending it.
At the end of the day, we can choose to constantly rehash the pain caused by another while that person moves on or we can simply give it to Jesus (you can cry, oh yes you can cry!) and simply believe that He can use your pain, turn it around and use it for your advantage.
The longer we hold on to pain, the longer we stay in a dark pit. Get yourself out of that hole and believe that God will take care of His children. Pray for God to heal you so you won’t even thinking of getting that person back.
There is a different kind of satisfaction in knowing that while you may have had the opportunity to fight back, you didn’t. God will give you joy and happiness double what you’ve lost.
They have already taken your joy once, don’t give them the power of taking it away from you every single day.
It’s time to start living for you.
You are you no matter what has been done to you.
8) Trust the Process.
The process maybe tedious and you might feel like you have been there forever, but believe that God has you where He has you right now and when you are ready, He will take your promised land, in due time.
Your circumstances may stretch you to the point of you screaming, “I don’t want to be here anymore!” but believe that every tear, everytime you do something kind instead of acting you how you really feel, God is rewarding you and moving you slowly to where He promised He will take you.
Everytime you feel like giving up, remember Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good”. Every step, no matter how small, is getting you there – just keep walking and you will find the journey quite enjoyable.
Yes, everyone’s got baggage, but you don’t have to be the person who is carry thousands of them at the end of the road. Be the person who discards what isn’t needed and only takes the valuables.
Let go of the baggage and the journey will definitely be lighter.
“If you really believe that God loves you and wants the best for you, you must believe that everything is working toward the greater good in your situation. Because it all does, pure & simple.” – Michelle McKinney Hammond