My Goal this Week: As a continuation from last week’s goal (please see goals in prior weeks for background), this week I am still focusing on letting go! Week of Jan. 28th was spent writing down my thoughts and feelings from past hurts & experiences that I am holding onto and last week (Feb 4th) I spent time reflecting on the situations that created those feelings and my part in the outcome. But when it came to actually letting them go (read last weeks goal for details), I struggled. So this week’s goal is to actually reach our BBQ, burn the pages of my past so I can release these feelings once and for all!!
My Experience this Week: After two weeks, I can finally share my experience with this week’s goal. Wow – it was quite the challenge! Not only emotionally but also in terms of finding the time in our busy life to really reflect. I had spent the time writing out the feelings I was holding onto from situations and events in the past that I really wanted to let go of and not have them weigh on my heart. The real underlying goal was to work through forgiving those people who I felt had “wronged” or hurt me somehow.
My list contained everything from feelings of betrayal, being let down and anger to blameful, sad, and unloved. On every page I started out with the person’s name and a brief reminder about the event or situation and then I just listed the feelings I was holding onto. All in all, I had 5 people that I felt I was being called to forgive or find “closure” with. As I reviewed the pages, I saw a theme arising in the situations or events and the feelings I had related to them. In all cases, I felt completely attacked and betrayed on some level by the other person’s actions, words, etc. And honestly, reliving those moments was very painful and not easy (thus the 2 week time frame). But what I also saw, which I am not proud of and is difficult to admit not only to myself but in this blog, is that my reaction to how I was being treated was to “fight back with a vengeance and defend myself”. In a few cases, I was not proud of how I reacted and things I said . So much for turning the other cheek right?
Then I started thinking “where does this immediate need to FIGHT” really come from. Partly, due to the fact that I was young and we all go through lessons in life on how to handle our feelings and cope with anger or hurt feelings. But this seemed more like something instilled in me. From a young age, I can remember being teased in school and in some instances, bullied (to use a new popular term). My dad being in the army and us moving every 2-3 years forced me to be the new kid in school and quite often in small towns; towns where kids knew each other from diapers. So being the odd kid out happened regularly. Plus I was smart so the word “nerdy” comes to mind. But I think my favorite nick name was “sticky Vicki”…LOL. But I didn’t feel like I had any power and so that need to stick up for myself just kept growing inside me and once I got old enough to voice my opinion and if I ever felt “attacked” – I would come out fighting. Makes sense right? Well it certainly does to me. And now, I can look at those events and situations with much more clarity. I might have experienced a different outcome for myself had I chosen to react differently to the actions or words of others. I can’t control what other people are going to do or say but I can control myself! So what I can do now is to learn from the past and realize that sometimes letting bygones literally be “bye-gones” will ultimately save ME! To think before I react and try to come from a place of LOVE rather than defending or fighting – then perhaps I can not only save myself from future negative feelings to hold onto but also teach our daughter about what it really means to “LOVE”.
So now that I had spent the time truly reflecting on all those feelings I had spurted out of me onto paper it was time to let them go. That last step was harder than I thought. I tried several nights in a row to head out to the BBQ but felt I wasn’t ready. Then I started thinking about this blog and really doing what I said I would do and finish this goal! So, one night I got the courage to grab those pages, put on my robe, grab Kleenex (which I knew I needed) and go out to the BBQ. My husband had it all lit and ready for me. And just when I thought about going outside, anxiety started bubbling inside me. Was I actually going through with this and letting all this $h*t go?! All of a sudden I couldn’t do it by myself so I asked my husband to go with me. I felt I needed to read out loud the feelings on these pages and I just couldn’t do it alone. Facing these feelings was scary enough let alone having to share them with my husband. But thankfully he was willing and very supportive.
So I sat at our BBQ, read the words and feelings for each person, cried through the process and then watched as one by one the pages burned in the fire. As I saw the flames grabbing at each word I wrote and the rising smoke carrying my feelings to the sky, I whispered to myself “I forgive you and release you to the Holy Spirit”. No harder words have ever come across my lips and at times I had to take a deep breath just to say them. But the release I felt at the same time was so calming and so warm that I immediately knew I was doing the right thing. Something inside me was calling me to this goal, this place, this time to send it all up to God. I felt a tremendous weight being lifted that I was not expecting. As if God took all those words now in smoke, sucked them in and made everything alright. Very liberating! Once it was all burned and over…I was actually excited to “burn” anything else that stood in my way of peace and love in my life. And so the journey continues…
~ Hoping you find a way to be CONNECTED ~