A Walk in the Clouds
Every year my husband’s grandmother gives me a calendar.
I tuck it inside a kitchen drawer and it becomes my agenda book for the year. I write everything I do on it. Every appointment, lunch date, play date, everything.
And every year, I just lay it on top of the previous year’s calendars. A few weeks ago, as I was putting my new one in the drawer, I picked up the ones from the last few years.
Five to be exact.
Five years’ worth of memories, friendships, lunch dates, play dates at the park, and how I had spent my time year and after year.
I started looking through them and I couldn’t help but smile when I saw “lunch with Andrea” written down and it was my friend who I had just met at the time and had no idea how awesome she was going to be and all the fun we were going to have.
But, then I also saw other names. And the time I had spent with people who now are no longer a part of my calendar. It hurt a little. It hurt to relive those memories as I flipped through and saw how we hung out month after month after year until slowly there was no more mention. Those years represent hurt and failed friendships. Hard lessons learned. They also represent time lost.
And I’m not talking about time wasted on people because I don’t believe people are a waste of time. I mean time wasted on all the worrying and hurting and being bitter and offended. And although yes, that does involve people, it REALLY involves me.
If I had to go back, perhaps I would choose to avoid those circumstances. After all, they brought a lot of heartache. But the truth is, they also brought a lot of growth. Standing on the other side of those five years, I’m a different person. A better person for having lived them. So, if I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything…BUT ME. Because let’s be honest, it’s the only thing we really have the power to change.
I wouldn’t have let the actions or words of another twist and rip at my heart. I wouldn’t have let it steal my sleep or my joy. I would’ve shown MORE grace and MORE love and not let the hurt take hold of my heart and mind. I like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two since then, and I’d like to pass it on to you.
Let me tell you a little something…
Someone can’t hate you when you keep showing them love.
Okay, I lied. Yes, they can. They very much still can and it actually might make them hate you even more.
But!! They can’t make YOU hate them.
It’s a rather revolutionary idea if you think about it. Rather a divine one.
YOU can walk in the clouds my friend.
Why the clouds?
Well, if Peter can walk on the water with Jesus, then I think it’s safe to say that we can walk in the clouds with Him, as well.
And doesn’t that sound awesome? Doesn’t that sound so much better than living under the crushing weight of someone’s hate? Or your own hate towards them?
A few years back, I had the opportunity to be crushed by that weight and for a time, I let it. But the moment I began to turn it over to Jesus, he grew something in me. He showed me how I can rise above and not be subject to my hurt. He showed me how to walk in the clouds with Him.
I think when Jesus said that we are to love our enemies, he meant it. And I don’t know about you, but that’s not always an easy thing. Many times, this enemy turns out to be a coworker or family member. Maybe it’s even someone you once thought was a dear friend. And let’s be honest, the closer the enemy the worse the hurt.
But we are called to love. Selfishly, abundantly, long-suffering love. Not the kind of love that comes from our feelings but our choices. Loving your enemy will have to be a choice! Because many times our feelings will lead us to hold onto offense or act out in revenge. Two very tempting things to choose. But the weight of those choices will cause us to be heavy.
In order to walk in the clouds…you have to be light.
But how? How can you be light when someone’s actions and words feel so heavy in your spirit?
First, you need Jesus. A whole lot of Jesus. He’s going to be that filter in our heart that helps us from letting those actions and words take up residence there. Perhaps you already have and now will have to pause and empty your heart out before you can go about being light. Maybe words and actions were done with such ferocity that you didn’t’ even have a chance to put your shield up and so you will have to pause and pick those daggers out of your heart. But, I believe through practice, we can become better able to filter those actions and words through Jesus before that hurt takes up residence in our hearts and makes us bitter.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
It’s not that we don’t feel the hurt or notice that we’ve been wounded. We do. But we sift it and pass it on. We become good at sifting. We don’t want to sit and meditate on it too long allowing it to plant a seed of bitterness or cause us to respond in kind. We want to quickly sift through the actions and words so we know what to do with them. First, to see if there is any truth to it. We don’t want to throw the truth away! The truth is treasure. We want to learn and grow from it.
So, we take what is sticking out -what’s not easily washing away- and we look at it. Now, you may be thinking well, how do I know what is sticking out? It’s the stuff that is poking you. The stuff that can’t just wash away. It hurts too much.
We look at it and confront it head on with the courage of a toddler who isn’t afraid to ask his mom for a snack two minutes after dinner is over.
We want to get to the root of why this action or word hurts so we know what to do with it. Because in order to make peace with it, we have to face it.
We look at the hurt and ask ourselves 2 questions:
*Does it hurt because it’s true? That phrase the truth hurts is said for a reason. Sometimes the truth does hurt! But the truth is good for us. It humbles us. Makes us self-reflect. Causes us to change for our own betterment.
*Does it hurt because it’s not true? Meaning the actions or words are mere projection? They mirror the person and not so much you. There’s a phrase that goes “we don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” A lot of times when someone is saying or doing something that hurts us, it has more to do with patterns in their life, experiences from their past, etc.
Once we are able to clearly see which is which, then we can pass it on.
But to who? Who would want to take our hurtful truth about ourselves? OR Who would want to carry all that hurtful junk left on our doorstep by someone else?
Wonderful counselor. Mighty God. Prince of Peace.
We pass it on by laying it down. Laying it at the foot of the cross. Jesus invites us to walk up out of our hurt and into His word. Into prayer seeking His presence. Into the clouds walking hand and hand, where we are not subject to anyone but Him.
If it’s the hurtful truth about yourself that you have laid at His feet, He offers you…
-the mercy and forgiveness you need as you repent
-the grace you need as you try again.
-His word to remind you who you are in Him.
-His strength that is made perfect in your weakness
-His unfailing love
-His word that helps you discern what steps you need to take
If it’s the hurtful junk left by someone else that you’ve laid down at His feet, then He will…
-remind you of His grace, mercy, and love towards you.
-equip you to show that grace, mercy, and love in the face of your enemies.
-remind you that He is your strong defender and your reputation is in His hand.
-call you to show kindness to someone who is desperate to know a love like Jesus. Reminding you that you were redeemed to bring light to the darkness.
-hold your hurt as you cast it upon him giving you strength to walk out His word.
This won’t be easy. It will be done on shaky legs and you will have to go against your flesh. This will take practice. And just like Peter who began to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus, the same will happen to you. But the good news is, you can put them right back on Him. Over and over. And walk in the clouds.