Sunday, June 30, 2019

Got “baggage”? There is a way to get rid of it!

Are you being kept from being the person ADONAI meant for you to be, because you’re dragging some “baggage” around? If so, it’s time to let go!

Let’s start with a cute little parable that a wise old pastor once shared with me because he noticed I was “dragging baggage”:

A mother wolf once had her babies in a farmer's barnyard and then promptly abandoned them. Naturally, the farmer took pity on them and raised each one, himself. They were playful and adorable, and he loved them all. Once they started growing, they began to banter and play by grabbing a hold of the farmer’s pant legs and allowing him to drag them around the barnyard on their bellies. While this was cute and a lot of fun, the farmer noticed that as those little wolves got bigger, they were harder to drag along. Eventually, after just a few months, he couldn't move at all anymore when they descended upon his pant leg…

The above example can be likened to the "baggage" in our own lives. The baggage is hardly noticeable at first, because we feel confident that we’ve dealt with it; but as time goes along, we begin to realize that those “bad memories” we thought we had dealt with, keep coming back to haunt us. In other words, the “baggage” starts getting heavier and heavier; and pretty soon, it bogs us down altogether to the point where we can hardly function in our daily life.

What do I mean by “baggage”?

Well, “baggage” consists of the deep emotional scars caused by hurtful words or actions imparted on us by parents, spouses, relatives, friends and even strangers. These scars can be a result of a one-time event or an ongoing situation that had such a major, painful impact on our psyche that it continues to affect us for years on end – in many cases, even into old age.

Many tend to subconsciously drag their “baggage” into every relationship, never being able to figure out why their unions never seem to make them truly happy or allow them to feel complete. They usually don’t recognize that THEY often cause their own problems, and that they themselves are their own worst enemy - BECAUSE they have never “dropped the baggage” - and the reason for that is because this “baggage” became a part of their life somewhere along the way!  It’s almost as if they feel entitled enough to say, “This is me. This is who I am, and YOU need to accept me exactly as I am and learn to deal with ME and MY moods!”

Let’s use as an example, physically, sexually or emotionally abused children whose entire childhoods are ruined at the hands of some callous, me-oriented, mean-spirited older sibling or adult. The victims (even when very young), of course, realize that the abusive behavior is bad; but if it happens often enough or on an ongoing basis, it tends to become a part of the victim’s life – something they simply learn to  “live with” and even come to expect. It’s a rut in which they become stuck, with no way out … even after they become adults. In other words, it “becomes part of them.”

In the end, the victims often tend to either become abusers themselves (because it is what they learned during their formative years); or they choose to continue “being a victim” – many ending up as derelicts or sex or drug addicts or alcoholics with a perpetual desire to “drown” the pain that always returns once they sober up. They basically feel angry, sad, depressed and/or worthless, never being able to get ahead, and constantly attracting the same types of people they’re “used to” … because it’s “what they know” ….

It’s the rare person who is able to break the cycle and live a “normal” life. Unless one RECOGNIZES that they are stuck on a perpetual “merry-go-round” of emotional baggage, they will continue to cling to those painful memories that keep haunting them.

Some have the strength to learn “what NOT to do” from their awful childhoods, and to actually lead fairly “normal” and productive lives – but studies have shown that many, if not most, still tend to have “baggage” to deal with along the way, because the pain of their past can be triggered by many things, to include sights, sounds, songs, touches or smells….

One sad fact about many people with abusive pasts is that they tend to become self-centered, either incessantly talking about, or making everything about themselves - or going in the opposite direction to totally clam up and refusing to give of themselves at all. People who have suffered severe abuse in some way tend to lead either an overly-organized life, or they live in a continuous state of messiness, chaos and confusion. Their lives center around “how THEY feel” and what THEY think” and “what THEY want” – things that can drive a hard wedge into a relationship.

Some who were traumatized as children adopt the habit of “running” … leaving the relationship the minute they feel unhappy. It is a self-defense mechanism that says, “You hurt my feelings and therefore, I’m going to punish you by removing ME from your life!” or “I’m leaving YOU before you have a chance to leave me, because I don’t intend to let you hurt me!”

Emotional scars can be completely CRIPPLING!

The sad truth is, we ARE what we were molded into as children. If we grew up in a dysfunctional family, chances are great that we, too, will end up being dysfunctional and treating our spouses and children exactly the same way we were treated, dragging our “baggage” into every situation … UNLESS we follow some critical steps (not necessarily in this order, but they all need to be followed):

(1) Recognize that we have “a problem” and seek counseling from a Christian or Messianic counselor to learn how to CONFRONT and DEAL with it. Rarely can people accomplish the road to freedom on their own.

(2) Find your way to our Creator, YHWH, and accept the sacrifice His Divine Messiah made on our behalf. True healing from the inside-out comes ONLY from our Creator – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!  HE KNOWS what you’ve been through and He wants to help you grow and mature by allowing you to learn from, and overcome your problems. But He doesn’t “just take them” from you …

He expects you to LEARN to let go so you can become used to doing this on your own, becoming stronger every time you “give it to Him” and move on, instead of becoming depressed or throwing tantrums or running away,  Remember, He often allows us to go through situations so that we can learn first-hand … in other words by "refining us in the fire" as beautifully illustrated in this story: until we have been molded into His Image!

(3) Forgive the person or persons who hurt you - even if they can’t, or do not wish to cooperate in this matter. If it helps, write their names on a piece of paper, tell them out loud that you are NOT allowing them to continue having any kind of hold on you; and then burn it, telling ADONAI you’re turning the perpetrator over to Him.  It’s a very liberating feeling to do something tangible to “cut the ties” from those who hurt you.

A word of caution: Please understand that none of this is going to be easy and healing won’t and can’t happen “overnight”! Seeking counseling is NOT easy, because “peeling back those nasty emotional scars” HURTS! Unfortunately, it’s the only way for healing to take place. Once you give in and decide to kick God’s enemy, Satan, in the face, by learning to RECOGNIZE and DEAL with those triggers, you will eventually begin to notice that you react differently to the taunts of the enemy, in your quest to escape his claws.

May YHWH be with you as you start your journey toward healing so you can become the servant HE intended you to be!

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