Letting Go of the Rocks in Your Pocket
There was a song that my sister and I used to play over and over. I wish I could remember who sang it. It talked about the rocks that we keep putting in our pockets. The bricks that we put into our backpacks that weight us down. We’re trudging around and when we step out onto the water, we can’t walk on it. Instead we sink. We aren’t meant to carry rocks around. I had to deal with a lot of wagging tongues and oddly well-aimed gym balls when I was younger. These experiences were a pretty constant occurrence while I was in middle school. Then on and off throughout high school. When I left school behind,I didn’t want to think about it at all. I wanted to shake all of my memories off of myself, kick them to the curb, and never look back.
What I didn’t realize until years later, when I was in college and I began to talk more, is that I didn’t really shake everything off. My inability to deal with my issues effectively affected my ability to truly let them go. I was walking around with rocks in my pocket. And it felt horrible!
I had to begin a painful process of reflecting on my past and trying to understand what happened. Then I could smooth a balm of forgiveness over everything – my memories of the schools, memories of the people, and of myself.
I could not have done this on my own. It opened my eyes to the fact that I had spent most of my time trudging along, head down, my backpack of bricks getting heavier and heavier. Meanwhile my heart became harder and harder towards my classmates. Reliving all of that was unpleasant, but necessary. I didn’t know how much emotion I had repressed in order to keep my memories locked in a box. Of course they had to escape at some point.
I remember a conversation I had with my aunt about this time of my life. Understand that I am a quiet, private personal in general. Few of my family members understood the hurts that I had been caring around for so long. My aunt, in particular, was empathetic to my issues when I did start talking. If you allow me to summarize our conversation, it went a little something like this…
Me: I’m trying, really trying. But I could never have imagined how hard it is to let everything go. I always thought I was a forgiving person, but don’t know how to forgive and forget.
Aunt: It’s okay. You’ve had these feelings around for awhile. You have to saturate yourself with God’s love, with His goodness and forgiveness. It’s hard, but you’re going to have to give your hurts to God and trust in Him.
Me: I know. I keep trying, but these memories just keep popping into my head. Every time I think that I’m finally over something, it fills my head again with sadness and… bitterness.
Aunt: You have to keep giving it to God. Don’t give up.
Me: And what about the memories that haunt me about what I did or didn’t do? Everything might have changed if I’d just spoken up more or done something...
Aunt: Melody, listen to me. You can’t live in the past. Ask God for forgiveness for your mistakes, for the strength to forgive others who made mistakes in the past. Then give it to Him. You have to keep moving forward.
Me: You don’t understand. I don’t think I can move forward. I’m stuck. What am I supposed to do when, every day, I’m drowning under these memories?
Aunt: But I do understand. You are not alone anymore, never were. But you have to take a stand and be strong. You have to GIVE IT TO GOD!
That seemed like her answer to everything. Give it to God. Give it to God and keep moving forward. the Bible affirmed it as well.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland..." - Isaiah 43:18-19
I have a horrible tendency of obsessing over mistakes. Wallowing in reoccurring worries. And I do know that it takes strength to empty your pockets of rocks. To leave them in the dust. But, thankfully, no one has to do this alone. This is for anyone else who deals with this a lot or is dealing with this right now. I want you to know that before hitting “publish,” I’m going to get down on my knees and pray for everyone who reads this. Because I know it is a very real problem. It gets difficult. Painful even. But it’s not healthy to walk around with rocks in your pocket. All you’re going to do is sink.