The top photo is a photo I took at work. It’s a hallway in a storage facility for the paper copies of old projects.
To my knowledge (and I’ve been working at the same place for 13-years) no one has tried to go through the boxes.
Now don’t get me wrong. This storage area has been “cleaned up” while I’ve worked there, at least twice that I can remember. Someone had gone into the area and rearranged boxes, stacked boxes on other boxes, and I believe even thrown out boxes of paper work that were labeled over fifty years old. I’ve known several people who have gone in there and swept the floor so we don’t kick up dust when we place more boxes of stuff in the room.
But as far as I know, no one has ever gone through the boxes.
I know why and I bet you could guess too.
No one has the time.
No one has ever really needed what was in the boxes, especially the old ones.
No one really cares.
I started what I think will be a short series on what I’ve been learning about myself lately.
I’m throwing it in amongst all the cool projects I finish and want to show off and the random bible lessons I’ve been learning along the way.
Today’s thoughts are on “my stuff.”
A very intelligent, wise woman told me recently that I have to “own” my stuff.
We were not talking about tangible objects at the time she told me this. To me, this means that I have to own the junk, baggage, and issues that I have packed away in little boxes in the file cabinets of my mind.
I truly have not felt more enlightened than I did when this woman presented this concept to me.
It really seemed so simple.
I couldn’t blame my adult actions on what had happened to me as a child growing up.
See, my father left my mom, my brother and I several times when I was growing up. He would come back, usually for anywhere from three months to even years before he would leave again. From what I recall as a child of 8-years old until I was 14-years old, he left at least four times. He would live with family members mostly – on couches and in spare rooms, in trailers in backyards, and at one point I remember him taking my brother and I for a weekend where he had rented a room in a house with two other people.
My father was not there for me as a child.
When I spoke with this woman about my issues, or what I thought were my issues, she asked me a question in the course of our conversation that changed my life: “When was the last time you felt rejected like that?“
Without hesitation, I answered, “That’s easy, the last time my father left me as a child.”
My father left my mom, my brother and I for the last time, on June 17, 1990.
Yes, I remember the day. It was a Sunday father’s day and my parents got into a huge fight on the way home from church. My father, who hadn’t had a job in several months, spent my mother’s last $10 on gas, candy bars and soda from the closest mini-mart to church. He claimed he didn’t know that was the last $10 we had to our name for the month. Besides getting gas we were supposed to use that money for lunch for all four of us.
That’s how the story goes anyway.
If you haven’t read my blog before and you just read this post, let me assure you that my father is very much a part of my life. He is the nanny to my three children and he is extremely co-dependent to me. My mother and my father talk to each other at least three times a week and my father takes my mother places when I can’t. We are extremely dysfunctional but it works for us.
So here I am in an office talking with a wise woman (draw your own conclusions) and she’s just asked me when the last time I felt rejected was. And I told her. And she responded with “I see.”
After a few more tense minutes of conversation with me she tells me that I have been using my father leaving me as an excuse to not do things. It was an insecurity.
“What? I’m not insecure about anything!” I told her.
Ultimately, (and seemingly ironically) my choices of not wanting to feel rejected and abandoned have hurt my marriage in choices I have made over the course of my life.
I had to own my issue that it was a feeling of abandonment that kept me from doing certain things, including keeping myself healthy and loving my husband for the fear of rejection by him.
I had to own it.
I realize that I did not describe what I learned from her as eloquently as she was able to describe it to me.
So let me go back to my boxes as that’s what helped me understand it further.
There is stuff (i.e. issues, insecurities, feelings of rejection and abandonment) in the boxes of the file cabinets in my head. Let’s say those files are labeled “old and private”.
That stuff, no one else really cares about because it’s old, useless, and is just collecting dust.
But I hadn’t thrown it out yet.
More boxes of stuff as my life went on surrounded the boxes in those filing cabinets in my head. They are labeled things like “marriage,” “children,” “vacation memories,” “life lessons,” the list goes on and on.
The filing cabinet, labeled “old and private” was still there, collecting dust and ready for somebody to read it.
But nobody cares. It’s in a filing cabinet in my head.
Personally, I now knew I needed to throw those files out.
I did throw them out.
I replaced the space with this verse -
The Lord will vindicate me;
your love, Lord, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.
I am a precious work of the Lord’s hands. I know that to be true without a doubt. His love endures forever. How could I ever feel rejected or abandoned?
I now own this verse. Those feelings of rejection and abandonment are gone. The love of the Lord is all I will ever need. Ever.
Can you feel it?