Faith & Encouragement | Finding Peace | Finding Sabbath Rest

Finding Sabbath Rest: Dodging Soul Grenades or Throwing Them Back

November 29, 2014

message waitingMessage waiting is what the red number in the corner of the icon means. The “bing” means the same thing.

Black and white words. Not sticks and stones. Just a few syllables.

Just words. But there weren’t just any words. These were the kind of words that have soul-grenades attached to them.

The homeschool mom in me recognized a few mis-spelled and re-arranged letters calmly while trying to process the nasty spewed all over my life.

Anger, disgust, bitterness, shame… The ugly step-children of resentment clothed in polite phrases in a weak attempt to sugar coat the awful the shower of accusations and hardly concealed poison. Years of unspoken offenses in a shower of complaints intended to be the only witness of guilt, trial, and sentencing of my character.

DSC_2954Photo credit: Isaac Stone International Brofari

The words hit me like a sucker punch to the gut and I inhaled sharply while tears filled the corners of my eyes.  Re-reading it a few times didn’t lesson the blow.   In fact, in the re-reading I went from hurt to anger fairly quickly.

Sputtering and choking back vitriolic rage of my own I had a few choice thoughts to share.

“Right back at ya, babe.” I growled through clenched teeth, fingers poised over the keyboard. “You think you can win a war of words with me? I am good at words. And I am good at snark. And I am good at slicing and dicing to expose the heart of the matter. You think you can stand up against this?   You better be ready…”

Already phrases were aligning themselves in my minds eye. Memories of their failures, disappointments, resentments, injustices… The times thoughtless and cruel words of theirs had hurt the ones I love. Within minutes I had written a scathing reply.   One guaranteed to slap them into submission.

rainy daysPhoto credit: Isaac Stone International Brofari

And, honestly? It felt good.

But, really?   I was wrong.

As I re-read that series of sentences and saw all those words. In black and white syllables. Not sticks and stones. Just words.

I saw myself in the mirror over the table.   Cheeks flushed red. Eyes bright and hard coals behind my glasses. It seemed that being right looked like being angry. And being angry isn’t wrong, friends, but this… This didn’t look right.

Taking another raggedy breath, I put my hair up, pulled my coffee closer, and closed my eyes.

“Lord, help me see. Help me see if there is any truth here. This hurts. But help me see.”

Wrapping my courage around like a blanket, I read again those horrid, soul-shattering words.

rainy podsPhoto credit: Isaac Stone International Brofari

They hit me again, fresh and new assaults to soft, bruised places and I wanted, more than anything, to look away.  This was a train wreck.

I saw all the same things, the same appalling accusations, the emotional funk clouding the edges. I saw the same injustices and anger. But I saw me too, between the lines, in a self-justified rant of my own now hiding behind a folder getting less and less important as time passed.  Moving slow, I tucked that horrible message away in a folder and went about my day.

I didn’t need to get into a fight.   It takes two for an argument to continue. I didn’t have time. I didn’t care to engage.  

Later, talking with my husband, I recognized the wisdom in stepping away. We don’t have to respond in the same way someone lashes out at us. Often, we have to let people live with the chaos they created.   We can’t fix it.   We can’t solve it.   We can only pray and respect their free will. Especially when the brokenness lying on the floor is because they were the ones throwing crockery about.

Truly, if all they’ve confessed is what lies beneath a façade of relationship then the façade is cracking and it’s best to let it fall.  Maybe it can be re-built on a stronger foundation? Maybe?  That’s a lot of hard work.   For everyone.  Are we really up to it? 

sunsetLandscapePhoto credit: Isaac Stone International Brofari

I closed the little laptop, later that night, and thought again, as I had a thousand times that day, of the words intended to bring war.

“I wonder if they thought I would fight back? I wonder if they think, because I didn’t that they win?   I wonder why it even matters who wins between friends?”

I opened the little pink ESV bible with tissue paper pages and read a few verses in Psalms in an effort to quiet my soul.

Psalm 55…

For it was not an enemy who insulted me;
if it had been, I could have borne it.
It was not my adversary who treated me with scorn;
if it had been, I could have hidden myself.

But it was you, a man of my own kind,
my companion, whom I knew well.

We used to share our hearts with each other;
in the house of God we walked with the crowd.

zionforestPhoto credit: Isaac Stone International BrofariThe words hit me like a sucker punch to the gut an

 

That was when I realized God understood my heart.

The pain of scorn and insult, of judgment and rage, of injustice and shaming coming from someone who knew your heart… That’s hard to bear.  

But we don’t bear it alone, my friend, we never bear it alone.  That’s a promise from God we can hold on to.  Tightly.

So, if you too have ever sat on the couch and tried to breath through the sucker punches of a relationship gone sour?

Remember two things with me…

You are not alone. You are not responsible for the way someone chooses to rage. 

Your Abba knows. Your Abba listens. Your Abba hears your cry and will comfort you.

Shalom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Of course you know I’d have to look up the word vitriolic. This article made me want to drag you to the beach and cloak you in an old quilt and pour hot tea from a thermos and break off pieces of amazing chocolate and just sit. Still. Ocean surge storm pounding, drumming away the horrible images and words. Gulls dancing, hopeful, that chocolate or popcorn would drop. I’d pat your shoulder and say there there, wishing I was the hug it out friend with tear soaked shoulders. But I’m the sand up your shorts friend. And i Love ya.

    • I can’t handle the hug it out friends. Awkward. That is why we work so good. 🙂 God is amazing isn’t He? He puts all things together in his own way and in his own time.