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Without first being angry, you cannot forgive.
Without first being unsure, you cannot trust.
Without first being afraid, you cannot be brave.
If you find yourself in any of these less-than-desirable places today, you are really just on the verge of a beautiful opportunity.
A chance to forgive. A chance to trust. A chance to be brave.
A chance to trade up for something better.
Because after all, what’s so great about bitterness and fear?
Let’s be more interesting than that.
It’s amazing how quickly I, an alleged full-grown woman, can revert back to feeling like I did with other girls in elementary school: insecure, timid, and small. Recently, a moment leapt out of nowhere and grabbed me by the throat, reducing me to those irrepressible tears that leave me shaky and sick to my stomach – because my feelings got hurt.
I am naturally a sensitive person, but I’m also fairly rational. I don’t get my feelings hurt all that often – mainly because I am largely surrounded by pretty tremendous humans who rarely do or say mean-spirited things.
But when it does happen, it makes me feel so sad, and shocked, and ultimately, rejected.
How could I NOT cry?
But here is the difference between 9-year old Annie and today’s Annie: to forgive is to not let those feelings take root – even when they are justified. To forgive is to deflect any feelings of insecurity catalyzed by those initial words. To forgive is to let go of what is right, reasonable, and defensible – in favor of something entirely unsensible.
It’s hard work, forgiveness… but then again, isn’t it our very best option? Isn’t it the easiest, most freeing thing we could possibly do – to simply let it go?
No one ever loses if no one is keeping score.
When I was in Kansas City last weekend, I confessed to my mom that I am really angry with someone. Really mad. I am harboring some strong unforgiveness toward this person for wronging me – and trust me, I was wronged. This person did some sloppy things, and I was the recipient of the mud-to-the-face.
But my mom, as usual, had some wise words. She said that forgiveness is letting go of your “right” to harm the other person, no matter how justified your anger might be. She said that forgiveness is being willing to carry the pain, until the day that it doesn’t hurt anymore. And she said that forgiveness starts with choosing to forgive, and then praying that someday, your feelings will match that choice.
I believe in forgiveness. I believe that choosing to love rather than harm is always the right decision. And I believe that our hearts can be healed, no matter how bad it might feel right now.