The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word “lighten” in two very interesting ways. The first is “to make less heavy; to relieve of cares or worries.” The second, and even better one in my opinion, is “to illuminate, brighten; to shine.”
Lately, various ongoing stressors have risen to their highest levels and just in the last few days have created the perfect storm in my life. Seems appropriate as Hurricane Hannah approaches our coast with Ike on her coattails.
But in the last few months I have increasingly found disappointment, frustration and anger becoming a part of my daily life – the source, two personal relationships that I have spent years trying to cultivate, improve and understand. One person is not doing right by our family and the other is not doing right by me or his own feelings.
I do not like the person I become when my thoughts and my life are consumed and suffocated by feelings of sadness, helplessness, and how things ought to be. My heart hardens, my temper becomes short, and I feel unmotivated and worthless.
This is not healthy for me obviously and just this week all converged and made me physically ill. When this happened I knew that I had had too much – it was all too much to bear, the burden was too heavy.
Having found myself in this state and frame of mind, this cloud of abbrasion, of heartbreak and anguish I have decided to do something. I have decided to lighten the load. I have to relieve myself of these worries and give them back to God. It is the only way that I can find my path back to the second definition where I can brighten my days and illuminate my heart. To lighten my load will, in turn, lighten me.
I feel that God wants us to love one another. He wants us to put effort into each other and our relationships. This is, after all, the most important thing in life – to love, share and give freely of yourself to others. However, when the feelings are not mutual, when the efforts are not reciprocated, and the idea of failure, resentment, and anger start to enter in your mind and cancel out all the goodness – it is time to move on. God wants us to be patient, to love unconditionally, but He also instructs for us to guard our hearts and protect our thoughts. When relationships becomes unhealthy in this way, as mine have, and blocks your site of Him then it is time to let go. Because God should always be first and the relationship with Him should be above all else.
I have to trust His plan now for these relationships and go forth with a thankful heart and a servant attitude. It is only then that my mind will become clear again and allow for the light to shine through.
Letting go is hard, but I feel it is right. These relationships will either diminish in the darkness or He will find a way to illuminate them once again and restore our hearts fully.
A few helpful scripture verses:
For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness. ~2 Samuel 22:29
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. ~Revelation 21:23
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ~2 Corinthians 4:6
Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. ~1 John 2:8
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. ~1 John 2: 15-17
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; And to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; And to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~2 Peter 1:5-8