The Collector of Our Pain and Garbage
This blog was first posted in April 2017 but I was encouraged to share this again. This blog goes perfectly with our last blog on “Jesus the Shepherd Who Knows Us.”
I remember reading a story from a book called “Be Transformed” by Scope Ministries in Oklahoma, a sister ministry and member of Network 220 of which I am a member. The story went similar to this (I added a little spice to it):
A couple moved into a brand new community under development. They were the first to move in on their block. There were no garbage services when they moved in so they stored their garbage in the basement. As weeks went by, the garbage mounted. One night, the couple hosted a housewarming party and invited all of their friends and new neighbors from their new neighborhood to their home. They decked their new home with colorful lights; relaxing music filled the air and the finest food was spread from table to table. The couple was so excited to show off their new home and enjoy their company for the evening. As the couple met their guests at the door, they removed their coats and hung them in the coat closet, but, the guests appeared a little uneasy. One by one, they came up with excuses about why they had to leave the party early. The couple was sad because their guests left early. One of their friends came to them and said, “Thank you so much for inviting me to the party. The food tastes amazing, the decorations look phenomenal, and your house is beautiful. Please do not get upset, but to be honest with you, your house stinks!” With those remarks, their friend kissed them on the cheek and left the house. The couple looked at each other, disappointed and baffled by what occurred.
The truth of the matter is, the couple’s garbage had seeped through the walls of the house. Odors permeated the whole house and they didn’t realize it. The couple had become accustomed to the smell because it had become part of their everyday existence. It was their normal. It took a brave and loving friend to tell them the truth. A true friend is one who loves you but will not enjoy your garbage with you; they will tell you the truth. There is no greater friend than Jesus. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother and will always tell us the truth!
I love this story because it depicts how we all have built our lives over heaps of mental and emotional garbage. The garbage might have been left by our sins or others, the words or rejection of parents, relatives, teachers, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, children, spouses, and so on. There are issues in our lives we have never addressed. And, if you are like me, I didn’t even know they were there until Jesus revealed them to me in 2017. We have spent countless hours decorating the outside of our lives beautifully. We spend years keeping up an image that appears to be polished and appealing. We cover up things that are too painful to face. “What’s wrong?” “Nothing!” is our way to brush off the truth of what is going on inside. We strive, work hard, please others, and hide in all kinds of activities to mask our pain. If anyone gets close enough, they will discover the foul odors emitting from the basement of our hearts; the garbage hiding in the closets of our minds. Garbage never goes away on its own; someone has to take it out. Garbage leaves us bitter, angry, mean, anxious, overly sensitive, fearful, worried, impatient, lonely, unforgiving, critical, insecure, and more. For these reasons, our Lord Jesus came into the garbage heap of the world and ours. He came to remove the stench and garbage that sin and others have left behind within us. He already knows about every foul and despicable area of our hearts and minds, still, He is not ashamed to love us and care for us and call us His Beloved.
Before reading the story I shared with you, I remember sitting in a counseling session with a client one day and I saw a vision of me holding a big black garbage bag. As my client was talking, her words were like trash and it filled the big black garbage bag I was holding. When it was full, I looked out of the window and saw a big landfill with a mountain of trash covered with dirt on top of it… Jesus was hanging on the cross.
He reminded me each day, “Tresca, I am the garbage collector within you and each day my children come to bring the garbage of pain from their lives and share them with us. They can leave them here at the foot of the cross or gather their garbage back into their garbage bag and take it home with them, it’s their choice.”
It was not easy for people to let go of their garbage, they fought me with it, defended it, and protected it. But, when the pain of keeping it outweighed the pain of letting it go, they chose to let it go.
From that day forward, as a pastoral counselor and psychotherapist, I had a different perspective of what my purpose was and is in the lives of humanity, my brethren, and my life. The Cross of Christ was more than a cross of death over 2000 years ago. It still remains the place where every human soul goes to rid themselves of the stinking garbage and lies of the enemy that hold them hostage. The Cross of Christ is where He took every one of our sins, sorrows, and pains, then nailed them forever to that tree. Also, He nailed our old broken, sin ravished, independent flesh, an old man with Him on the cross to set us FREE.
Jesus came to heal us, rescue us from our fears, but He also came to remove the garbage of our lives caused by childhood painful events, trauma, depression (suppressed anger), guilt, and shame of our past, present, and future sins. He came to free us from the abuse of others, only if we would let Him… please let Him.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus. I am so grateful that I can bring my stinking issues to you and you will never judge me. I don’t want to hide them, pretend they don’t exist anymore. I lay them at the foot of the cross where you suffered and I DIED WITH YOU as Galatians 2:20 reminds me, so I don’t have to carry them anymore. Please show me the garbage in my life that I have not given to you. Today I give my garbage to you (call them out by name). AMEN