Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hair Balls


Not exactly a Christmas-y subject, huh?

Well, yea. But I’ve been thinking.

Actually, more like my imagination has been providing me picture-clear images.

Not exactly of hair balls, per se, but it’s the closest comparison.

Let me explain.

As a writer, I picture scenes and scenarios almost like a movie playing in my mind’s eye. That technique or tendency or whatever you call it dominates my prayer life and relationship with God as well – I picture Him holding my hand or drying my tears or laughing with (or at) me. I see wings covering me, I imagine a strong tower, I watch as a tender physician tends my wounds (physical or otherwise).

Well, lately, when I get grumpy or critical or angry, I picture a man, not old or young, sitting in a chair like a throne but made of humble wood, not encrusted with gold or jewels. I am sitting at His feet, venting.

Jesus and I are having a heart-to-heart, no-holds-barred conversation.

After letting me spew whatever icky-ness is in my heart, He holds out His hand, raises His eyebrows, and smiles.

I know what He wants, but at first I scowl. I don’t want to give up my ire.

He shrugs, though His hand remains extended. He waits.

Finally, like prying the Ring from Smeagol’s hand, I reach out and give Him whatever it is I’ve been complaining about – a worry, a stress, a disappointment, a hurt, a judgment… so many different things.

Anyway, whatever “it” is, it takes the form of a ball. A hairball – a nasty, stringy, lumpy glob of dark mess. I don’t know why I see it that way. But really, that’s what I picture. My sin in the form of a hairball.

Why would I want to keep it?

Why is surrendering it so difficult?

Why He wants it, I’ll never fully comprehend.

Still, He takes it, enclosing His hand around it, causing it to vanish.

The problem I'm dealing with doesn't vanish. But the blindness that comes from harboring bad feelings about it does.

Because I understand that once I hand it over, that’s it. I’m agreeing to stop worrying, obsessing, grumbling, complaining, harboring, holding the grudge. As soon as He takes it, it’s in His hands. I'll let Him take care of it, His way.

Somehow, after I picture this transaction, I feel better. Lighter. Unburdened. Ready to move on. I’m breathing easier. And no matter how I felt before, and most of the time it’s very low and yucky, after I feel cleansed, purified, and at peace.

I’m sharing this now because often during the holidays, when families are thrown together in tight quarters while others are left alone and hurting, the furthest thing from our minds is the Prince of Peace whose birthday we’re supposed to be celebrating. To make that a little easier, to experience that peace, I suggest handing over your hairballs.

Holding a grudge? Forgive.

Paranoid? Choose to trust.

Hurt? Let God apply His balm.

And once you do, that’s it. Let it go. Let it vanish inside the Hand of Jesus.

My prayer is that you allow Peace to embrace you this Christmas.

Three days, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by