The past few days, when I try to sit down and write on my blog, my mind has been overwhelmed, overloaded…in other words, TMI…too much information. I tried to put all of the things that I was thinking about into one blog and it read more like a short story. So I’ve decided to do a ‘blog series’. It’s called The Hiding Place.
The hiding place. Everyone has one. Actually, I have three. Little things, such as those free samples, grocery receipts, buttons that have popped off…these things are tossed into a drawer in the kitchen. Larger items usually end up in my closet. This consists of any thing lying around the house when someone calls and says “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” They get grabbed up, tossed in , shut out of sight. And left to deal with at a later time. Also items that for the life of me I can’t remember where they came from , or what I should do with them, usually end up stuffed in the closet. Have you seen the Burger King commercial with the boy who’s about 8 years old? He’s standing outside his bedroom door and his mother is telling him to clean his room. His response is “Ah, it’s not that bad.” And as he opens the door, toys and clothes and who knows what come flooding from the room?. That’s my closet!
But I also have a hiding place in my mind. A place where I store memories. Some are guilt, like the time when I was 12 and wore my mother’s “Christmas bonus” leather boots to wade in the creek. Or my days of partying and staying out all night. Some of the memories are sad ones, like the death of loved ones and friends. Some are memories of regret. Not going back to college, not studying harder in school, letting others make choices for me. And some of the memories are too painful to even admit to myself, let alone write on paper.
I decided to start the new year off the right way, by cleaning out my hiding places, all of them. The drawer wasn’t too hard, once I got started. Most of the free samples went in the trash. I can’t know why I kept them in the first place. The receipts that seemed important I filed. And the buttons, imagine this if you can, either got sewn on where they were needed or I put them in my sewing box.
The closet proved a bit more challenging. Any clothes that were stuffed in for any reason, I put in a bag and took to church for our clothes bank. I figured as long as some of them had been there, we couldn’t have needed them very much. The books and magazines that I still needed I put on–the book shelf(amazing concept). And various items that I either couldn’t identify or I knew I could get away with not having the next time that well-meaning gift giver came calling, I sent to Goodwill.
As you can imagine, by this time, I was feeling very pleased and proud of myself. After all, two of my hiding places were clean and ready for who knows what. But what of the other. It would be easier if our minds were like a rug, and we could simply shake them out when they became cluttered or dusty. But it’s not quite that easy. But maybe, just maybe, if we look at them one by one…
Rejection. The dictionary defines rejection in this way: to refuse, recognize, or make use of. Ever felt that way?
“I’ve tried to change, but no matter what I do, he just doesn’t want to be married to me anymore.”
“I know I’m qualified to do the job, but they picked someone else, again.”
“The other kids won’t let me play, just cause I’m smaller.”
It doesn’t matter what age you are. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, black or white, rich or poor, rejection carries the same nasty slap. It degrading. It’s embarrassing. It’s part of life.
Jesus knew about rejection. Can you imagine the talk in his town. “Who does the kid think he is, a king or something. Where does he get off explaining the prophesies to us. After all, that’s just Joseph’s kid. Sure, when it comes to working with wood, he’s your man. But telling us about Jehovah? Takes some nerve” And do you think leaving his hometown solved his problems? People rejected Jesus everywhere he went, right up until his death on the cross.
You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus.”
“This fellow is one of them.” Again Peter denied.
“Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
“I don’t know this man you are talking about.” (Mark 14)
But Peter wasn’t alone in his rejection.
“Here is your king,” said Pilate.
“Take him away. Crucify him,” answered the Jews. ( John 19: 14-15)
Jesus knew rejection. Jesus knew the pain of those whom you love, leaving you when you need them the most. But Jesus knew something more. He knew there was one who would never leave his side. One who was there thirty-three years before in a stable in Bethlehem. One who whispered to Joseph to take his family and flee to safety. Jesus knew there was One who shed a tear with Mary and Martha, who was outraged with the traders in the temple, and one who’s heart bled in the garden of Gethsemene. The One was Jesus’s father, our father. He was there at the cross, listening to Jesus’s pleas for forgiveness for others. The same “others” who nailed him to the cross. When was the last time you spoke to your Father? When was the last time you spoke of forgiveness for those who reject you? Let the Father take it from you and let his healing touch wash over you like a gentle spring rain.
Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you had anything against anyone, forgive him, so that you Father in heaven my forgive you your sins.