When I was a little girl, I had a toy purse shaped like a fluffy white cat.
It was my favorite toy. It made me feel so grown up like my mommy, carrying it in the crook of my arm. I filled it with little trinkets like broken sunglasses, forgotten pennies, and pretty rocks I found on the playground. With every somewhat worthless trinket I found, the heavier my little kitty became. My mom would warn me not to take it when we went out to run errands. She would say, “I don’t want your arm to get tired. I’ll end up carrying it for you,” and, “It’s better if you leave it here. There is nothing in that purse that you really need.”
Nevertheless, I insisted that I was a big girl. I was grown-up enough to carry my own purse with my own treasures tucked safely inside. Of course, my mom was right. She always ended up carrying two purses as the day wore on. She would remind me of her warning, but she also never made me carry it when I got too tired. Sometimes, she would carry me as well.
As I look back on the journey of healing I’ve traveled, I see how God is very much acting as my mother did all those years ago. I have always been very quick to hold onto rejection. With every experience, I held onto it as proof that I was unlovable. I leaned into this as an inevitability, as a means of dulling the blow of further rejection. I thought that, if I prepared myself to be rejected, no one could ever truly hurt me. I tucked the pain away in my heart like worthless stones in my childhood purse.
To me, I was being brave and practical. I wanted the heartache to end immediately. So I shoved it away to the back of my mind saying I was okay and ignoring the hurt. I filled my mind with busyness and ignored the temptation of true healing. God would prod me, “If you give me time to open your heart and take these stones away, you will heal. You will feel lighter.” But I always assumed that I knew better than my Heavenly Father. I tried to find the quick fix. Maybe if I was thinner or quieter or more loving I will be good enough. Maybe then I won’t be rejected. It was never an option to turn to God and ask Him to cover the rejection and renew my heart in preparation for true love and acceptance.
It wasn’t until, for the first time, I let my heart truly believe that I was safe to trust someone. I drilled a hole in the shell of protection that encased my heart. I got hurt. It wasn’t the person that hurt me. It was actually a really good relationship that just didn’t work out. It was the rejection that got me, I mean really got me. It actually hit me for the first time in years. My defenses were down, and it hurt worse than any heartbreak I’d ever experienced since probably freshman year of high school.
It felt like one of those gross videos of doctors extracting infection. I looked okay on the surface, but once the hole was there, I could finally see the extent of the rejection I had hidden away. Like the kitty purse, my burden was finally too heavy for me to carry.
Through that moment, God was finally able to reach this protected part of my heart. It was painful. It still hurts, and I’m still digging deep to find the roots of it all. However, for the first time, my heart feels lighter. Hope is an option again. God warned me time and time again that holding onto this rejection was a bad idea, but I was so sure that I could carry it just fine on my own. But my heart became weary, and my arms got tired. So, he picked me up, and he took my heart filled with the rocks of my past, and I am finding peace for the first time.
"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all." (Psalm 34:18-19)
"Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." (Psalm 55:22)