“All right woodchuck chuckers, it’s GROUNDHOG DAY!”
“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today. Hello?”
“This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”
“Ned… Ryerson. ‘Needlenose Ned’? ‘Ned the Head’? C’mon, buddy.”
In honor of yesterday’s Groundhog Day report, I simply must crawl under my warm covers and enjoy this movie classic with a bowl of popcorn. Maybe Eric will even join me!
Those Freaky Shadows!
There is a reason for the phrase, “You are afraid of your own shadow.” Shadows are creepy, especially when they catch us off guard – and they are big. A harmless kitten can appear as big as a tiger when the light hits it just right. Shadows take small, often inanimate objects, and make them appear overwhelming and dangerous.
More dangerous than tiger-cat shadows are the shadows of our past. Regrets we have replayed in our minds until we create hungry grizzly bears out of innocent teddy bears. Anacondas out of jump ropes. Runaway boulders out of basketballs.
Legend tells that when the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter; and, when we are haunted by our shadows, we too experience a longer emotional winter.
Some of my most haunting shadows have come from old relationships. Decisions I made that I wish I could reverse. Hurt feelings I caused and experienced from dating frivolously. Knowing, at times, that I walked in complete disobedience to Christ. And, the voices of exes’ telling me I am not good enough.
Even years into my marriage, these shadows would spring up in the background. They seemed huge; yet, in reality, they were small and insignificant. They made me question my worth, my confidence, and my ability to effect change in the world. They hovered over me, huge shadows of small lies.
One evening over dinner, an ex-boyfriend told a group of people that I had a hard time making friends. I remember being embarrassed and surprised – it was news to me. And from that point on, his statement became a part of me… a large shadow, but really a lie.
Another time, I had an ex-boyfriend tell me I was the moodiest girl he had ever met. In reality, he made dumb comments which would have made any girl angry; yet, I held onto that statement and it became a part of me… a large shadow, but really a lie.
Other shadows reminded me of the mistakes I made as a young teen who wanted to chart her own course; who wanted to play with fire to see how close to the flame she could dance without getting burned; who wanted to flirt with the line between innocent and too far.
Those shadows whispered, “You are a fraud. Who do you think you are giving relationship advice to other people? Look at all the mistakes you made. Look at the times you leaped into sin knowingly. You are introverted and struggle to make small talk in social situations. You really think you can help people have good relationships? The queen of getting it wrong?!?”
I am so thankful God takes His children’s pasts and not only wipes them clean, but uses them to His glory. It is because of where I have been and the lessons I have learned that I am able to do what I do, and I thank God that he took my ashes and turned them into something beautiful. We cannot walk away from the consequences of our past decisions, but He can take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it around for good.
It is Time to Listen to New Voices:
- Rebuilding Confidence – The old does not have to define us. Yes, we have made mistakes. We have experienced hurt. We have caused some hurt. We were not the best versions of ourselves. We were not walking in obedience to Christ. We can all say this, but some of us act as though we are the only person in history to sin. Our confidence, true confidence, does not come from our accomplishments alone, but to Whom we belong. I am confident, not in who I am on my own merits, but in who I am because of Christ.
- Releasing Your Sweetheart from the Payment of Your Exes’ Mistakes – When we are hurt by someone who claimed to love us, it takes time, prayer, and healing to move past it. Often, we enter new relationships before those wounds are healed and without meaning to, we treat the new person as though he or she is going to hurt us. We do not trust his motives. We do not trust her compliments. We question decisions and want to convict this innocent person of our exes’ crimes. When we cast off the shadows of those old wounds, we can see new love interests in truth and not through the lens of a broken heart. Being unjustly accused repeatedly is enough to kill any potentially awesome and promising relationship.
- All Things New – We are comforted in 2 Corinthians 5:17 with these words, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (ESV). When we repent (i.e., turn away from sin) and put our trust in the work Christ did on the cross (i.e., He received the penalty for our sins and paid that debt), the Bible says that we are a new creation. Salvation comes from God alone through Christ’s sacrifice. Ezekiel 36:26 tells us, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (ESV). Once we have repented and trusted in Christ, we no longer have to live in the shadow of our past no matter how dark it was. Christ sets us free – even in the worst situations, we can be free from our inner chains.
As long as your old relationships are casting shadows over you, your future relationships will never be able to operate at their absolute best. It is time to cast off the shadows. This will require feeling some pain, it will require dealing with some uncomfortable topics, your Bible and your heart will need to be open, and it may be best to seek out Christian counseling while you are on your journey to recovery.
Even if you do not feel it today, know that you can be free. Keep pressing towards health and listening to the truth. Then, one day you will look around, see no shadows, and realize your emotional winter is over.
To God be the glory.
Are shadows of old relationships still haunting you? [If so, comment below!]