Let's Take Out The Trash
by Marcos Witt
I remember it like it was yesterday, the bell that sounded sharply as someone ran through the neighborhood announcing the imminent arrival of the garbage truck. This was planned to give us just enough time to collect all bags and cans of garbage and put them on the curb for the truck to take. Many times, we managed to hear the bell with plenty of time to anticipate its arrival and the task was carried out quietly and orderly.
Other times, it caught us by surprise and we would run wildly through the house trying to get it all together before the garbage truck came by. Occasionally, we could not finish collecting all the trash in time for the truck to take it. When that happened, our garbage would accumulate until it was trash day again. It is very unpleasant to live with trash!
The same thing happens in our own lives. We have all probably collected emotional baggage or refuse over the years. For example, when someone causes us pain and wounds our heart and it is not repaired, we may begin to harbor bad feelings in some corner of our heart. Or maybe we took the time to do some good for someone at the cost of much effort and even personal sacrifice, and we do not even receive a simple thank you.
Or sometimes, we feel pain because someone fails us; maybe they forgot that appointment or that special date, birthday, anniversary. As the years add up, we can accumulate all this pain, despair, discouragement, resentment, envy, anger, rage, disappointment, and thousands of negative feelings that will begin to fill our being with the odor of bitterness and hatred. Don't go around with that in your life. Let's take out the trash!
The other day, I felt great sadness as I read an article in my local newspaper about two individuals at a traffic light who got so upset with one another because neither one of them wanted to give way to the other. They began to yell and curse at each other, to the extent of stopping all the traffic. They then proceeded to get out of their cars and the fight escalated until they came to blows. After it reached that point, it didn't take long for them to take out guns, and they ended each other's lives.
I have no doubt that both individuals had accumulated a lot of emotional baggage that they had not bothered to throw away, and when they least expected it the baggage overwhelmed and destroyed them. They could no longer bear the weight of all that pain, bitterness, and the troubles of life. They died consumed by their awful bitterness, leaving their families and loved ones in terrible pain, all because they didn't take out their garbage.
How do we get rid of our emotional baggage or refuse? My first suggestion is that daily we decide to get rid of it so it does not accumulate. Every day, before bedtime, make sure you are at peace with yourself and with everyone in your life. It is so much easier to take out the trash in small portions than to wait until it is too much for you to carry alone. The sooner we deal with the pain, disappointment, resentment or hatred, the sooner we will recover our peace.
Obviously, some events in life will require a longer or slower process to heal. A divorce, abandonment, disappointment in love, death, fraud, and betrayal are all circumstances that cause painful and unpredictable emotions. These are emotions that many of us can't handle by ourselves. For many, it will require professional help and a steady determination to not allow the pain a
Here are some practical steps to take:
1. Pray. When we entrust our lives to God, we realize how small our problem is when compared to His greatness and this keeps everything else in perspective.
2. Make a list of the events or persons that caused you the most pain and add all the details you can remember. Then write a letter to that person about the situation and your feelings and finalize it by letting them know you forgive them. Afterward, destroy the letter. Make sure that no one else would be able to read it. We don't want to hurt anyone else with what hurt us.
3. Exercise. Make your cardiovascular system work. This will help you get rid of all that emotional garbage through your pores.
4. Seek the advice of someone who is impartial to the situation and who is capable of giving good advice. Many times, we trust someone and share our hurts with someone who is bitterer than we are and all we accomplish is to double out anger and bitterness.
"Ding… ding." What's that sound? It's the sound of my imaginary bell announcing the imminent arrival of the emotional garbage truck. Take advantage of this time, pick up all your emotional garbage, and let us all help make sure that you are totally free of it. Don't let too much time pass or you might miss the garbage truck!
Marcos Witt grew up in Mexico as a son of Missionaries. He is a recognized musician, psalmist, composer, writer, and conference speaker. Marcos has received two Latin Grammys in the category of Christian Music. He is founder of CanZion Institute, a school dedicated to the training of Worship Ministers and was named Senior Pastor of the Hispanic congregation at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas in 2002.