19 Dec “Christmas Crud”
I recently got to talk to and pray with a girl who has been hurt by her mom and dad. She’s went through a lot in 8 years. Physical abuse and sexual abuse, all under the delusional dichotomy that she “deserved it” and “asked for it”. Due to the overloaded, underfunded social service programs in this country, she will have a supervised visit with her mom and dad for Christmas, who have never served one day in jail for their crimes. She’s feeling anxiety and fear at having to see them again after such horrible things have occurred.
She wanted to know if it was okay to be mad at her parents? She wanted to know if it was okay to still love her parents? She wanted to know if she would ever feel okay again?
She’s 8 years old and she’s already got CHRISTMAS CRUD!
She’s not alone.
This got me thinking about the Christmas season and because I love to know what’s going on inside peoples’ hearts, I began unofficially polling people about their own CHRISTMAS CRUD.
I heard it all.
“My family lives to get drunk every Christmas. The party doesn’t start until fists fly.”
“My parents adore my sister but criticize everything I do. We could dress our kids in the exact same outfits but somehow her kids are perfect and my kids are going to end up on America’s Most Wanted. I’m never good enough.”
“My father can’t be in the same room with my mother so we usually sit them at opposite ends of the table. But no matter what we do, they always end up tearing each other apart until everyone is shouting and crying.”
“My brother’s family is always late. But my mom never stops to point out how wonderfully thoughtful they are and how everyone else needs to ‘get their act together’. Do you know how many times I’ve heard, ‘why can’t you be more like our brother?'”
When I asked, “Have you ever told them how you feel,” there was an immediate outbreak of cackles and eyebrows raised as if to say, “you’re kidding me, right?” One guy said, “It’s always been like this. I just keep my mouth shut and try not to rock the boat.” One lady said, “It’s not going to change anything, so why even bother?”
That, my friends, is CHRISTMAS CRUD.
During the holidays, we sometimes find ourselves pushed into situations where we’re in the same room with those that have hurt us. It’s the anxiety of potentially seeing these people again, wondering what will happen in those moments – that has created a “chaotic” stress-filled season. What will they say? What will I say? Should I finally tell them off? Will they judge me again? Will it get ugly? Is it okay if I take a rolling pin to their fa-la-la? 😉
So is it okay to be mad? Yes.
The bible says to be angry but sin not. So how in the heck do we do that? Well it’s that ol’ CRUD again, isn’t it? It’s choosing to deal with it in truth, taking it to God and sometimes taking it to the person who hurt you. It’s doing all that you do through God’s filter. His heart. His words. His way. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was look at the person who hurt me and say these words to their face…”It hurt me when you…” There were times when the person literally laughed in my face at my audacity to say anything to them out loud. Sometimes the person would blame ME for causing them to treat me so poorly to begin with. Sometimes, the person was genuinely remorseful. It didn’t matter what their response was. What mattered is that I said the truth of how I felt and then I forgave them. Period. *Side note-depending on how deep the hurt runs, the time that it takes to deal through it with Jesus varies from person to person. I would never attempt to tell anyone how “LONG” this process should take. I would also not rush the process unless it is 100% Jesus driven. In other words, you don’t want to hash it out with the person who has hurt you unless you’ve talked to God first. And you don’t want to say “I forgive you” when you truly haven’t done so. Truth only.
Is it okay to still love someone who has been so toxic and abusive to your life? Yes.
But with the protective shield of God’s word. His word is the window that we filter all of that emotion and discernment through. It doesn’t help to enable someone to keep treating you in a way that is against God’s word.
Standing up for yourself and saying, “I will not allow you to treat me this way anymore,” is really a powerful thing.
When I was at home with my mother being beaten, starved and locked in my room, I made the decision to sneak out of my bedroom and call the police. I was 12. That decision, was to this day, one of the most powerful moments of my life. It took me weeks to decide to do it. I was scared out of my mind. I can vividly remember my heart beating out of my chest, the fear and the anguish of not knowing what was going to happen to me. Where would I live? What would my mother do to me when she found out I turned her in? Would I be okay? Would anyone else ever love me besides her? It remains one of the greatest decisions of my life. It changed everything. Does that mean that I stopped loving my mom? NO. I love her. I always will. But she will never be allowed to have the power or control over my life. That is GOD’s job.
Will you ever feel okay again? Yes.
IF…you do the work. Dealing with crud is hard work, baby. Satan wants to trick us with lies about who we are and who God is. Satan wants us to think that God isn’t really who He says He is. And that He doesn’t mean what He says He means. When we are hurt by someone, we must go to God’s word and whether we “feel like it or not” we must choose to believe it. There’s been many times that I wasn’t “feeling” it. But that doesn’t change ANYTHING. His word is TRUE. We choose to believe it or not. All of us have been hurt by someone, maybe they tried to manipulate us by using harsh criticism or maybe they guilted us into doing what they wanted us to do. Maybe they said horrible things to us in hopes of making themselves feel better. Maybe they hit you and said it was your fault and that you made them do it. No matter what someone else does, doesn’t change God’s truth or His love for us. My mom said I was a “dirty girl” but Jesus says I am the apple of His eye. My mom said, “NOBODY loves you” but Jesus says “I love you”. We MUST choose to believe His word and meditate on it continually.
What goes in is what comes out. Don’t be afraid to do the hard work to replace the lies with the truth. That’s what dealing with our CRUD is all about.
So what can you do if you find yourself in this situation at Christmas?
Pray. Ask God to help you know what to do and say. Ask Him to give you discernment and wisdom to understand what God’s boundaries are. How much interaction does Jesus want me to have with this person? Am I trying to be “GOD” in this situation or am I letting GOD be GOD in it? Ask Him to protect you and ask Him to reveal Himself every step of the process. And then WATCH WHAT HE CAN DO.
Pour over God’s word so that the truth goes in (replacing the lies) thus helping what comes out. Truth in love. Grace. Mercy. Peace.
Tell the truth of how you feel. If you feel led to speak up and say something to the person that hurt you, be honest, kind, loving and discreet. WHO HAS THE POWER? God does. Not that person. By the same token, you have a mighty weapon yourself called the “tongue”. BE CAREFUL how you use that weapon. Only speak the truth, which is how you feel. You don’t know what was in their heart or how they meant anything. All you can say is what happened and that you felt hurt. Truth. The whole truth and nuttin’ but da truth.
Finally forgiveness is a choice. You can’t control what others do but you can control how you respond. Forgiveness doesn’t happen by pretending the hurt isn’t there or that it didn’t happen. That’s not the truth. Forgiveness means that you deal with the pain, you look at it, acknowledge it and then you release them from the debt that you think they owe you.
One of the greatest tools the Lord Jesus gave to me was this one little question,
“What did you mean by that?”
Not in an angry tone. Not accusatory but a genuine non-emotional question in order to truly find out what that person meant by what they said or did. And then I shut up and wait for them to answer. It’s BRILL, baby. When I have applied that principle, I can’t tell you how many times the person has restructured their statement and they didn’t really mean it the way that I took it. Therefore the root of bitterness never got a chance to dig in and settle. GO GOD!
Christmas is about hope. So don’t worry about Christmas crud. Everyone has some. Believe what God says. Believe what God has done and will continue to do. Don’t be afraid to do the hard work to replace the lies with the truth. That’s what dealing with our CRUD is all about. Walking in spiritual, personal truth is freedom. Don’t let satan steal your joy. And whatever you do, do NOT believe him over JESUS. Ever.
Jesus understands all about dealing with people who hurt him. YOU AND I have hurt Him MANY times. Jesus was and IS the ultimate CRUD DEALER. He always tells the truth and is never afraid to do the hard work – the cross that dealt with ALL sin once and for all.