I’ve been thinking a lot about mousetraps lately.

Not because we have a rodent problem (thankfully!), but because of unforgiveness.

When I have unforgiveness or offenses towards someone, they become like loaded mousetraps in my life.  The smallest thing bumps into them and – WHAM – they explode with a burst of anger, fear, self-pity, or manipulation.

Mousetrap_01.jpg

My kids are misbehaving? WHAM – I start to control and lay down ultimatums.

I feel overwhelmed? SNAP – I become a forgotten, mistreated, overlooked, and worthless waif riddled with anxiety.

The children respond defiantly?  BOOM – I’m suddenly toe-to-toe with anger and fear.

How do I get rid of the mousetraps?  I want to be free of these painful spots in my life, even if I have tended and fed the wounds and offenses for years.  Funny thing about that…the longer I hold on to offenses or protect wounds, the deeper they sink into my identity.  When it comes time to face the truth, it’s harder to let go of them because I believe it’s now a part of who I am – I’ve earned the right to be offended or wounded and I’ve worked so hard to keep it that way.

Forgiveness.

Over the past few days, when I realized a mousetrap has sprung, I start saying, outloud, a short reminder prayer that I forgive that person who said that one comment about my parenting years ago, or I release the offense against the other person who did something that hurt me.  Then, I remind myself the truth of freedom – I am not giving that person, that offense, or that comment any power over me any more because forgiveness has taken it away.  Then, as much as possible, I speak some sort of truth – that my kids are loved because I love them, or that I’m feeling overwhelmed but I can ask for help.

I probably won’t be able to live a life free of those scurrying, furry critters – the mistakes and comments and piercing arrows that come into my life. I can take responsibility to get rid of the mousetraps.

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