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.
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.
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.