Going Green

Ramon Hampton   -  

Growing up trash was trash to me. After I ate the candy bar, drank the can of soda, or finished off the last of the milk, the remains went into the closet waste bin. I didn’t have much consideration as to what was waste and what was recycle. For me, unconsciously, after the obvious purpose for what was wrapped or contained, I never considered the value of what covered and preserved it. This rhythm of living and thinking is more prevalent than we care to admit (and I am not talking about our physical trash). It’s in our music, television shows, movies and conversations. Usually after a breakup, firing,or some sort of disappointment, we are

constantly instructed and encouraged to “move on.” To “let it go,” or to “leave the past behind.” Most of the time this advice is well intentioned but I believe, if done too hastily, it is also ill advised. The reality is you can “move on” without “moving forward.” In this life we will face trials, disappoints and heartbreak. It’s unavoidable. As a follower of Jesus I would love to tell you that I am or you will be exempt from this reality, but that wouldn’t be true. It is in our nature to remove what hurts us as far away as possible.

My friend, I wouldn’t love you if I didn’t tell you that there are challenges and trials we will have to encounter. Our cocoon of comfort can swiftly become a coffin to the God given purpose inside of us. Not all medicine goes down easy. Even though surgery corrects, it still cuts and you still have to recover. Manure stinks but it produces. I know these truths are not pleasant to accept but they are necessary to concede to.

Ask yourself, “What can be learned from that past experience or relationship? How can I grow from what I’m currently facing?” In some cases, for some of you, you may be saying, “Ramon, it wasn’t my fault!” or even, “They had no right!” I know. You’re right. I’m so sorry you had to experience that, but the trash is in your yard. How long will we allow it to sit on the lawn of our soul? To continue to pollute our perspective, causing us to wreak, as well as wreck the people, positions, promotions and most importantly the peace in and around our lives? Our pain has a place, but that place is not everywhere.

You do not have to handle the pain of your past or the perplexities of your present alone. You no longer have to carry the weight of worry or remain stuck by an anchor of anxiety. There is a loving God that begs of us, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7. Some see the Bible as one big rule book that we are left to decode, pull up our proverbial bootstraps and apply to our lives. Actually, I’ve yet to find one verse where Jesus tells us, “Just use your willpower, tough it out and find a way to deal with your junk, ok?” In fact, it is quite the opposite all throughout the life of Jesus. Jesus offers rest but not avoidance for an exhausted soul (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG). He offers peace but not emotional procrastination for a frantic mind (John 16:33). I don’t know where you are on the belief spectrum so I don’t blame you if you’re asking, “Why would God want or care about my pain, hurt and fears?” It is because he loves you passionately. He knows you. He knows all that is good for us may not feel good to us (like wind sprints). Like parents of a new walking baby, he allows us to fall from time to time. There is purpose in our pain. Give it to Jesus, the great recycler; taking what was worthless to us and making it priceless for us.