Somebody almost walked away with all of my stuff… Packed up in a paperbag… Somebody almost ran off with all of me tucked underneath their armpit, and they didn’t even know they had me!
That’s a bit of the poem there in the movie “For coloured girls” by Tyler Perry. I must admit, that poem gives me goosebumps each time I read or hear it, because it’s too close to home for comfort. I think of all the past relationships I have had, how at the end of each one I have sat down with my girlfriends, calling the poor guy all sorts of names, talking about how much of a loser he was anyway, how he wasted so much of my time and how he would not be able to tell a good thing even if it hit him in the face! We toast to this and I go to bed feeling better about myself and how I just am too good for the riff raff that’s out there anyway. [Insert sassy click of fingers right here, hmm!]
But then, trust God to always gently turn your heart towards himself. To always reveal to you bits of yourself that once they come into the limelight will look so foreign that you barely recognize them as bits of your heart. You can hardly believe this is who you are. The very first thing God was kind enough to shed light on was the fact that actually, it takes two to tango. I had contributed just as much firewood as the other person in setting up this blazing furnace which now consumed me.
For you see, right from the beginning, and I mean the very beginning, you see every red flag waving at you. You see how curt he is with other people, but you find it amusing. You see how badly he treats his parents or siblings, but of coz, you take his side, because “I mean, come on guys, you don’t understand what those people are like. They are simply horrible.” You see how his life doesn’t have much of the fruit of the spirit in it, but then again we say “oi, it’s not like anyone is perfect right?” Sometimes, if you are lucky enough to have really honest friends, they will tell you,kindly point out a few issues they see, but most times we choose to ignore these issues, and instead will begin to shy away from the friends that will have pointed out the cracks in our perfect painting.
Then, slowly, reality begins to creep in, as pheromones and all the feel-good hormones begin to wear off. We begin to see that actually, we don’t like his temper. We don’t like the way he is all so jovial when we are out and about with his friends, but suddenly turns solemnly sulky when it’s now just the two of us. We begin to realize that even the things we were happy to gloss over, actually, we are not happy with at all! But we think to ourselves “ah! Vele we have come this far together, I have already given you too much of myself, too much of my time and people already know and associate us as a couple, so hey… In for a penny in for a pound right?”
So we allow the relationship to continue. Only now, because we have that much more to prove to people, to ourselves even, we begin to give even more of ourselves. To empty ourselves and sacrifice ourselves so much so that we give and give and give without him asking us to give that much of ourselves. When we don’t get anything in return, we slowly begin to resent the other party for not reciprocating our very selfless love. We even tell our friends “To think of all the things I have done for him! And this is how he repays me?”
I have said the above line several times,concerning many different types of relationships not necessarily romantic ones only. Then suddenly one day it hit me; ‘Who asked me to give that much of myself? Who asked me to empty myself and my life and my whole being into this person?’ The truth left me shell shocked it really took a while to recover from it. Because you see, the naked truth simply was that No one had asked me to. I gave of myself willingly and kept giving and giving and giving, yet no one at all was asking this of me. It was all me! So when the realization of how much I had given off of myself hit me, I would bitterly shut the door and accuse the other party of taking and taking away from me, yet I gave it to them. Somebody almost walked away with all of my stuff, packed up in a paperbag which I packed!!! Which I packed, and I handed this paperbag over to them!! Smh!
The first part any form of healing is to identify the problem. Once I realized that actually, the problem was not that someone almost walked away with all my stuff, but that I was the one who had packed and handed over all of me, all of myself to a stranger that I had no business handing over my innermost being to, once I realised this, God really broke my heart and brought me unto repentance. He opened up my eyes to see oh so clearly just how much I had contributed to the mess I ended up finding myself in. How the scattered broken pieces of my heart had been as a result of my willingly handing over the knife to my assailant who would then stab me in the chest with it.
Once that truth flowed within me and sank in and touched my heart, I began to see even more clearly through God’s word his loving heart for me. He began to truly open up my eyes to the fact that red flags were warning signs for me: to run, to jealously guard over my heart from future pain and bitterness, to leave before I had invested too much of myself and my time. Guard your heart, for from it flows the springs of life. For you see oh precious one of God, someone can only walk away with all of your stuff if you have given it to them!