An airman puts in many flying hours in order to understand his aircraft, to practice hitting targets, to ensure he is one with his plane. He’s to be able to make decisions in a split second and follow orders because of the time in the pilot seat and the time in the classroom. He’s been prepped, briefed, and practiced for his mission. He knows what to do if he loses an engine. He knows what to do if he’s shot. He knows what happens if he ejects from the cabin and is captured. He also knows self-aid care to care for himself or a buddy. He’s prepared for when his job comes and he has to fly over enemy territory and drop his bombs and strafe on a specific target. He follows his orders, then flies back to the safety of his base. Later on the pilot sits in debriefing and finds out he hit his target, but there was also another building demolished. It included major civilian casualty. Those civilians weren’t the intended target, yet they were hit. They were collateral damage.
Death, injuries, or other damage inflicted on an unintended target. That is collateral damage.
We may not be the airman dropping the bombs, but we all have bombs we carry. Sin. The sin we carry will always have collateral damage on those who love us.
We don’t intend to hurt others, but they get hurt because of the snare Satan’s set for us. I have been hurt deeply, because I was collateral damage. It wasn’t anything I did, nor anything the person did on purpose to hurt me. But I was hurt.
It’s interesting to see how God prepared my heart for the position I found myself in. He prepped me by lighting a fire under my tail for some specific words that would become my life source.
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate;
when he suffered, he made no threats.
Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:23
The weeks and months after being faced with this situation, I was reminded I don’t get to retaliate. I don’t get to threaten. What I do get is even better. I get to entrust, give my whole being and situation over to the One who judges justly. I realized this wasn’t about me. It wasn’t my battle to fight. Yes my feelings were hurt, but this was a spiritual battle and there was more at stake than my feelings.
The culture we live in tells us we can’t stop. We are to go to school, go to college, get married, be a perfect wife, mother and career woman, best volunteer, and best Christian (whatever that means) as we can be. But get this, if we recognize we can’t take it all on and choose to slow down, take care of our health physically and spiritually, we are seen as weak or entitled or lazy.
I usually keep moving. Keep going. I don’t stop doing especially when I’m the most hurt. But this time I chose to stop and everything that could be stopped was. I chose that time to sit in the hurt. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. When we sit in the hurt, we have to feel. I don’t like to feel. My world was crashing all around me and yet all I wanted to do was get up and do something for others so I didn’t feel so bad about myself.
I also think we don’t take time to acknowledge the hurt we’re dealing with because of fear. Fear we’d lose all control. Fear we’d be found out. Fear of shame. Fear we’d lose friends or loved ones. Fear of the judgement we know will come.
With the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain as of recent, watching season two of 13 Reasons Why, being in the next county south of a school shooting, knowing so many people have so many hidden demons within them, we need to be the change of our culture. We need to realize people are broken, hurting, and there’s always another layer to someone we know and love. We need to realize it’s not just people. It’s us too. It’s you. It’s me. We are broken and have down times. Times we need others to pull us up.Then take our turn when they are down. Are you, am I, willing to be the hands and feet of Christ, bestowing the type of love Jesus did on that cross for us? The type of love and sacrifice he had while walking this earth? Life isn’t about social media. Life isn’t about our image portrayal. It’s about the actual life we live.
Living the life I say I believe: I will continue to portray the hard and the real because it isn’t my story to share. I want what I go through to be an inspiration to others to continue to look to Jesus. This is where real strength comes from. I want everyone, women especially, to find their strength in Jesus. I want people to see me and see Jesus’ work. Not my own.