Removing the Stone
Removing the Stone

October 19, 2010
Jesus said, “Take Away the Stone” John 11:37a

I asked a friend a few weeks ago, if we could talk so that she could help me sort through some conflicting feelings. I shared with her that I felt that I had a mound of laundry and was picking up one item at a time, folding it and putting it in a particular pile. When each piece was folded I would take the pile to the right destination and put it away.  Bringing this into perspective, I found that my laundry was a pile of hurts. As I folded each hurt I was putting the piles in people’s names. When I was done would I take that stack of hurt and go talk to the person? I didn’t know, maybe or maybe not, but that answer would come later. What I needed to hear from her is that what and how I was dealing with these issues were correct or acceptable. I have been accused of; separating myself, running away, not dealing with things, bitterness, unhappiness, and the list goes on.  

My friend listened and shared some insight. She told me, “You are in a good place, but out of your comfort zone.  Therefore, you feel scared and unsure of yourself.”  She explained that, “You have been in the habit of accepting hurt, and that you believe that is just the way life is, and you don’t deserve any better.” What has happened recently is that I am working on my faulty belief system and I know that I know that I know God loves ME! I could never seem to accept this. I was able to see how he loved others but not me. I wasn’t worth it, and I didn’t deserve His love. I’ve tried to be good, yet lived in defeat by believing and accepting these lies. But I am done! I finally stood up and put a stop to it. It was almost as if I have been held prisoner in shackles down in a dark dungeon. At last, I am being set free and I am standing up, but I am weak from inactivity, scarred from the shackles, and the outside light is making my eyes squint. Yes, I am definitely out of my comfort zone. Isn’t it sad that I feel more comfortable living in a dark dungeon of defeat than living in victory?

After a few weeks of processing her words, and praying for wisdom, I found some insight. Many times these come to me threefold. The first one came at 3:00am Sunday morning as my husband and I were driving out of town. On my iphone, a daily devotion was sent to me regarding being between a rock and a hard place.  It was the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. In order for Jesus to heal Lazarus, the stone had to be removed. There was a stone standing between Jesus and Lazarus, and Jesus just simply instructed, “REMOVE THE STONE”. (John 11:39) Sounds so easy! This early in the morning I wasn’t sure my mind was fully engaged yet, so I prayed.  Lord, do I hear something here? Are you telling me there is a stone standing between you and me?  I looked up on Google what that phrase meant. Here are two definitions:

  • To say that one is stuck “between a rock and a hard place” stresses that there are two forces which are restricting one’s movement. Often it is the opposite direction of these forces that causes the sticking point. One is unable for some particular reason to do something that one would like to do, such as act or not act in a certain way. “I’d like to help you but I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.” To have someone between a rock and a hard place is to have them in a position that causes them to make a choice that they don’t want to make.
  • It means being in a situation where you are stuck between two equally unyielding, unforgiving, and unpleasant options.
  • Obviously my heart and mind went into overdrive. I was trying to put two and two together and at the same time asking, Lord did I hear you? Did you say something to me or is it still too early and I need another cup of coffee?

    The second insight came a few hours later when I went to church. We walked in a few minutes late as they were beginning to sing a hymn. I don’t particularly like hymns, I prefer loud rock music. But as we made our way down the aisle, I smiled inside because even though I don’t like hymns, they are engraved forever in my mind and I can still hum or sing most of them. The church was singing…
    ”At The Cross, At The Cross, Where I First Saw The Light, And The Burden Of My Heart Was Rolled Away……” 
    Wait a minute, rolled away? Rolled away…isn’t that what a large stone does? Didn’t I just hear a few hours ago about removing the stone? “The burden of my heart was rolled away?” Lord, am I hearing this right? Are you showing me that there is a burden of my heart that needs to be rolled away? How do I roll it away?  Help me, because I am afraid and it seems TOO BIG!“  It was not a mistake that I happened to be at that church on Sunday morning or they were singing that hymn. Without a shadow of doubt, I knew that the Lord was saying to me, “Yes, I am showing you something.”

    Unaware that the third insight was unfolding, after the service, we walked to the book store. I purchased a book that I had been wanting; and since it was available and on sale, I figured I would buy it now and read it later. Sunday evening, as my friend and I were waiting for our husbands to return from a fishing trip, I began reading the first chapter to her. Not only did it speak to her as it gave fresh insight on the author that she knows personally, I felt my ground starting to shake. The next morning, my ground was still rumbling.  When a third clue is given, I know I better sit down and wait on the Lord. I knew this was a BIG one, as I felt an internal earthquake coming on.  The book I had purchased was on what happens when a woman lets go of her fears. I knew then that the stone that stood between me and God were all my fears. Some fear is normal and healthy, but I am not talking about the good kind. The fear I knew that had to be rolled away was the “people pleasing” fear.

    I have been so afraid of hurting others that I chose to hurt myself instead. It breaks my heart to see people hurt. I try to avoid it at all costs. So I took the hurt on myself so that others would not be hurt. I also hate and avoid confrontation. So in lieu of a confrontation, I just took whatever was thrown at me and accepted it. I would believe what was said about me, I would never say no, and tried to please everyone. What I am finding today is that it created a lot of pain and it rolled into one big boulder.  It is now blocking my path to the victorious Christian life.  I heard someone say that we as Christians need to have something the world desires. What they want is success and victory. If we live beaten down, hateful, vicious and hypocritical lives, why would they want that? They already live that! Romans
    8:37 states, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” We are more than conquerors, not just conquerors. So what is the deal?

    The deal is: Do what it takes to HAVE and LIVE the victorious life. For me personally, it is taking off the blinders so that I am real, believing that God is who He says He is (and He loves ME), and doing what He leads me to do to remove the stone. I wish it was as easy as getting a stick of dynamite and blowing it up. But honestly, I built this boulder by adding pebbles one by one as I believed wrong things. Although I know that things take time, I am encouraged because I already see progress. 

    Just as this lesson was threefold, the vicious cycle I have lived is three fold. I am hurt and then I am angry and then I cry. And then I am hurt again, and I get angry and I cry. And the beat goes on…..The very thing I feared (hurting people) is the very thing it seems I am doing now.  As much as I don’t mean to, it is appears to be happening.  I absorb hurt; then explode on others in anger; and then feel guilty and wrong; and break down and cry. I truly am sorry if I’ve hurt you, please forgive me. I act and react wrongly, yet I am on the road to a changed life. Please be patient with me as I am totally out of my comfort zone, standing on wobbly legs, and learning a new set of principles. For a while I might be in need of an over abundance of grace. Actually………an idea! Just as Lazarus and Jesus had  stones rolled away, do you want to come to my “rolling the stone away” party? And no, the Rolling Stones will not be performing!