Author | Speaker | Encourager


How Giving Up Our Rights Brings Freedom

tent-779602_640Quite a few years ago we went on a long road trip. Family reunion in Canada, a lovely sojourn to Wallowa Lake and then visited friends as we meandered back home.

There was very little grousing from the short people in the backseat as we wound our way up over mountains and down through canyons. That gave us much to be thankful for (we cleaned out the public library the day before we left).

It was perfectly delightful in most ways.

But TDH wasn’t his normal cheerful, fun-loving self. This was due to the fact that bouncing and dragging behind the trailer the entire 2000 miles of our travels were the stresses and worries from several things back home.

It reminded me of that commercial, “Don’t leave home without it.” Well, trust me, I wished we had.

He was really great, mostly. Just a teensy Jekyll and Hyde-ish at times. Nothing we couldn’t live with, until the afternoon he got irritated at something I’d done.

All my defenses locked into place and I went into glacial mode. Ice queen reigneth.

Warm connection was replaced by short, clipped conversations with minimal eye contact. I withdrew into my cave, and felt completely justified in pulling back.

After all, I hadn’t done anything wrong.

Oh, how the smug get humbled.

I was stewing in the trailer when the Lord gently cleared his throat. He reminded me that TDH wasn’t being prickly on purpose. The more prickly, the more love he needed. Loving words and loving touch.

Rather than complaining about him being a bump on a log, I needed to polish the burl. (For those of you that don’t know, a burl is a growth on a tree that has an unusual grain and is beautiful when polished).

After the Lord patiently let me stutter through a litany of buts (“But, he…”), I headed back outside.

Do you know how hard it is to be nice when you feel wronged? When you’ve already decided that he needs to make the first move toward reconciliation?

coast-631925_640I felt like a rusty old pump. Loving words jammed and crowded in my throat, coming out in spurts and muttered sputters. But I kept that pump handle moving.

The more I walked in faith, knowing I was doing the right thing, the more my feelings started to follow. Pretty soon, I wanted to love on him. Wanted to encourage and help smooth those pricklies down.

And then we were laughing.

When I let go of my rights—–my right to be mad and my right to wallow in my hurt—–God’s grace could start to work.

That opens the door to freedom and connection.


Father, help me to let go of my rights when love is the greater goal. Teach me how to let You be my vindicator and protector. And show me how to love when love isn’t deserved and hasn’t been earned. Help me to stop keeping score and trust You to meet my needs. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Photos via Pixabay


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