Always, God shows us the root of our issues in our hearts, and one of the few things that He has shown me that needs changing is my bitterness. If you personally know me, I tend to conceal my bitterness even though I genuinely encourage others. But, if you don’t know me, then I am just some gal sharing a struggle on a public blog and social media.
I never knew it was a struggle until I noticed how I had been feeling the past few years. I think that my bitterness started to surface the more I allowed my expectations in different situations or people to become unmet. I knew that I needed to discover the root of my bitterness because I would not be able to become healed within if I did not know how or what to pray for during this struggle.
Bitterness disguised its way in my life as me helping others and the opportunities that became paused in my life. I viewed myself as a selfless woman who did not need anything in return when I opened my heart up to friends in need or patiently wait for the moment to share my gifts God blessed me with for others to experience.
As a result, I became used, pushed aside, and ultimately ignored, which hurt because I thought I was accepted for how I shared compassion and encouragement to others in need. I never opened up about how that made me feel, and I have forgiven right now because I felt God nudging me to forgive and move forward into what He wanted me to do- writing and photography.
With my writing and photography, I expected to be further than I am now (don’t worry, this isn’t a pity post), and I realize now that how I felt from my negative experiences, with a few individuals in the past few years, that bitterness prevented me from putting forth my attention to what I have joy in doing for God. My thoughts were overcome with, “No one wants to look at, listen to, or read what you have to share. You haven’t even finished your Bachelor’s degree, so why do you think you qualify to write or to become a photographer when you keep putting college on the back burner?”
Once I had my heart to heart with God, I realized that as long as what I do is in His will, I need not to worry about the outcome in what I do because God makes the impossible happen.
Understanding and learning what bitterness was doing to and within me helped me learn about it in a spiritual way. I had started a Bible study on the book of Ruth, and when Naomi loses her husband and sons, she told another to call her Mara (Ruth 1:20). If you look up the definition of bitter, it has “mara” listed among terms describing bitter or bitterness. I had known what the book of Ruth was about, but I didn’t know that part about Mara for Naomi. That was the first nudge from God that I needed to address my bitterness.
And, before I wrote this post and read in the book of Ruth, I had prayed for God to show a struggle in my heart that He needed to chip away into something He desires for me. Bitterness, to me, carries a vast amount of baggage- spiritual baggage- that affects our minds and physical bodies. There was a heaviness I felt within me before realizing that bitterness had a hold on me, and once I prayed and forgave for the offenses that were done knowingly and unknowingly to me, the burden lifted up and I knew I needed to share what was on my heart because someone reading this has been getting that nudge from God.
Though we face endless trials during our lifetime until we see Jesus, what if the bitterness we struggle with keeps us from the opportunities that we have prayed for and we miss them because we are held back from that? Releasing bitterness will allow you and I to make peace with our issues and that becomes the testimony to others.
Have you struggled or do you struggle with bitterness? What do you see God doing in your life to help break you free?