When I was younger my mom always told me not to pick my scabs. “They are going to scar if you pick them. Then you will have them your whole life.” I remember always looking at my scrapped knee or my skinned elbow and wondered if that was really true. Would I have a permanent scar? Why couldn’t I just pick them a little? The only thing I knew about scars was from my chicken pox marks dabbled around my legs, because apparently I couldn’t keep my little fingers away from them. But the unknowns about this for the rest of your life scar threat would be enough to hold me off from picking the scab, at least for a few days.
But I could never resist. I never would pick the whole scab at once. First it would just start with a little corner. A small chunk stuck under my fingernail and of course, I would start bleeding. I was always nervous I would be caught. But I would only pick that one tiny spot. No one would notice. I actually remember having the words “It just fell off” ready to go if I was asked.
But I never could stop with just one part of the scab. Once I started, I had an invitation to start picking more of it. Before I knew it, the whole scab was ripped off, my knee was all bloody and I was frantically trying to hide it as to avoid another scarring lecture.
My willpower to resist was never really good. I didn’t want to want to pick the scab, but when tempted with its crusty covering, I rarely said no. I know some of you are cringing right now and you were probably the kid who didn’t find immense satisfaction in picking their scabs. I salute you.
You may be wondering why I am talking about this. Well, I had a bad day the other day. It was the end of the week, one of those weeks that had far too many pregnancy announcements smushed within a short period of time. They flew in like hot cakes, one on top of the other, stacking higher and higher. A phone call, a facebook message, a newsfeed announcement, a text … each one caught me off guard. Don’t get me wrong, I am genuinely happy for each one of them. They have to opportunity to start or expand their family, have made it through the scary first trimester and are able to begin celebrating with others. As someone on this side of things, I am grateful for the pain they don’t have to endure as a result of wanting to be pregnant and not being able to be. But with every announcement and joy filled response, I allowed self pity to seep into my spirit. The recipe for my poor attitude is as follows:
Mix 1 part complaining pregnant friends with 2 parts of poor sleep. Add in 1 caffeine headache and combine with another pregnancy announcement. Add a dash of gray skies and take away any signs of sunshine. Top it off with a sprinkle of feeling sorry for yourself and you have the perfect recipe for a blah day!
I laid in bed the other night, fully acknowledging my funk. I was a little mad that Josh wasn’t validating my cranky attitude and followed up my miserable comments with reminders about contentment and gratitude. The hard part was that I knew he was right. It isn’t like me to get so down and I truthfully am blaming some of it on the depressing Minnesota winter. (I need sunshine!!!). But here’s what happened. I started to pick the scab on my heart.
As soon as I started with the “woe is me, it will never be me” thoughts, I picked the corner of the scab that was covering my heart. I actually remember thinking “Don’t do this. Don’t go there. Don’t sit in this funk. You know better. You are stronger than this. Stop! Stop! Stop!” But the devil on my shoulder, the one that knew to attack me at 11:00 pm after a long week whispered the words “Go big or go home. Pick it. Pick the scab.”
And I hate to say it, but I picked.
I realize how stupid this sounds, but I intentionally laid there thinking about everything I was sad about.
My January 27th due date. Next week. I should be 39 weeks pregnant right now. I should be getting ready to go into labor.
My last due date – September 2. I should have a 4 and a half month old.
How grateful I would be to have any baby I was blessed enough to carry.
Words said that were not meant to be hurtful, but hurt. Stewing over the pain the words caused.
(I won’t continue because I don’t need to go there again – you get the picture.)
So I laid there, miserable and of course crying, and I kept thinking STOP PICKING THE SCAB. One side of my brain begin to list all the blessings I had, which are an enormous amount, and the bully side said “Do that tomorrow. Let’s keep thinking of things we are sad about.”
Our scabs are meant to be protective coverings over wounds. Coverings created so that our body can heal. But on this night, I didn’t want to be healing. I wanted to sit and stare at my bloody heart and recall the pain I was in.
It was so stupid. No one should ever intentionally try to inflict pain on themselves. I look back now and regret it, because it set my heart backwards. My heart now is trying to rebuild the scab and the words of pain, discouragement and frustration will now find it easier to penetrate as that protective covering is thinner.
Here’s the lesson I learned though – we have to let the scab heal. We can’t pick it daily. We can’t fill our day with negative thoughts, replaying hurtful comments, and spend time feeling sorry for ourselves. Because if we do that, we will never get to the point where our scab heals and our wounds are strong enough to resist picking. If we continue to pick away at our hearts, they will scar. We will turn into bitter people, people who can only see the glass as half empty and spend far too much time feeling sorry for ourselves.
We were never created to live life like that.
We are called to be people filled with joy. Filled with kindness. We are called to be thankful to our Father for everything He has blessed us with and stop looking at everything we want differently. What an insult it is to our Creator when we constantly tell Him the plan that He artfully created for our life isn’t good enough. We want THEIR plan!!! Wahhh! And little do we know, but those people are crying Wahhh, we want THEIR plan! It’s a domino effect of wanting when we lose contentment with what we have. Sure, we may have suffered losses – the loss of a job, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a child, the loss of a dream or reality we wished for – but I think we far too often equate contentment with happiness. Because the truth is, we will never be fulfilled with the earthly things we desire. A baby ISN’T going to make my life more joyfilled. Sure, I may feel it will fill a hole of longing, but I know with it will come more needs, wants, worries …. The secret to life is being content in HIM.
I think true contentment is the bandaid to the heart. It is what will stop the temptation from picking the scab and it’s what will allow us to heal.
I love the Message translation of Philippians 4:11-13. It says:
“I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”
What powerful words! The incredible thing about this passage is that Paul was writing this letter from prison. Midst the many trials in his life, many so extreme that we will never face, he knew that he could be content only with Christ.
As my heart scab begins to mend, I am thankful to be reminded that the source of my satisfaction, my strength, my hope, and my joy is in Him alone. All the things we desire may be good things, but only Jesus can satisfy.
Don’t pick your scab today. I wish I had been strong enough that night to resist the temptation to rip it off. Sitting in misery does NOTHING for your joy and will only set yourself backwards. Next time I am tempted, I will pick up my phone and scroll through the verses I have bookmarked in my YouVersion Bible app and find strength in HIM.
There you go. That’s enough scab talk for the day. Just be thankful I didn’t include any scab visuals. Ewwwwww.
Now the time you have all been waiting for …. The winner of my first Blog Giveaway! I loved how many people participated – we had over a few hundred entries! But without further ado, congratulations to my dear friend and follower Amie F. on being the randomly selected winner! I will contact you shortly to finalize the mailing.
Now, let’s get out there and have a good day! Stop right now and think of 5 things you are thankful for. If you need accountability to do this, list them in the comment section. Five things. Let’s stew in gratitude today. We are so blessed.