Stress, stress, stress! Everyone deals with it on a daily basis regardless of your age, profession, or current situation. How we deal with this stress illustrates our personality and determines the outcome of our day. One thing that can compound your stress are difficult relationships. We are created for relationships, love and growth, unfortunately most of us try to function in a damaged manner in relationships. Wounds from past friendships via betrayal, feelings of abandonments, loss may have cut deep wounds that have yet to heal. Instead of addressing it, our pride urges us to hide or stay numb to it; which is "functioning in a damaged manner". As a child I was told a story of how a man would hammer nails into a fence every time his son would hurt him. Every time the boy asked for forgiveness, the man would take out the nail, but no matter what the gaping hole would remain as a memory of the pain. Emotional pain has a way of leaving long lasting affects which we try to numb with the business of life, unfortunately we find ourselves back at square one when the business dies down. In order to have genuine healing from these old wounds, we must not fear but acknowledge our wounds in order to overcome them. If you had a cut on your hand you would tend to it, likewise we have to tend to our emotional wounds by next cleansing the wound. This may be done by talking through your issue with a trusted friend or by simply spending time in prayer for strength and discernment. When we choose not to acknowledge and cleanse our wounds we enter into bitterness which we unknowingly pour out onto those around us. These overlooked wounds can lead to a callused and corrupted heart which prevents us from flourishing in our walk. So that means the next step is to forgive. What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is truly attained by handing ourselves and the other person over to God because only God can restore our hearts and endow ultimate healing. Human forgiveness provides mere words, but the memory of the offense lasts a lifetime. God can only provide us the ability to ultimately forgive in order for us to let it go. Sometimes I have told myself, I'm not mad at God I would never be mad at God, I'm just mad at myself or the situation. I recently read from the book Stronger than You Think and these words were thought provoking " We do hate God, all of us I think. On the sly. If we dare not hate the Giver, we do dare hate his gifts. We hate his world, or we hate ourselves. When we shut our eyes to every reason we have for being glad to be alive, when we resent good things that happen to our friends, when our hearts stifle every happy impulse, we are nurturing a passive hatred of God." Mind= Blown Away! So stop blaming yourself, others, and God. There are so many obstacles that hinder us from growth don't let these old wounds be one of them. "When we forgive, we set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner that we set free was us." -Lewis Smedes Set yourself free and just move on.