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“Did you get the stinger out?”

A couple weeks ago, I was outside talking with my bro and sis and I was stung by a bee. I was devastated, and I made sure that they knew it. I made a huge deal about it… mainly because it really did hurt. My wrist became swollen and red, and the area began to burn. I even called my mom and dad in Michigan to whine about it (no judgement necessary). See, I hadn’t been stung by a bee since I was in kindergarten… lining up… after recess… (yes, I remember). So apparently, the national bee society decided they’d wait a few

something, something years before they came for my life again… RUDE! It took a couple days for the swelling to go down and though the burning stopped, my wrist itched where the bee tried to eat me alive (I can’t be convinced otherwise). Anyhoo, I thought nothing of it, except that my skin is pretty sensitive and that maybe it was just still irritated by the vicious attack (nope… stop trying to change my mind, I was attacked). For the next couple of days, water seemed to cause irritation, soap made it worse, and any type of clothing rubbing against it made me want to dig the skin off my arm.

A few more days went by and I kinda forgot about the bee sting because it didn’t bother me anymore. The area wasn’t swollen or red and the itching had subsided. That was, until last weekend, when I went to visit my parents. I’d taken a shower and maybe the water was a smidge too hot or maybe I’d rubbed my arm a little too much in that area with soap, but for whatever reason, the spot became swollen again. It itched like crazy and became red again. I mentioned it to my dad that it was bothering me again and he simply said, “well, did you get the stinger out?” Huh??? Well, I hadn’t thought about that part. So, for the next 30 minutes or so, my brother searched for and removed that stinger from my arm. The thing about waiting so long to remove it though, is that instead of it being right on the surface, it had since made its way under my skin. Now there’s a small bruise where it used to be.

When a bee stings you, it leaves the stinger behind. In order to reduce the amount of venom released into your body, you must remove the stinger as quickly as possible. So,

although that bee flew off and died somewhere, it was still releasing its poison into my body because I failed to remove the stinger. It was still affecting me even though it had flown away. This bee was dead, and I was suffering because of it… its mark was under my skin.

My point??? Well, I know you’re wondering and I’m glad about it! See, many of us are suffering with things because of stuff we didn’t let go of and remove from our lives. We deal with pain, anxiety, loneliness, and other symptoms, due to not dealing with things that have happened in our past. No, I am not saying that the pain you feel is your fault, and I am not blaming you for your own anxiety. But there are some cases in which these things could have been voided from your life. Not all, nope, sometimes stuff is beyond our control and we deal with the onset of it later in life. But some things are within our realm of removal. There are some “stingers” in life that we are capable of removing before they begin to lay dormant under our skin, releasing venom for years.

Often, we refuse to let go of that “friend” because we’ve known them for years, although they drain us of energy and resources… stinger. Many times, we know it’s time to let go of that job because we get treated unfairly and we are better qualified elsewhere, but the pay is good so we continue to let that “stinger” sit there and we suffer the exhausting consequences. There are even times when we’ve been stung and we decided to “forget about it”, hoping it would go away. Recently, I had some “stingers” that I had to dig up and remove so that God could take me where He wanted me to be. Those things that I’d put in my “out of sight, out of mind” file, were affecting me in ways that I didn’t realize until God revealed them to me. They were still sitting there, just below the surface, even though those situations had flown away and died.

Sometimes the things that hurt us the most, are the ones we need to choose to face so that we can move on and grow. The Bible says to forget those things which are behind, but we can’t really forget what we pretend was never there. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” (Philippians 3:13). See, we must acknowledge and deal with those things… those “stingers” in order to be able to put them behind us. And no, pretending it didn’t happen or isn’t happening does not count. When you fail to handle something that is hindering you, you then allow yourself to, in some way, hold on to it. If your hands are full of what should be behind you, you cannot, very well, reach for and grasp what is in front of you. I didn’t correctly deal with my bee sting. I let that stinger sit there for two weeks before trying to remove it… two weeks. Now, take my weeks and multiply it by the years that you’ve spent letting that “bumble bee” control your emotions. You gotta deal with it. It may bruise but, bruises eventually go away.

So, forgive. “When you forgive this man, I forgive him too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit,” (2 Corinthians 2:10, NLT).

Pray for them. “Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:28, NLT).

Be free! “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36, NLT).

Remove that stinger so that swelling and irritation can be a distant memory.

Gotta go…

Love y’all (I really do!),

Ms. A.M.White

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