Preserved: Put down your brick!

March 15, 2018 in Religion

By Shewanda Riley
Columnist

RileyWe all have a story. Perhaps it’s the result of an experience where we learned more about ourselves or where we sawourselves differently after doing something that we said we’d never, ever do. Or maybe the story comes from the joy of finally receiving the blessing that God
promised.

“Everybody has a story but not everyone has to have a brick.” I made this statement speaking at an event in Atlanta nearly a decade ago as a part of Anointed Authors on Tour, the Christian women’s book tour. Even though it had been out for awhile, it was always a challenge for me to creatively describe what my book was about without simply stating “It’s about “getting over getting dumped.”

So not everyone has to have a brick. The “brick” is the thing we hold onto poised and ready to fling when we want to have the
biggest impact. It’s not always a real brick (even though for some of us it might be depending on the situation).

In many instances, the “brick” is the past regrets that we hold onto either because we don’t know what to do with them or we’ve gotten used to holding onto. The “brick” can also be vindictively or self-righteously holding past mistakes against someone else.

Your brick may also be something a little more pleasurable:

Watching television, shopping, eating, gossiping or anything else that keeps you from focusing 100 percent on God. Because you like how it makes you feel, you don’t realize that your pleasure is also becoming a brick.

My “brick” was the years of feeling justified in holding onto negative feelings. I’ve realized after explaining to others how God healed me from those crippling emotions that I helped build the brick that weighed me down.

Exodus describes the children of Israel being forced to make their own bricks while in bondage in Egypt. Exodus 1:14 reminds us how difficult bricks are: “They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their
hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.” We may not be forced to make bricks but we choose to do so when we don’t completely deal with and let go of those things that hurt us.

Eventually, however, those bricks also become burdensome on us. The time you spend talking about somebody (making that brick of character assassination) could be better spent praying for them and for yourself to have more grace in dealing with them.

I also heard Bishop Tony Alvarado in Atlanta, a few years ago, say that God doesn’t want you to forget the past; he wants you to redeem it. Putting down your brick is the first step in redeeming that past and being able to possibly write a story of amazing grace.

Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends.” Email her at preservedbypurpose@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.