I’ve always known that “playing possum” means being so still and quiet that people are fooled into thinking you’re either not there or dead. It is the way opossums protect themselves from danger. Rather than run or attack, they curl up in a ball and pretend they are dead. A few years ago I saw it happen.
My big White German shepherd was digging at the back fence and barking ferociously. When I investigated, I noticed this long tailed creature tightly curled up among the weeds between the fence and the neighbor’s garage wall. Realizing the critter was “playing possum” from my dog; I pulled Aladdin in the house but went back out quietly about 15 minutes later. Still there; still tightly curled. Another hour went by and it was the same thing. I checked one more time before bed and he was still there. So I wrongly concluded that the animal really was dead – it sure looked that way. But in the morning he was gone and I had been fooled just like he hoped.
Sometimes when we are deeply hurt, WE play possum. We pull ourselves up into an emotional ball and protect ourselves from everyone around us. We pretend nothing bothers us, we keep our hurt within ourselves and suffer silently. Years of tightly holding everything in takes its toll and over time we feel like a part of our heart dies. The opossum eventually uncurls himself and walks away free but some of us never do.
There is a way out if you sense that you have been playing possum over some issue in your life for a long time. I’m not saying it will be easy. It will require honesty and maybe some pain. You will need the Lord’s help as you face things that hurt pretty badly still. Have confidence in believing you can cast “all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)
The opossum knows that he isn’t really dead-just pretending. Start uncurling yourself now and begin to live again.
Here’s the audio version: