All too often, we fail to give ourselves time to heal. We believe that somehow, we should be able to bounce back from trauma or adversity in half of the time it took us to become broken in the first place. Please understand that if you are suffering from a lifetime of abuse or neglect, it WILL take more than a few days or a few weeks or even a few months for you to begin to feel like things are actually healing. Once you figure out that you’re hurting, you have to allow your mind, body, and soul to understand why. You have to identify and then remove yourself from the things that continue to cause you pain. You then have to learn new coping mechanisms because your challenges will be different from this point on.
I’ll share an example with you. I grew up in a household that was basically broken. We endured many hardships and those hardships defined the way we dealt with every challenge we faced going forward…if you could call it forward. Long after the “threat” had been removed, I continued to live my life as though I was still fighting the same enemy. As it turns out, I was always fighting the wrong enemy but I didn’t know enough about those things as I needed to know back then. So for many years I unwittingly sabotaged my progress by hanging back when I should have gone forward. I had a tendency to remove myself from the running whenever it looked like I would have to put myself out there to be recognized. I gave myself a vote of no-confidence and shut down the whole operation without asking if anyone else agreed with my assessment. Basically, I (pardon this horrible pun) threw out the baby with the bathwater and was left feeling bitter and under-appreciated simply because I convinced myself not to try.
Last week, I was sitting in my boss’s office talking about where I wanted to go on my career path when it dawned on me that I had been stuck in survival mode for so long that I had been limiting even my ability to hope for anything more than what I could easily get my hands on. I had fought for so much in my life that I had no desire to fight for a promotion or anything else. In fact, I had gotten comfortable in the mindset that if someone really wanted what I had to offer, then they would need to seek me out to get it. Why should I put myself out there? I’d been hurt enough in this life and it really wasn’t worth inviting the disappointment. After all, if they weren’t looking for me then it must mean I was right about how value-less I thought I was.
As we talked, I began to wonder why it was that I was still functioning in this way. My life is basically good and I have no reason to hold back now. Even the potential pain of rejection could never be as bad as what I’ve already been through. At this point, I’m a pro at deflecting life’s throat-punches. So, what do I really have to lose but my conditioned response to anything that threatens to invade the security of my very insulated bubble? Isn’t it time to get rid of that response anyway? At what point will I stop being afraid to let people know who I am? Even if someone is determined to make me feel like I’m not worth anyone’s time, I’ve learned enough over the years to know that their attitude toward me actually has little to do with my deficiencies and a whole lot to do with their own dysfunction. I can choose to remain their emotional punching bag or I can press through and get my healing and let them wallow in their own brokenness until they figure out that they need healing of their own.
This isn’t about hating anyone or making someone feel bad for hurting me. It’s about refusing to let someone else’s brokenness define my view of myself. This extends into the realm of forgiveness as well. If I’m ready to move past the hurt, but someone wants to keep me there because they don’t want to heal, I need to RUN toward my Healer. People can drag us down by refusing to support us as we change and grow. Whether we are the one who was hurt or the one who hurt someone, when we are ready to heal we should let nothing and no one stand in our way. And we won’t be healed immediately, so we must understand that there will be people around us who refuse to believe that we are changing because they aren’t seeing a complete and immediate transformation. We may know that we are changing and healing, but we may be the only ones who can tell that it is happening.
The bottom line here is that healing takes time and it is a very personal process. No one else can tell you when you are healed or if any healing is actually taking place. Only you will know where you stand on this particular path. You and God. So, when you’re ready for a change, go to God and ask Him where to begin. Listen for His guidance and give yourself time to understand it. Seek out those who will help you on this journey. You can heal and you will heal. Trust Him in all things. May God bless you!
Please let us know how we can pray for you. We are here to offer support where we can. Send your questions, comments or prayer requests to us here. We will never publish your name or comments without your consent, but we will add you to our daily prayer list and ask God to support you in your healing.
Are you hanging onto something that you need to let go of? Is it obvious to you that the way you’ve been doing something is not having the desired impact on your life? If so, then make some changes. In order to grow, we have to prune ourselves…yes, I said prune. You cannot grow if you are holding onto old, dysfunctional pieces of yourself that smother the new ideas and goals that you are trying to set. Dead things need to go. Things that are bearing no fruit need to go. Is it time to move? Is it time to change jobs? Get an education? Even get a new haircut? What do you need to change in order to get past the last season of your life? You have to let the seasons change. It’s the only way to ensure that new growth will occur.
I’ll be hosting a new class starting in April where we will talk about how to break out of old patterns and set a course for a new season in life. Wise Up to Rise Up is a six week workshop designed to help you figure out where you stand and where you need to step. I hope you will join me for this course. Workbooks are available here. Get your copy and join us online. More information will be released in mid-March, so check back soon for call-in details and class days and times.