*there is a list of books at the bottom of every post*
We all have a story…. most of us with hurt in our lives are reluctant to tell it… sometimes we are even reluctant to tell it to ourselves.
Much of the time we are unaware of this reluctance. Hiding behind repressed memories is a way of survival for many of us. Our minds take on the self protection task of supressing painful memories and our hearts are grateful. The last thing we want to do is come out of hiding to think about, or talk about, any of it.
Here’s what the mind is capable of – as a preteen, my brothers and I went to stay with our grandparents while mom went back to the hospital for further cancer treatments, life was now like a whole new world for us, absolutely everything changed, for the better. With this change a switch was quietly flipped in my mind; that’s who I was – this is who I am now. My mind, without my conscious permission, literally amputated (and buried, deeper than deep) the painful memories of my first 12 years and then created a new and sanitized version of me. Dad was still in and out of our lives so there was no denying what his life was all about but there was a huge denying of what my life was like while with him. Forgetting the past, looking to the future, was the theme of my life.
The years went by, decades even, and I still lived life as the new sanitized me. Occasionally I thought about my early life, especially during those times when inner healing surfaced as something important to be pursued, definitely a worthwhile exercise for me, but in limited measure.
Even with these new examinations of my life, denial was still a big issue and basically my story was still a secret. Well, maybe not so much a secret as just something rarely mentioned to people close to me, and never mentioned to anyone else.
I don’t think I would have ever bothered changing anything about this view of myself except that life has a way of catching up with you and changing your perspective.
As a society we have long held to the position – what is in the past should stay in the past, stop dwelling on it and move on. What can be gained by dredging up all that old stuff?
It turns out, actually, quite a lot can be gained by facing the past and much can be lost by ignoring it. It turns out that emotional injuries affect the rest of our lives, much like physical injuries do, except that they affect the very core of our being rather than just a single body part, and as a result have a great impact on the whole of our life rather than just a small segment.
Could my life have been different if I had faced all of this stuff earlier? No, I don’t think so, I wasn’t in a place where I could have successfully faced it earlier, and, because my story wasn’t the only story affecting my life, the timing was not right. God knew my mind couldn’t handle facing reality any sooner, so, later was his perfect timing.
Has everything been faced now? Not by a long shot. Have I received healing despite only facing part of my past? Absolutely!
The truth shall set you free has proven true in my life. The telling of my story has had a huge role in my freeing process. Peace has been the reward. Through it all I have been careful about where to share my story and careful about which opinion to listen to after the sharing of my story. And, I’ve learned through all of this, my heart is worth protecting.
If you have never told your story, be sure to look for a safe place to land before sharing your story but do share it. Denial and self protection are jailers that will keep us in bondage behind protective walls. Breaking down the walls can add a new dimension to our relationships and bring peace to our hurting hearts. Telling our story won’t remove the difficult places from our lives but it will bring a measure of relief and start us on a healing journey. The road to healing and peace is not an easy road to travel but it is definitely worth it.
Books have always been a very important part of my healing process and one very helpful book at the beginning of this current 12 year journey was a book called “Love is a Choice -Recovery for codependant relationships” in the Minirth-Meier Clinic Series. It was special to me because it helped me begin to see many important things, including the difference between normal and abusive. We accept familiar as normal because it’s all we know. The truth about what we have accepted as normal can be stunning and life changing.
I have also learned not to make comparisons between my story and others and then write mine off as unimportant. We are all different and there are as many responses to injuries as there are people. The important consideration is this – did it hurt you?
The sharing of your story will help you discover the truth about hurts, remembered and suppressed, and how much weight should be given to those hurts. It will turn out, sometimes, that the hurt really was bigger in our memory than it needed to be, and sometimes, it was smaller than it needed to be. Telling our story helps to bring things into right perspective. Perspective is highly under rated.
Are you feeling encouraged to tell your story and break out of prison? If you are, like many of us, having a hard time with this thought, take your time, there is no rush, move at a speed you are comfortable with. The important thing is to move, baby steps. Take any healthy opportunities that come your way to address this need in your life. For me, it was a neighbour friend with a gift for helping people like me, and through her, connection with a support group.
As your first step toward telling another person your story, see if you can identify a possible someone in the circle of your life, someone with a healthy heart to hear your story. That’s very important. If we share our stories with someone in the same boat, it will turn into a vicious circle rather than a healing journey. You may have to step outside of your comfort zone to find this person or persons but it will be worth it. Most importantly, if you trust God, he will help you recognize the right opportunities. Help is always a welcome thing.
Peace that passes all understanding is the goal!
In this age of instant gratification we may be dismayed to find that one telling of our story won’t be the fix we were hoping for. Your story will need to be told many, many, times over before you reach the end of the healing journey. The beautiful thing is, everytime you tell your story (even if only to yourself) it will change, some things will be added and other things will drop off, as your perspective changes so will the telling of your story. Some things will cease to be part of the narrative because healing has taken place and now they have lost their place of importance in your heart, cause for celebration! New things will be added because there is a new measure of understanding, also cause for celebration!
The truth about this journey; it is not for the faint of heart….. but it is more than worth it.
If you also really trust God on this journey, he will be with you every step of the way, and when you need it most, you will feel his arms holding you.