When I began this blog journey, it wasn’t just me that was involved in the process, but a team of people. There was a friend who gave me the website making how-to and I also have a panel of people who read my posts before I publish them. They really deserve your thanks because they help to make sure I’m being clear when I develop my points as I can sometimes go all over the place with my thoughts.
Anyway, one of the women on the panel has pointed out that all of the posts up until now have been pretty vague. I don’t go into exactly what I have and am struggling with. She’s 110% right. I haven’t said explicitly, “Hey all! This is the ish I’m going through, happy reading.” Part of that is fear. And the biggest slice of the fear pie is judgment, particularly judgment that would elicit shame.
It makes me think of the Lion King (what? I used a movie reference—unheard of 🙂 ). Not my all time favorite Disney flick, but definitely top 3. The exchange between Rafiki and Simba when the lion prince has grown up and doesn’t want to go back to Pride Rock. Rafiki hits Simba on the head. Simba asks, “What’d you do that for?” Rafiki responds, “What does it matter, it’s in the past…yes, the past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” So Rafiki tries again to smack Simba upside the head and Simba dodges this time, proving Rafiki’s point.
Taking the plunge to be vulnerable and authentic is going to hurt. But, if given power, my past can overshadow the opportunities in the future ahead whether by holding me in fear or keeping me bitter and locked into what was done to me. I don’t know about you, but forget that business!!! I want to walk in freedom in all areas of life.
One of the first steps to healing is to name the things that have caused hurt—but it’s not just the things, you have to name the people.
Things haven’t hurt us, people have.
So it wasn’t just that as a child and into my teens that I experienced physical and emotional abuse…but that the person to inflict that upon me was my biological father. It wasn’t just that I experienced sexual abuse…but that it came from my bio-dad’s best friend when I was 6 and two different boyfriends (one in my teens and one in my 20’s). These are things that have warped how I see myself, how I live life, and how I operate in my relationships.
Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” And it’s the truth! The potential of being so open with people about my past is healing, but like any open wound while it has air to breathe it also runs the risk of infection.
Being a victim of abuse is a real thing. There have been times when I have put my sassy pants on, snapped my fingers and said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” And I know other people may not see their own reactions when they hear about abuse in my past or in the past of someone they know.
Abuse is a multi-layered, invasive hurt because in most cases the wrongdoing is perpetrated by someone you know, someone who has gained your trust and then broken it in malicious & potentially violent ways. That kind of betrayal has far reaching effects at the onset and long afterwards (psychological, emotional, and physical). It can send someone in a spiral of bad decisions and unhealthy living, even give them the idea to tap out on life. It can drive them in the opposite direction with a high need to achieve, a desire to micromanage areas of their life, or try to exert control over those around them. Looking back over my life I can see seasons or shades of each of those things.
As I’ve stated in previous posts and still maintain, staying as a victim or dwelling on what was done is not a place I sit in—it’s not my personality, it’s not my goal, and definitely not what the Lord would have for me. Nor does my past excuse my behavior or the things I say, but it creates more understanding of who I am and who you see when you encounter me. It has also been helpful to identify how this triggers my reactions to situations, of which I am trying to be more mindful of and change.
What you see now, especially if you know me in person, is the effect of grace—of having spent time in the arms of a loving God to put healing salve over the wounds of my past. Wounds, that I never knew until this last year, were so pervasive and deep that I am now able to identify & work through the ripple effects thanks to therapy and an amazingly supportive community of family and friends. Today I stand in joy and gratitude for the Lord’s grace, strength and provision in my life.
But that’s not the case for everyone. Perhaps for you it wasn’t physical, emotional or sexual abuse…maybe the wound you experienced was different, but it has affected you in negative ways. I’m sorry if people (past or present) have hurt you and that you have had to walk through seemingly dark and lonely seasons, moments where you’ve felt misunderstood and unloved, or times of hopelessness and pain. You are not alone. Those things that were done to you do not have to define your life, and definitely DO NOT define who you are—meaning your worth and your value.
So in whatever hurts you’ve gone through I hope today you take time to name them, navigate the pain, forgive the people, and release the baggage to live a more authentic and loving version of who you were made to be. Rest in grace and peace today my friend!
Until next time…Live as a Masterpiece!