Confession…there are some days when my past comes back with ferocity and bum rushes me.
The part of my life that I remember as most confusing and chaotic happened nearly 15 years ago. I am a grown woman and the memories of that time still have the ability to time warp me back to the moment of pain. It’s as if I’ve never moved. I’m again terrified to tell the truth. I’m paralyzed by fear. The desire to close my eyes, click my proverbial heels, and return to my version of Kansas overwhelms me and I must make a choice. Open the door and walk into the Oz of my past and begin sorting through the boxes of time (just in case you missed it we’re mixing the Wizard of Oz metaphor with an undefined metaphor) and we’re focused again. OR I can ignore the door, click my heels, and return to Kansas. Decisions…decisions.
The trouble with Kansas is, it is affected by the Oz of my past and those boxes. That place has too many boxes with too many memories and lies that haunt and tease me. The longer I pretend it isn’t there, the longer it is able to come at me unannounced and slap me around. Who wants that?! Not this chick!
However, I’ve been in that room before. If I don’t go in with a game plan, it may take me a while to come back out. And there’s always the chance that I might not make it out of that room at all. I’m sure I’m the only one who has had this happen, right? If there happens to be at least one person out there who knows what I’m talking about, let me share my game plan with you. I’ve been in this room for a while now, and I’m getting to a point where I’m ready to come back out and shut this door for a while.
We’ll cover Step One and Step Two in this post. Check back in later for the next steps. Remember, I am in a committed relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of my life. He empowers me to do all things through His strength. If you miss that fact you miss the whole point of this exercise. Without His strength these are just steps on a never-ending stair-master.
Before you open that door PRAY. God is a big God who comforts and heals. He loves beyond the pain in our hearts and brings purpose from our past experience. Allow Him to love on you. His love is lavish, indulge in it. Take Him into the room with you. Don’t go in alone. Ask Him to help you see things through His eyes. Ask Him to help you to be honest with yourself. Don’t rob yourself of the growth and healing that can happen from looking at your past in the light of His truth. Paul encourages us to prayer in this way:
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7
JUST THE FACTS
Look at the facts and only the facts. It’s easy to get stuck on the feelings and emotions. Fight the urge to allow your feelings to dictate your behavior. While feeling can be useful warning lights, they are not always an accurate depiction of reality. For example, you may feel like crap, but you are not really crap. You’re a human being who might need more sleep or a better diet, but you are not literally crap. So deal with the facts. Maybe you were betrayed. Maybe you were rejected. Maybe you were abandoned. Maybe you were abused. Okay those are the facts. Maybe you caused the situation you’re in. Maybe you had no control in the matter. Maybe you could have done things differently. Okay. Now ask yourself some questions.
- How did those experiences cause you to react?
- What kind of choices did you make as a result of your experience?
- Were you proud of those choices?
- How will this pain/experience affect my life if I continue to live with it?
- Is God big enough to cover this pain/experience?
Don’t let your feelings dictate how you should answer. Yes there is pain. Yes there is anger. Yes there is frustration. But be honest about the part of your life that you’ve been running from and then just sit with the facts for a minute. Talk them through with your Savior Jesus. Pick them up. Look at them. Examine them without trying to analyze them. Just look at the facts.
I realize you may want the next step but you can’t have it. I know from experience that Step Two takes some time. And if I give you Step Three you’ll rush through Step Two. Don’t’ do it! Don’t rush it!
… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5
God’s love has been poured into our hearts and our past pain will produce something good in us if we allow God to do His work.
Until another confession…