“To heal your wound you need to stop touching it.”
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis.
“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” Dwight L. Moody
Repost from crosswalk.com
1. You focus on what has been done to you.
Focusing on what has been done to us keeps the experiences alive in our mind, stirring up emotions, reviving hurt, fanning anger and hunger for revenge, as well as making us see ourselves as “a victim.” Thus, we label ourselves as a casualty, a person duped or tricked, a loser and fool, quarry for sacrifice, a scapegoat for another’s sins. Putting on those identity markers is crushing to spirit, and can keep people from taking the first frightening step toward recovery. If we see ourselves as “survivors”—people who suffered greatly, but came through with body and soul alive, heroes who found strength to cope and rise above the sins done to us—we can move ahead.
2. You focus on what you’ve done.
Focusing on what we’ve done often fills us with shame and guilt. I know this was the case with me when I spent years looking back at my abortion and the circumstances around it. Though not yet a Christian, I knew and smothered the truth in my heart that I was doing wrong. The “solution to a problem” brought shame and guilt which grew even stronger when I married and became pregnant. My husband and I were excited from the moment we knew I carried a child. When I suffered a miscarriage, we grieved. It struck me then that the baby I aborted was as much a child as the one I wanted. Celebrated from conception or not, a human life is a human life.
How did I overcome the devastating feelings of shame and guilt? 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I confessed, I grieved, and I attended a nine-week postabortion class through a local pregnancy counseling center with other women suffering the same feelings I was. We came out the other side healed. I can testify that God keeps His Word or I would have carried the heavy, heart-crushing secret to my grave.
4. You try to overcome and heal in your own strength.
Trying to overcome and heal in our own strength is one of the more common ways we hold ourselves back. We set our minds on forgetting and moving ahead, sure we can be or do better and make all things right in our own strength. When we find ourselves right back in a similar situation or relationship, we are surprised and demoralized.
A journey through 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles in the Bible shows how a nation repeats history. The same is true of individuals. We are not at fault for what has been done to us, but if we fail to examine the past honestly and follow God’s instructions on how to be healed and live a whole and fruitful life, we are complicit in repeating (practicing) the sinful behavior. Holding on to the past often skews everything in our lives, from our relationships with other people to our relationship with God. We are all ultimately responsible for the choices we make.
5. You set up idols.
Setting up idols can be an unconscious or conscious way of replacing God. Idols used to be carved of wood or stone. Now, we idolize celebrities, sports figures, our body image, sex, money, technology. Wherever we spend most of our time and money is our idol. Inevitably, idols crumble. Celebrities and sports figures change with the season. Our bodies grow weak and wrinkled. Economies shift. Money evaporates. Possessions can be stolen or lost in a fire. That new iPhone or entertainment system is obsolete within months of buying it.
Idols offer empty promises. When tragedy or some catastrophic event comes, most people know instinctively to cry out to God. Only He is faithful. The question is: Will we stand firm and abide in Jesus or waver and fall with the first breeze? If we stand firm and seek Him, He will make sure we find Him. And when we do, we will experience the fulfillment of what we long for: real, life-changing, eternal-lasting love.