One painful experience doesn’t have to color your whole future
One person’s betrayal, someone’s shortcomings, and pain brought by the hands of another doesn’t have to play on repeat in our lives.
James and I had a tough season in ministry a few years back. It was a rough road where we begged God to call us out more than praying God would get us through. We left that season of ministry with a bad taste in our mouths often vocalizing, “Yeah, we’re never doing that again!” We never left ministry completely but we did adjust the environment that we did ministry in because of this one hurtful season. It took about a year to fully heal and forgive those who caused us pain, but it took even longer to realize that our distance wasn’t always discernment, it was our man-made shield of protection. We weren’t allowing God to be our protector or shield. Instead of learning from the hard season and using discernment in future seasons, we kept many ministries at arm’s length as a protection mode.
Likewise, our son has pain from his early childhood prior to the adoption. This pain doesn’t have to carry over into his future and it’s a daily struggle for him. When he’s hurting or upset he fears that I will walk away and stop being his mother like his biological mother did. I tell him daily that I love him and remind him often that I am not going anywhere. His pain is real and still very present in his life even though it was so many years ago. As hard as it is, it’s the reality of our adoption journey.
Isn’t that exactly what a painful experience does to all of us? The pain of betrayal, the sting of rejection, and the loneliness of abandonment puts a bad taste in our mouth and anything that could possibly make us feel that way again we spit out and walk away from. We can take one isolated incident and let it pour into all the other areas of our lives preventing us from healing and moving forward.
Do you ignore your hurt by brushing it off saying it’s no big deal and think it will eventually go away?
Do you feel you’re hurt deeply but never talk about it?
Do you talk about your hurt over and over again and feel like you can’t move on?
If you want to heal from a painful experience you must allow yourselves to experience the emotions that come with it. When you accept what happened and allow yourselves to feel, you can verbally admit that you’re hurt, forgive those who have hurt you, and move forward without bringing any of the pain with you. You can walk into new seasons of life refreshed and waiting for the blessings of God.
When you carry around hurt and anger, it festers and grows into a spirit of bitterness and offense. Your scars from painful seasons can cause you to see every opportunity or relationship through the lens of that pain. When you have the spirit of bitterness and offense, it prevents you from loving your life in the way you are created to.
There’s great power in forgiveness. How often do you hear “It’s ok” as the response to “I’m sorry” when in reality it’s not ok? Forgiveness is not the attitude of “It’s ok,” the attitude of forgiveness is saying that you recognize what the person did was wrong and you forgive them for their actions. Forgiveness is for you, to set you free and release you from the offender.
Be mindful of the difference between discernment and triggers. When you walk through the valleys of life you should come out stronger and wiser. You can take that strength and wisdom to your next mountain and valley and use it to make better choices and protect yourself from potential harm. However, it’s when you walk out of the valley fearful that anything that resembles what just happened can trigger feelings of betrayal, rejection, and hurt. Recognizing the difference will free you from possibly stunting your own growth.
Even though we might experience betrayal and rejection at the hands of broken people in a broken world, we can still trust God for our good. – Alli Worthington
This past season God has been slowly working on James and my hearts, putting trustworthy people in our path to learn that our previous tough season in ministry was just that, a season, not a lifetime. As we started to serve again in a role that formerly we stayed away from, we were able to experience the final step of healing. Healing that we didn’t even realize we needed. I’m also believing for healing over my son and pray for that daily.
I’m praying the same for you. For you to learn from your past hurt and to walk forward in freedom and confidence in Christ as your protector. You have wonderful God-given gifts and abilities. You’re not only hurting yourself by carrying your past into your future, you are also hurting those around because they don’t get to be blessed by all that you have to offer.