He sat in front of me, taunting me and refusing to move. I desperately wanted to leave the room, but he was so close that I didn’t have space to maneuver. I felt trapped. How could I escape?
I still remember that day with great clarity, but to be honest, the “he” in front of me was a common house spider. He wasn’t dangerous, or particularly large. He was just doing what God designed him to do: be a spider, going about looking for a safe place to spin a web and catch food.
But he terrified me.
So maybe spiders aren’t that big a deal to you. Let me assure you that this little eight-legged terror isn’t the only trauma in my life. In my forty-plus years, I’ve faced some tough times, some real pain, and some significant trauma. But the spider example is easier to share.
I’ve lived with many wounds in my life, and I still carry scars from some of them. But I’ve found my way to great freedom from the pain, freedom that I’d love to share with those of you who are stuck thanks to someone who hurt you, abused you, bullied you, or offended you.
I’ll be honest: it’s not fun. The steps to freedom sound easy, but you will have to fight for every step, especially in the beginning. But I wouldn’t encourage you to take these steps if I wasn’t confident that every painful moment was worth it.
Are you ready? Take my hand and remember that I love you enough to be honest, because some of these are not going to sound loving. Let’s step out together.
1. Stop blaming the other person.
Sure, they may have hurt or offended you. Yes, they may be more than 50% responsible. In some cases, perhaps they are even 100% responsible. But getting over the offense–please understand this–is totally your responsibility. Take ownership for getting healthy and finding freedom. Let God help you forgive and move on.
2. Stop settling for less than God’s best.
Okay, so God created mud, and He has some pretty good (and occasionally fun) purposes for it. Wallowing in it for the rest of your life is neither good nor fun. Stand up, step out, wash off, and trust that God has better things for you than the mud pit you are currently in.
3. Stop living in fear.
Some people prefer to stay in the chaos they know rather than fight through the pain to walk into something they’ve never experienced. Change can be scary, but when God is in charge, change is good.
The process you must go through to let God heal you is not fun. In fact, it frequently feels worse for awhile than what you were living with. But the end result is worth it. Freedom from pain and guilt and shame and fear is worth it. Keep trusting God through the process.
5. Keep focused on one thing: God loves you and wants to give you His best.
God wants to love on you–which includes healing from hurts and offenses. And He won’t walk away from you, no matter how ashamed you may be of whatever it is you are dealing with. God loves you. Period.
6. Balance realistic thinking with idealistic thinking.
Yes, this process will not happen overnight–it may even take years to fully walk through–but if you are faithful to do all God asks, the process will end. Just take the time to imagine the beauty of that life, and walk faithfully towards it.
I know what I am asking of you. I do. But I believe you can do it because I know God is waiting to walk with you through it.
So what’s holding you back?