Have you ever met someone who couldn’t keep still, someone who scurried about like a ferret chasing a rat? Ever wonder why?
I’ve met such a precious soul and it is difficult to watch her in motion. Short of having a medical condition, she lives in turmoil. She has no real purpose. When she arrives at her final destination on any given day, she watches the clock as if her life will tumble into catastrophe if she sits a minute too long.
As she and others like her fight to push their past down emotional tunnels, they have a tendency to act out their pain by feverishly trying to find something else to do so they don’t re-experience the hurt. What they fail to realize is that the very pain making them run, can also help them heal.
If I fall and tear my Achilles, which I have, I must go through intense therapy. Without therapy, I run the risk of suffering in pain longer than necessary, and it may never heal. Therapy hurts, sometimes bringing me to tears. But if I stick with it, I’ll one day walk normal again.
Our lives are similar to a torn Achilles. If we don’t open ourselves up and sit long enough to feel the excruciating pain wrought by others, or pain we brought upon ourselves, we end up suffering longer than necessary. Satan knows this and he uses our past to make us feel guilty, rob us of living in the moment, suffocate our happiness, and make those around us miserable.
Tired of this cycle? Tired of seeing your loved ones live such distraught lives? Here are tips to help you break the cycle:
- SEE YOUR PHYSICIAN if you can’t sit still for half an hour, if you have trouble sleeping, if you are experiencing mood swings, and are easily agitated. Let him guide you through whatever medical help you need. Don’t be ashamed of seeking help. What can be more empowering than finally taking charge of your life?
- STOP and pray. Ask God to help make you ready to deal with your past. You’ve been running for a long time and there is no way you can wake up one morning free from the pain or be emotionally and spiritually capable to deal with it. Pray: “God, please equip me with all I need to deal with this.”
- SET ASIDE TIME to be alone when no one will interrupt you. Make sure you have a ton of tissue available. Sit and think about what happened to you, or about what you did to cause the mishap in your life or in someone else’s life. Cry for as long as you want. Pray: “God I didn’t mean to . . . .” Or, “God, I hate him/her for doing this to me and . . . .” Hate is a strong word. If you feel it, then it’s real. God wants you to come as you are. He doesn’t want you to window-dress your life before you bow before him. Let him be God. He does the cleaning. Not us.
- DO NOT HOLD BACK your grief, anger, fears, or any other emotional angst you’ve experienced. God can handle anything you throw at him. He’s God and he’s good at shouldering your pain.
- CRY until there are no more tears.
- ASK GOD to help bring you to a place of forgiveness. I know we’ve all been taught not to let the sun go down on our wrath, and this is true, but let God be God here. You have years of built-up anger, hate, and self-destructive behavior. In addition, the person who wronged you may be dead, in a different country, or they are so caught up in the world that they are unreachable. Still, God can bring you to a point where you can forgive them no matter where they are, who they are, or what state of mind they’re in. Forgiveness doesn’t depend on them. It depends on you. It’s your heart that has to be molded by God and placed in a state of forgiveness. Your perpetrator’s state, physically and mentally, isn’t dependent on you forgiving them. Your relationship with God is the determining factor, above all!
- FULLY ACCEPT your past. It happened. It’s ugly. It can’t be erased. Sometimes people have turned out to be better human beings, stronger Christians, in spite of their past. No one wishes that your pain exist, but since it does exist and can’t be erased, it has the potential of making you thirst more for Christ. However, you no longer need it to survive. Matter of fact, you no longer want to merely survive, you want to LIVE! So, let go of it. Free yourself. Ask God to help you not only forgive, but to loosen the chains that have weighed you down.
- ASK GOD TO REDEFINE who you are. All your life you’ve reacted to people in ways that made you feel inferior. You have probably never ever felt you were yourself. You may have asked yourself: “Who am I?” Ask God to please help you know who you are. And more importantly, to believe in whom you belong – God! You are a child of the King. God did not make you from trash or recycled products. He wonderfully made you with his hands, breathed life into you, and you became a living soul. Praise God for your life for he took time to weave you for his purpose(1).
- STEP OUT IN FAITH. Ask God to help you, from this day forward, to practice every single moment to have faith in him. Have faith God will change you, rearrange you, heal you, and make you complete. You are no longer bound by your past, but you are a stronger, newer you because of God’s love, mercy, and grace.
- ASK THE FORGIVENESS OF OTHERS. Have you wronged others because you were wronged? Just as iron sharpens iron, hate breeds divide. Reconcile and live in peace as much as it depends on you. (Romans 12:18-19) Do not take revenge! Revenge is the Lord’s!!
- BE CAREFUL and don’t become over-confident(2). We cannot make these changes on our own. Lean on God. If you wake tomorrow morning and feel you’re no further along, remember God manifests himself through our infirmities. Know this: God didn’t give Sarah a child in her young years, or make Abraham the father of nations in his youth. Isaac came at a time when his parents were past their childbearing years. If God can open the wounds of Abraham and Sarah, what makes you think he can’t heal your scarred heart?
- DEVELOP A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP with a friend. Seek people who are strong, not prone to gossip, and who places the needs of others above themselves. Remember: A problem shared is a burden lifted. Talk honestly.
- DO NOT OVERBURDEN YOUR FRIENDS with the same issues every time you see them. Be thoughtful and take time to care about them instead of being consumed with your troubles. Caring for others is a wonderful way to distract you from your depression and self-destructive behavior.
- Once your pain is emptied at the feet of Jesus, your healing begins, your future brightens, and an overwhelming joy is released—and it will become infectious. It’s difficult to explain the workings of God. He is perfect in all his ways.
Like the Israelites who were forced to make brick without straw, we suffer at the hands of evil doers all day long. We are pressed down and shaken and mistreated by those in power, those in the church, those who are supposed to love us most—our family. Some days our struggles are unbearable and are sometimes being redefined in ways we have yet to understand. All of this reminds us that we aren’t in control. God holds all power in his hands. He alone will renew our strength. He alone will take vengeance upon the world.
Place your burdens upon the Lord. Wait upon him. Don’t get in a hurry, for your swift feet will only take you in circles, leaving you in poor health, panting for air, tired, and weary. He will remind you nothing can be done without him and no one can be compared to him. Listen to him speak:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal? says the Holy One.” (Isaiah 40:21-26)
The next time you say “I can’t do this,” know that you are exactly right! But GOD CAN!!!
(1) Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
(2) Philippians 4:13 (NIV) – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”