One of the keys toward recovery is taking the time and doing the work to look deep inside at your beliefs, thought patterns, and at what you are holding onto deep inside. Experiencing abuse can strip you of identity, worth, safety, understanding, hope, care, conviction, and determination. When we are stripped of those things it leaves us empty but the reality is we do not remain empty for long, something takes the place of these things. It may be despair, anger, bitterness, wrath, fear, or hopefully it becomes something positive like adventure (which can negative and positive in different ways), information/advocacy for related issues, commitment to faith, self-improvement (which can have negative aspects), physical health and exercise, etc.

Identifying what is deep inside, not just what sits at the surface is critical to finding real and lasting healing. If we are holding onto things that we are not aware of or are not ready to let go of it will keep us from really healing.

Lately I have realized how often my thoughts go back to actions taken and words spoken by those at my last church. Even though I feel I have forgiven the fact that my mind dwells on these things and I still experience such pain from them tells me that there is greater work to be done. There is a place in my heart where it must be feeling good to hold onto this pain even though outwardly I am convinced that I don’t want to live that way and I want to forgive. I realize that the abuse, pain, and desire for reconciliation and healing are in some way defining me because I allow them to have power over my thoughts and often I hesitate in relationships or activities because of the messages of rejection that still live in my head and heart.

This morning I was reading this scriptures and praying about how deeply I want to live them but despite all I know about being a Christian I still struggle to understand how to walk this out and live it. Learning to live so that the condition of our heart is correct is very difficult. I am working hard to learn how to “do not let”, “get rid of”, and “be”. It is so clear to me how desperately I need God and how I can’t live this, walk this out, or change my heart on my own.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

James 1:19-21 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.