Many of us have issues in our pasts….okay, let’s be real, if you have lived more than 20 years on this planet you have issues in your past. I know I am not the only one. Some things are “worse” than others. Some things are big and some a little, in comparison. I have some “bigger” issues than say my husband does, he grew up in a “Leave it to Beaver” sort of life. That doesn’t mean he has not experienced hurts in his youth that he has to overcome, but they aren’t as obvious as mine are. We all have our crosses to bear. This isn’t heaven yet, and Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble”. Very true.
I am an expert in denial. I am really good at pretending that I am okay and that the past is in the past and doesn’t matter. That’s really great in appearances, but it will catch up to you. I have been reading some great books on healing the past hurts in your life. We all want less pain, we all want healing, but in order to get that healing we have to face up to our pain. I am good at numbing pain. Stuff it down and forget about it is my motto. Others use things to numb pain, food, alcohol and shopping are just a few choices. It’s not fun to face up to pain, but necessary. We can ask God to forgive us for past transgressions and we can ask forgiveness from others, but healing does not come overnight. Forgiveness and healing are two seprate issues. All of my past hurts have been forgiven, but the healing has not come fully yet. I am working on that. It’s a process.
In the church, we don’t talk about hurts easily enough. We like to hide them and pretend that we are okay, when really we are dying inside. When was the last time you were real with someone about how you really feel? Do you even know how you really feel? Some of us are experts on hiding feelings, and are even lying to our own selves about what we feel. (talking to myself here) There was a song a few years back that had a line about “if she cries that first tear, the tears might not stop raining down”. That’s how I felt for many years, I was afraid to face pain in my life because it might just overtake me. I am sure some of you can relate. But I discovered that you have to let the pain out or it will eat you up inside. You cannot heal without tears and facing the pain.
A lot of my pain comes from past relationships that went bad. Mostly men, my Dad and boyfriends. Of course, I didn’t realize that all that stuff in the past would come back to haunt me years later. I don’t like dealing with stuff, but it has to be done, I have realized. I went to counseling for a couple years and that really helped. These things take time. It took years to get the scars and it will take years to heal them. Recently, I have read some really good books that have facilitated some more healing in my life. Love and War by John and Staci Eldredge. Also Kiss me Again by Barbara Wilson. Both of these are dealing with the subject of marriage. What I realized is that things in my past affected my present negatively and I didn’t even know it. I don’t like to talk about marriage, well, other people’s marriages are fine, but mine not so much. I like to pretend that we are Ozzy and Harriet and we don’t have any issues. However, those of you who are married will attest to the fact that ALL marriages have issues. It is helpful to admit that too. You cannot changes things until you admit them. There was a recent survey that said that couples reported on a scale from 1-10 about how happy they were in their marriages, 1 being unhappy and 10 being perfectly happy. You know what the average number was, 3!!! That is shocking. I would have said much higher for my own marriage, and we have our issues as everyone does. Apparently most people out there who are married have some sort of issues that are causing this unhappiness. We assume as Christians that we should be happy automatically and never have issues. I would say that is totally false. You can live in denial if you want to, but I decided I wanted to face up to our issues and try to do something about them. Why can’t we have a 10 marriage? These two books have really helped facilitate the path of healing the past to make the present and future better. I have learned so much about myself and my husband and we are doing our best to not just be average, but better than that.
Are there things in your past affecting you present? That can be changed, you don’t have to live in denial or in “just enduring” mode. It can be better than that. Pray and ask God about His ideas for your life and marriage. Once you get a picture of what He wants for you, you will realize that settling for less isn’t an option.