Three Ways to Overcome Your Past

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Many years ago, there was a child I knew who was deeply wounded. As a child, he was taken advantage of by a close family member, one whom he had loved, respected, and looked up to. This man took advantage of this child by touching him inappropriately. This unspeakable evil behavior continued on for several years. During these events, this child remembers locking his doors as he hoped and prayed that this man would not ‘get in’ to continue this egregious behavior, yet it continued. 


Over the years, as the boy got older, the abusive behavior finally stopped. Still unsure of what had happened, he continued on with his life. He told no one as he was ashamed. He felt in some small way it was his fault, he had caused this horrible event to happen. This boy grew to become a young man. He looked normal on the outside but the stuffing down of all the pain and suffering had enabled him to become devoid of emotion. He had done everything in his power to forget all the evil that had happened to him, in many ways succeeding. For many years he acted as if everything was OK, but on the inside, he hated his life. He was crying out for someone to notice him and pay attention to him in a positive way. 


Broken, wounded, and scarred, he lived his life…until he married and was expecting his first child. Then everything changed. Images came flashing back, severe anger and yes, even hatred, emerged toward this man he had tried to forget. It was at this time, that his healing finally began. Up to this point, this young man saw his wounds and scars as something he was ashamed of and did everything he could to hide. However, God had different plans. God chose to use this man to do something to make an impact. God chose to use this wounded and scared little boy to bring light to the darkness and to offer hope to the hopeless. I was reminded of this story when I heard this quote from Shane Claiborne,


‘Our wounds and our scars are not our liability, but they’re our credentials. It’s out of our wounds, out of our brokenness that Christ’s light shines. It’s the cracks that let the light shine in.’


Many women attempt to hide their blemishes using extra makeup. Many men stuff down their imperfections by masquerading them with the pursuit of perfection. Many teenagers hide the marks on their arms or legs from cutting by wearing long sleeves or long pants. Whose story is this? This story of the wounds and scars is my story…it is your story. This story of guilt and shame is all of our story. We all share in this story in one facet or another. 


This boy had somehow learned the lesson that his scars were, in reality, his story. His past were his tools for the future. What this boy saw as an ugly scar, was a beautiful story to those who needed to hear it. Let the light shine through your scars today. Up to this point, this young man saw his wounds and scars as something he was ashamed of and did everything he could to hide. If you are ready to overcome some of these past burdens, here are a few simple steps to start moving in a positive direction. 


1. Open up

The first step is to open up to someone you trust. Share your story with someone you respect who is safe enough to validate and encourage you through this healing journey. For some, you may not be able to identify someone currently in your life. If that is the case, I would encourage you to seek out a professional who can help you work through some of these issues.


2. Let it Go

Now I know that it easier said than done. Letting go is the process of recognizing the role it has played in your life, how it is affecting you today, as well as choosing to only carry the burden that is yours to carry. Recognize what is truly yours to carry and what is NOT yours to carry. It is imperative you distinguish this difference.


3. Share your story

Once you have reached a certain level of healing, you can begin to make an impact in other’s lives who are still in their journey of healing. They need to hear your story just as you needed to hear other people’s story. Sharing of your story has a way of encouraging others who feel completely alone realizing there are others who can identify with their own struggles. It can also be a powerful way to continue to solidify your own healing.