If you’ve had a messed up 18-year factor, or faced some great difficulty or loss during that time, how can you move from diagnosis to cure? You acknowledge that it had a destructive defining influence on your life and relationships and you don’t like it. But how can you move beyond the destructive consequences to a constructive and positive path?
“Just move on.” That sounds too simple.
“Forget the past.” It doesn’t seem to work that way.
“Get over it.” You’re not sure how.
“How long are you going to wallow in it?”
Frustrated by such statements, you know the people who say these things just don’t understand. You don’t like how your past has had such a negative affect on you. You are sad that it has hurt people close to you. You’re not sure what to do, but trite answers like these seem shallow and naive.
“The only thing you can change about the past is how you let it affect you in the future.” Denial won’t get you anywhere! You can’t just pretend that nothing happened. If you are doing this, those close to you will know it.
3 Key Words:
What kind of control does it have on me?
How can I gain control over the affect it has on my life? (Not always “what should I do?” but “what has this done to me?”)
I need to wave my white flag and confess to God my lack of power or ability to change or to turn things to a constructive and beneficial outcome.
Offer or present your loss, trial, and sadness to God as something you desire for Him to use to work out redemptive, restorative and constructive good in your life. My mother did this in relation to her alcoholic father. When she was a new believer, someone recommended that she thank God for her father and ask the Lord to use her experience for good purposes in and through her life. Although this sounded strange to her, she sincerely followed the advice and it became a powerful turning point for her.
God is the master potter when it comes to taking something really ugly and bringing amazing good out of it. He is the God of the unexpected and the impossible. When the setbacks and obstacles mount up, we are in a good place for God to do His amazing work of redemption, rescue, restoration and renewal.
Bottom line: “Man’s extremity furnishes the most suitable opportunity for God to display His power!” (cf. 2 Chronicles 20:12, Jehoshaphat facing Moab and Ammon)
When we say, “I can’t go on. I’m down for the count. I can’t do this. I am hopeless and helpless. I am a mess. I need help. I can’t face tomorrow and I don’t know what to do.” In these times, we are in a very good place for experiencing God’s restorative grace and mercy. Turn to him based on the three words above. Talk to God about each one.
The following Scripture have been a great help to me in such times:
- Hebrews 4:16 moments
- Psalm 62:8 prayer sessions
- 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; 12:7-12- a great example
- 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 in God’s school of comfort
- Deuteronomy 8:3-5 Need for God
- 2 Corinthians 4:7 Clay vessels
Remaining BIG question:
What is a primary obstacle to transformation and freedom—to redemption, rescue, restoration and renewal? Answer: An angry heart! A major obstacle to overcoming the past is resentment. Many people harbor a silent fury about the things that hurt them. To be free from the power that the past holds over us, we must come to terms with any resentments we carry. Someone said that “anger” is always one letter away from “danger.”
Unresolved anger embitters life and eats the soul. Here’s how it works. We go through life collecting our grievances, adding up our losses, rehearsing our injuries, nursing our wounds and sledging in our grudge, and a slow burning resentment grows into a steady fire that burns deep inside our souls. In a strange way, this can often be our path of revenge. Do you understand? Unable or fearful of taking actual revenge, we nourish and cherish our resentment as more subtle form of retaliation.
We don’t show the smoke through our noses and ears in public—at least, not often. We understand the benefits of public concealment. But, if you get close enough to us, you’ll find out that under the veneer of public nicety is an angry, resentful heart. Push the wrong buttons, and you’ll see it. Anger is a potentially potent force of destruction. It also is the catalyst that carries generational sins to the third and fourth generation.
One young man told me how his grandfather and grandmother had given birth to his father out-of-wedlock and gave him up for adoption to an uncle to hide the shame from his “legitimate” siblings. It took three generations for the resentment to final stop its destructive course in the family. Resentment for past hurts is a powerful and tenacious force!
An RN in our Church suggested to me that for women-depression and anxiety are often rooted in unresolved resentment. Based on years of ministry experience, I concur with this observation.
Ephesians 4:26-27: Resolve anger daily
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Remember: One of Satan’s most effective tools of destruction is unchecked anger. For some people, it becomes a prison with a lifetime sentence.
The Better path:
Revisit the 3 key words: Control, Surrender, and Offer. These are tough words for those who nurse an angry heart. Surrender and Offer are words to help you address the matter of control. Control is a big issue for angry people. Before all of this, the matter of forgiveness and the nature of reconciliation must be understood and applied. (see: Forgiveness)
see: Detox plan