Recently I traveled interstate to see family in my hometown. During the long drive my mind drifted down memory lane; school, friends, family, the good and bad and some very ugly. My husband and I mused this week how our brain seems to gravitate to that ugly. So many beautiful things may happen, but we can get stuck in the ugly. For a moment I was stuck.
I felt my stomach turn, my pulse rate quicken, I was on full alert. Fight or flight kicked in and I wasn’t sure why. I began to cross examine my thoughts, I had been thinking of a town close by, teenage years, what people would be good to see and the people I didn’t want to see… and there it was. My mind flooded with ugly. How ugly he made me feel, the lines he crossed and what he had no right in taking. I really did not want to see him.
That guy nearly destroyed me. I remember the whispers “I could kill you right now”, “The only way no one else can be with you is if I kill you”, and his favourite “I will kill myself if you leave me”. In the end I didn’t care, I was dying on the inside and had lost all hope of a knight in shining armour riding in to save me.
I began the unhelpful self talk “You should be over this”, “It was so long ago, just forget about it”, and my achilles heel “Practise what you preach, you big fraud”. After listening to this fabulous self dialogue I knew I had to deliberately redirect my thoughts. But I was stuck. It was like being in quicksand, a heaviness compressing my chest, flight and not fight was looking better and better all the time. The only combatant I could think of using was the truth.
Truth. He was not one of the good guys, he was hurt but his response was not to be brave, he chose to hurt. He manipulated, he stalked, he smothered, he threatened, and he forced. More truth. He made me feel ugly, but I am not. He took control of my world, but he does not have that permission anymore. He made me feel frightened, but I chose a Protector. He made me feel dirty but I have a faith that washes me clean, over and over and over again until I believe it.
Driving along I began to meet truth with more truth. I defended each allegation with everything I have learnt and experienced since then. My mum helped rid him from my life, but the damage had been done, I was left in a dark place, no light at the end of the tunnel. I remember thinking it wasn’t worth going on. A few months later I chose to give my control away again, but this time I chose well. I chose to give my heart to God, to One greater and more loving than I felt I deserved. I gave my heart to the Healer, the Peacemaker, to the only Father I had ever known.
I am the sum of my experiences, they have shaped my responses to life, I cannot change that. As with grief, sometimes my soul attempts to drag me back down into the quicksand, I feel the very real emotions. I am thankful that God does not belittle me in that time as I tend to do to myself. Instead, as all gentlemen do, He offers His hand and waits for me to accept it. To reach back out of stuck and allow Him to lift me back into reality. A much safer, worthwhile and loving reality.
I didn’t run into the guy, I didn’t have an empowering moment to put him in his place, life is not a movie plot. But I am not stuck anymore. I am free, I am me and I can breathe freely.
Why do I share this? That’s an easy one, so it has a purpose, so some good can come of it. Do you ever feel stuck in quicksand? Do you ever feel your heart quicken and the need to run? If you do consider this, there is a Hand reaching for you, to help you, guide you and love you. If you take that hand He will not disappoint, that has been my truth.