When I first began writing this blog, my purpose was to inspire others and to bring hope that there can be healing, freedom, and peace after pain and trauma. That it what I strive to do with each word that I write. I recently realized though, that there is one area that I rarely talk about. I don’t often talk about life in general and how trauma and healing intersect with everyday life. See, as a Christian, there is a myth perpetuated through churches that says that if you are diligent enough, if you pray enough, if you’re holy enough, then there is no reason for you to feel bad or to struggle. The lie is that if there is something wrong in your life it is because you don’t have enough faith or, my favorite, are being punished by God for some sin that you have yet to confess. I believe that Christ has come to set us free from our past and to heal us in our struggles and pain…but that doesn’t mean that I am any less saved if I am struggling in my life and can’t seem to find that peace and contentment.
What I’ve learned is that no matter how hard you work at healing from the trauma and pain in your life, those invisible wounds still exist. So there are times in your life, sometimes there are long seasons in your life after you thought everything was better and you were healing, where life just sucks. There are times when you realize that your hopes and dreams, everything that you begged, prayed, and cried for, are never going to happen. When you realize that the life you need, the life you want, won’t ever exist and that is really sucks. There are so many things in this world that are pressing in on us from every angle that the natural response is to fall apart. I have been in my healing journey for a very long time, and every time I think that I am doing good, God reminds me that I’m not in control and there are still areas of my life that are effected by my past. He gently reminds me in the midst of the suffering that I cannot control other peoples’ choices and responses, that I cannot change their hearts, and I cannot convince them of the truth, because their life is not mine to change, that is for God. There have been seasons in my life, and I am currently in one again, where no matter what I do or how hard I try everything falls apart and I am left broken and barely breathing…again.
What I want to say to everyone who is like me and struggles in ways they don’t think they “should” anymore, is that when life sucks, it’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to be sad, and to feel betrayed and hurt and scared. All of that is a normal reaction when things happen that are out of your control and break you. There is no shame in falling to pieces and feeling so broken you don’t know how you will ever be whole again. It’s OK to say life sucks right now and I’m not good with the way things are going. Society has taught so many people that it’s not OK to be broken, that it’s a sign of weakness if you have to stop for awhile until you can put yourself back together again. That is such a huge part of why there are so many sick and suffering people…they’re fighting between what they are feeling and what they think they should be feeling. That is a fight that has no winner, but draws you deeper and deeper into the abyss.
With all that being said, what’s no OK, is letting this life defeat you. Life will destroy you but only if you let it. Sometimes things happen that seem significantly harder to rebound from than others, and that’s probably true. Sometimes you have experienced significant pain in your past and are also experiencing what feels like a never ending torrent of hell that is raining down on you. In those moments, you don’t have to be strong, you don’t have to pretend that everything is good when you are being ripped apart at the seams. Where people tend to get stuck, and where the majority of suffering continues, is when they give up the fight and just let the chaos and pain consume them. Everyone, no matter how much time and effort they spend in healing and moving on from their past traumas, will continue to experience pain and suffering in this life at the hands of others and from things completely out of their control. That is the nature of living in a fallen world where narcissism and entitlement are the reigning personality characteristics. People will hurt you, they will betray you, they will cause you to doubt everything you believed, but they don’t have to win. When wars rage, waters rise, and people set out to destroy you, it’s OK to let that knock you down…But you have to keep getting up.