I've watched so many of my friends and loved ones struggle just like me to overcome the grip that the past has on them...the shame...the pain...the patterns and cycles...the isolation...the numbing and coping. Just like them I cried out, prayed, even had people at Church lay hands on me. Still, it seems like I could never break free, and I kept allowing myself to make the same dumb choices over and over. I was hurt, and I needed help.
However, while that coming to Jesus moment was critical and the FAITH that God could heal me was a the first step, it was up to me to take the next steps. Jesus said, GO, your faith has healed you...NOW GO AND SIN NO MORE...LAY DOWN THAT LIFE, TAKE UP MY CROSS, FOLLOW ME. Let's take a practical look at this.
**Some things I had to do (and will continue to work on the rest of my life) are:
- ASK FOR HELP: Shame requires isolation to keep us bound. You must take the first step and ask for a MORE THAN JUST PRAYER. ie. Counseling, anonymous hotlines, look for support groups, and free services in your area. **Get in a good Bible-based fellowship to keep me encouraged and accountable to staying on the right path (shout out to Hope's House Christian Ministries in Granada Hills)
- TALK TO GOD: Stay immersed in God's word, and learn about His promises and His love for me.Talk to God about why I'm hurting, Confess the things I've done, and LISTEN to what God has to say about love, peace, forgiveness, obedience, and the plans He has for you to prosper you.
- TURN AWAY: Get serious about changing your life by OBEDIENCE to God's voice in your Spirit! His Joy and pleasing Him will be your strength. After you confess, you must repent. That means to turn away from that old life by DOING the following:
b. TURN AWAY from the bottle, the club, the drugs, the sex to NUMB my pain and allow myself to FEEL again, even though the pain is scary and it hurts. Remember to immerse myself in God's word again when I feel alone and hurt..He gave me a COMFORTER and a HELPER (The Holy Spirit).
c. CLEAN HOUSE and turn away from unhealthy friendships that tempt you to your old life!
Truthfully, I need to add a fourth step. I don't want anyone to think that the scars that sexual abuse, domestic violence, or an abusive childhood has on them are "curable." The truth is, you will likely carry those scars the rest of your life. But, YOU DONT HAVE TO BE A VICTIM or stuck in a VICTIM MENTALITY. You can have victory over what has happened to you, and what you have done! When God said take up the cross, he meant that we'd suffer with HIM through this life. We won't ever be alone in this journey unless we turn our back on him. I'm not scar free, and I still suffer! I still struggle! I have been in counseling for FIVE YEARS NOW. But I am no longer a VICTIM! I am a VICTOR! And I will continue to get back up every time I fall and rely on God's love and mercy to get me through and help me make something positive out of this mess. So, here's the fourth step...and believe me, I am right there with you!
4. REPEAT steps 1-3 over and over and over again ....and remember that God gives mercy, grace, and healing, but that he won't do the work for me.