~This is the first post in a series about living with the effects of abuse. This post does not contain anything specifically triggering so I strongly encourage anyone who has gone through a traumatic experience to read this. Subsequent posts that may contain triggering content will have a ‘read more’ tag. It is not my intention to cause harmful or upsetting memories or associations, but no healing process is completely pain free.
This blog series has been a long time coming. I’ve wanted to speak out about various aspects of abuse and the aftermath of it for some time. I wasn’t planning for this to be the first post, but the Lord decided otherwise and He informed me this morning that this was the day to start this new series with this specific post.
If you’ve read my About Me page or followed me on Facebook or Twitter for some time, you may have seen me mention or allude to the fact that I was sexually abused at a young age. I don’t talk about it all the time, but I don’t shy away from the subject either. I praise the Lord that He has healed me to the point where I can talk about it and hopefully offer a helping hand to others who have had similar experiences.
Last summer I was blessed to have one of my friends come stay with me for a whole week. During her visit, we had a conversation about my abuse and she asked a question that has stayed with me ever since. I was telling her how each time I fly back to California to visit family, I come into contact with the person who abused me. My friend asked “Why do you still go back there when you know you’ll encounter that person?”
At the time I didn’t know how to respond, but I’ve mulled over that question quite often since then, and a while ago the right answer came to me:
“Because it’s not about me.”
And that’s what I’m going to talk about today.
I know this is a very hard pill to swallow for many people who have gone through abuse. Yes, you are the victim. But that doesn’t mean you need to play the victim. I believe one of the number 1 reasons I recovered and healed so well (aside from the grace of the Almighty God) is that I never saw myself as a victim. I was and am always a survivor. I didn’t want to stay and wallow in self-victimization and self-pity. I didn’t want to make other people see me as a victim. I wanted to be a survivor. I wanted to be a success story. I wanted to be an overcomer.
But to do that, I couldn’t keep my eyes on myself. My problems, my issues, my bad memories, my daily struggles. If I had stayed focused on all that junk, I’d still be facing those mountains every single morning. Instead, I never kept my eyes on myself; I always kept my eyes on God. He is the only One who could and would help me. He is the only hope I have of overcoming, and to keep overcoming. I can’t do any of this on my own. I am weak, I am nothing, I am hopeless. But He has the strength I need, He is everything, and He is hope.
So it’s not about me. It’s all about Him.
I had to make sure my point of view on the entire situation then and now isn’t on me but on Him. Why did all that junk happen to me? So I can give Him the glory. Why do I have these struggles every single day? To learn to trust and lean on Him more. Why are there such horrible, ugly things in this world? So that His love and light will shine the brighter.
If my focus had been on myself, I would have struggled with those questions and never found any answers. But since I was focused on Him, the answers came clear and loud.
I understand how hard it is to not make it all about yourself. It is EASY to continue to be the victim. But you will continue to be miserable, you will keep picking the scabs off your scars, and you will never move on. If you want to heal, if you want to grow past the hurt, if you want to overcome and surpass your daily struggles, you have to get your eyes off yourself and onto Him. It takes an enormous amount of humility, setting aside your pride and feelings of self-righteousness, but please believe me when I say, it is worth it. The reason I’m starting this blog series is because I know there are millions, MILLIONS of people in this world who have suffered as I have, or even worse, and I want to help them. I want to help you. I have and do experience surviving and thriving beyond abuse every single day, and I want every one of you to experience it too. I’m not going to lie. It is hard. But it’s also hard to stay where you are. It’s going to be painful either way, but if you decide to put your focus on God, at least you will have hope that one day the pain will ease and you can thrive beyond your abuse.
~Much love from Your Pickle