What My Problem Was

Jun 1, 2016 by

51Feox9WE3L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_I recently finished Mary DeMuth wonderful new book, Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Makes You Worthy. I love all of Mary’s books, but this one is special. It tackles a topic that is close to my heart: the lies that mess with our sense of worth, and the Truth that sets us free when we let it. God’s timing never fails to amaze me. While reading Worth Living, I happened to be marveling over a heart-healing that reflected one of her points.

It started several months ago with a frustrating, “This doesn’t make sense” struggle.

The insecurities began oozing out while participating in a ministry I loved (and still love). The director was wonderful! She’d become a friend. I’d made lots of friends in this ministry! We did fun things together. I’d received nothing but supportive feedback and nice comments. If I was asked to do something differently, the suggestion came in such a kind, respectful way that I felt thankful for the opportunity to grow and improve. Whenever my turn came to serve, I had a great time. So why the bouts with anxiety later? Why did I occasionally catch myself losing my confidence? Why were certain things suddenly translating in my mind as, “You aren’t good enough”? Why did I picture the same people who said, “Good job” discussing my shortcomings behind my back? Why did I not trust nice friends to stay nice?

What was my problem? Nothing had happened to warrant this silliness! Had I gone insane?

God made it clear that I needed to hash this out with Him. I knew the answer to “What is my problem, God?” I’d known it all along but felt the need to slough it off. (When are you going to get over that? It happened how many years ago?) This wasn’t something I could blame on the divorce. It came from a different place.

I sensed something brewing when someone sent me a blog post that included, “Until we’ve grieved over a past hurt, it will keep resurfacing . . .” That line came back to me while making sense of memories from a time that I now refer to as a perfect storm of mixed messages. I’d received a lot of praise and many exciting opportunities, and I had some great friends, but other experiences . . . those explained the onslaughts of fear—every one of them. They’d set the standard for what I expected from people, what was expected of me, what made me valuable, and who got to decide what was true about me. Self-esteem issues only complicated the situation.

It took this annoying inability to trust a good thing for me to accept that, even though I’d had plenty of better experience since “the perfect storm,” I’d been wounded by it, and I’d let that wound fester for far too long. Kindness (of all things!) had re-opened it.

When I found myself feeling sad, even over the role my neediness played in the whole mess, I realized I was doing what that quote from the blog post suggested—admitting something hurt and grieving over it so it wouldn’t keep resurfacing. To my surprise, the process didn’t require therapy or a support group, just a journal, my Bible, some teary moments, and divinely-placed friends. Through this I recognized how God had been using my new ministry experience to heal those wounds. Finally, I could see the gift in front of me, but in order to fully embrace it I needed to release one more piece of the past.

One night, during a late-night talk with one of those divinely-placed friends, I decided it was time to let go of that old hurt. I had no idea how to do it, only that I wanted to. We prayed, and I went home feeling like I’d rid my heart of poison.

Isn’t that what the enemy’s lies are?

The next time I served, I felt surprisingly free!

I am finally able to truly relax and enjoy what God is doing now instead of letting the past muck it up. Insecurities still surface, but I ride them out more quickly.

This is why I so appreciate Mary’s book, because it reflects work that God has done in me over the past few years, and recently. It includes a line very similar to the one mentioned earlier:

“Grief is the threshold we must cross in order to be set free from the past.”

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The story I just shared reminds me how true that is. Perhaps Worth Living contains some truths that you need too.

Which lies has the enemy used to rob you of joy, stand between you and good relationships, or distract you from the new things God wants to do in your life?

How has He used grief to release you from the past?

I’d love to hear your story. Please share it in a comment and I’ll put your name in a drawing for a free copy of Worth Living!

 

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11 Comments

  1. Tara Rooks

    Not enough

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      I don’t know you, but I can assure you, you are enough.

  2. Sue Peppers

    Well said Jeanette! So, so true. I once heard a quote–it went something like this: “Stop listening to yourself; instead talk to yourself!” This was in reference to reading scripture (truth) aloud—it drowns out our mistaken beliefs. Our internal messages are often born in untruths and insecurities. What a waste of time! After going through a time of over-self-awareness—I realized that “energy” could have been better used to honor and serve God more fully!

    I had an experience like this during the time my father was dying. I adored him, but curiously began to feel intense anger toward him. Why? I began journaling my deepest thoughts…disappointments of my childhood, feeling like I had not lived up to his expectations…and now it was too late—in his star of dementia, we could not even talk it out. I could not forgive him and he could not ask forgiveness. As I wrote about each “offense” he’d committed…I felt such guilt. I didn’t even know I’d carried all this with me. As I wrote, became clearer to me—God absolutely gave me the RIGHT EARTHLY FATHER! My dad being tough on me, expecting more, grew me to be stronger, more determined and “tough” in most situations. What I’d perceived as his faults were actually used for my benefit. Once I was able to overcome that feeling of not having the dad I expected, I knew I had the dad I needed. It changed everything. I fell in love with the man who God chose as my dad—Grace allowed me to accept him as he was. Isn’t that the picture of Christ…accepting us as we are?

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      I love this, Sue! I’ve had to come to the same conclusion regarding other relationships. Like you, I finally realized he/she was put in my life for a purpose and I grew through the experience. I was forced to be strong, resourceful, creative, more accepting of those who are different from what I’m used to . . . That’s when God began to reveal areas where I might have driven THOSE people crazy. Extending grace to others often opens the door for an opportunity to extend grace to ourselves.

  3. Sometimes I have thoughts like “I’ll never get this published,” “My books have only helped a few people.” “Why can’t I be a best-selling author like …?” But then I remember I’m not responsible for the results and all I need to do is follow my calling one step at a time.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      I struggle with these thoughts too, Jan! I must constantly remind myself that I can only write what God puts on my heart and the work involved in trying to get it published. After that, it’s up to Him. As I told someone recently, He’s bigger than our Amazon ranking.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      I just read the post, Jenni! It’s beautiful! Thank you for sharing it. In the past I found myself suddenly feeling sad over “the last normal” (Christmas, anniversary, fill in the thing). I guess it’s part of the process of moving forward.

  4. Kelli k

    I love this. God has been prompting me to work through some past hurts too. I’m going to look into this book and journal some this weekend.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      I’m so glad! I pray that you will find healing and freedom this weekend.

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