If you would’ve asked me to describe my hurt, I would have replayed the entire event, the people involved, and consequences . . . in detail. I now feel sorry for the people who had to hear me tell my story. In my mind, the event was my hurt.
Here’s the summarized version of the story I was telling:
“I sensed God calling me to plant a different kind of church in the same town. However, my best friend misunderstood my intentions and didn’t support me. I am hurt by our broken relationship.”
I told that story for more than three years. It was exhausting but I couldn’t stop telling it.
What I didn’t know was my story was sabotaging my desire to forgive.
Every time I opened my mouth and retold my story, I triggered negative emotions sending me backwards. It was maddening!
How about you? What’s the story you’re telling about your past hurt?
Did you know for every event, you create a story? You are telling a story right now about your past pain. Even if you are not telling anyone else your story, you are telling yourself a story.
What story are you telling? It’s important to know.
Three reasons it’s important to know the story you’re telling about your past:
1) Your story reveals your heart
Like an MRI reveals the internal details of your body, your story reveals the internal condition of your heart.
“. . . for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” -Luke 6:45 (NIV)
My story told everyone that I was still hurting and I believed my hurt had no purpose.
Your story is your heart’s MRI. So monitor your story.
2) Your story affects your life
Every time you tell your story you feel those same strong emotions again.
Our memory banks are categorized. Since I filed my story in the mental category of “hurt”, every time I recalled this event, I had immediate access to all of the other “hurt” memories filed nearby. So the thought of my story triggered a lot of strong, negative emotions.
Not only does “misery love company”, miserable memories love company.
Your story affects your life.
3) Your story imprisons you
Your story could alienate you from friends and family. Your story could be reminding everyone that you are still an injured “victim”.
Your story may make and keep YOU a victim. Like adding steel bars to your own prison cell, every time you tell your story as a victim you further isolate yourself from others.
Your story may feel comfortable and familiar but it could be your enemy!
What story are you telling people about your past? Write it out! (Don’t write the story you wish you were telling but the story you’re really telling.)
Why write it out? Two reasons:
1) You need to see your story in writing. You feel and hear yourself tell your story regularly but you never get to see it. Seeing it on paper may help you more objectively view it.
2) You give yourself a starting point. Writing it out now gives you a starting place from which we will move forward. Remember, your story reveals the condition of your heart. So as your heart heals, you will look back on this story and see the progress.
Here’s what I challenge you to do today:
> Write your story out in one paragraph that best represents how you’re currently telling it. Not the story you wish you were telling but the one you’re actually telling. Try keeping it to one paragraph. It may be hard but it will be worth it.
> Let a friend know that you’re choosing to stop telling your story for the next week or two weeks and allow them to help you with that commitment.
Next Friday we’ll talk about how to write a new story. In the meantime, STOP telling your past story as a victim because it impacts your future and your ability to forgive.
#ForgivenessFriday aims to unleash forgiveness in people’s hearts. (Click HERE to read the beginning of this series.)