Reclaim Your Story
In part one of this blog, I focused on our testimony as it relates to our own sinful past. Part two focuses on our testimony as it relates to sins that were committed against us. We have all suffered from other people’s sins. Our lives here on earth are replete with abuse, adultery, divorce, abandonment, betrayal, and all kinds of trauma. The enemy loves pain and uses it to his advantage. We need to take back what the enemy has stolen and reclaim our story, allowing God to redeem it and to use it for His glory.
When someone sins against us, whether it’s in childhood or adulthood, Satan has an opportunity to wreak all kinds of havoc. Enduring abuse, neglect, abandonment, or any other traumatic or overwhelming experience literally changes how our brains are wired and how we perceive things. This gives Satan so much ammo to use against us.
Common symptoms that may stem from trauma or other wounds include depression, irritability, numbing out, decreased concentration, insomnia, people-pleasing, emotional overwhelm, hopelessness, shame, worthlessness, nightmares, hypervigilance, mistrust, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, chronic pain, substance abuse, eating disorders, and self-destructive behavior. That’s just to name a few! Satan tries to use these things to take you out. He has no sympathy for you. His goal is to destroy you, to destroy your relationships, and to destroy your faith.
Rewire Your Brain!
The good news is that just as negative experiences change the wiring of your brain, so do positive experiences. You can help yourself rewire your brain when you begin processing your own story, seek healing, spend time in a community of believers, and allow the Word of God to transform you. The last thing Satan wants you to do is to seek healing and to speak your story out loud. But keeping it completely to yourself keeps you chained to the guilt and shame that has been wired within you. It keeps you isolated. It keeps you from living the abundant life Jesus offers and it keeps you from helping others gain freedom. As others hear your story, it may help them begin processing and sharing their own.
Sharing with Wisdom
Although sharing your story can certainly bring freedom, you must exercise wisdom and discernment regarding how you share it and with whom:
- If you have a history of significant trauma that has not been processed or healed, seek professional counseling. A counselor can help you gain insight, awareness, and transformation on an emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual level.
- Don’t expect your friend/mentor to have all the necessary skills to help with trauma or deeper mental health issues. While they can encourage, pray, and offer resources, most people do not have that kind of training. So don’t resent them for that.
- You don’t have to share details of your story with every single person you encounter. Not everyone is trustworthy or has good intentions, so don’t throw your pearls before swine. You can still share how Jesus redeemed you without necessarily going into all the specific details. Better yet, you can SHOW them how Jesus has redeemed you by the example of your lifestyle.
- Know your motive behind sharing. Are you sharing to gain sympathy? Is it to bring yourself glory and recognition? Is it manipulative? The motive should ultimately be to bring honor and glory to God and to advance HIS Kingdom in and through your life. It’s still about Him, not you.
Embrace the New Thing God wants to do
Ladies, there is POWER in your testimony. Accept your story. Share it with someone, even if that someone right now is a counselor. BUT Tell. Your. Story. Heal from it. Learn from it. Let God use it. He has redeemed you and wants to do something new in your life. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19). Let God do that new thing in your life. And then share it with others. Know your story, process your story, and speak your story. All for God’s glory.