She walked into my office in a long, flowing skirt. She always had loved long, flowing skirts. But she blamed them and herself for both of her rapes. “Maybe if I hadn’t worn a skirt,” she thought.
And she hated herself.
The man read from his journal. Almost 20 pages detailing every abuse he had ever experienced. His anger had turned from others onto himself. He thought of himself as nothing. Worthless.
And he hated himself.
I could write pages and pages of stories just like these. People I have known and sat with for hours, listening to their pain. Some call it low self-esteem, some prefer other words.
The semantics of self-hatred doesn’t really matter.
In the end, it comes down to a pain that seems impossible to bear and even more impossible to be rid of.
Living in this broken world breaks us. Not one of us can escape unscathed. No matter what your ditch is, you have fallen into one at some point in your life. Sad as it is to say, if you haven’t yet, your ditch will come. Pain is an inevitable part of life.
These scrapes, bruises, and deep scars leave us with images of ourselves that are distorted. We feel trapped, roots of pain reaching so deep that we do not know how to rip them out. We sometimes get into cycles of patterns that we hate, and yet repeat.
Over. And. Over.
We get stuck and have no idea how to move forward.
There is a way to find yourself again. To be whole. To become the you that God sees. When God sees you, God sees an intricately beautiful creation. A masterpiece. Of course, God sees the hurt — God does not minimize or deny your pain. God is in the restoration business, and can and will bring you back to the you that you were made to be.
Don’t stay stuck. Live in freedom.
You can discover the real you so that you can truly live and love yourself for the rest of your eternal life.
That man and woman I described earlier?
They are living as completely different people today. The woman who hated herself spent hours in my office working through her trauma using guided imagery and prayer to heal. She encountered Jesus as the One who could heal her, rather than one who condemned and blamed her. The man who was abused his whole life found his voice and learned how to stand up for himself.
Their roads to health were not easy, and none of us ever “arrive,” but they are no longer stuck in the traps that once bound them.
How did they do it?
They discovered the 3 secrets of getting unstuck. In counseling, we identified their emotional traps — areas that had them stuck. Once they zeroed in on specific areas of brokenness, we dug deep to find the roots of their problems. That hard work was pretty painful at times. However, they kept the end in mind — they wanted to be free. After pulling up those deep roots, they built momentum for change.
Maybe you have been trying to spiritually grow, but something just seems to be getting in the way.
Or perhaps you have a friend you’ve been trying to help, but nothing seems to “stick.” Try as we might to find them, there are no easy answers or quick fixes to emotional pain.
Healing takes active work and requires taking specific steps in the right direction. Trying out basic solutions (“if I just trust God more” or “let me make a New Year’s resolution”) do not bring healing. These band-aids do nothing more than cover up wounds. Much of the time, to truly heal we need open heart surgery.
As a counselor, time limits how many people can walk into my office. There are often a lot of barriers to walking into a therapy room. While there is no replacement for counseling, especially for those with symptoms of a mental illness, there are ways you can grow and change.
I have created resources that will help you walk this journey to freedom with a guide every step of the way. If you want to become the you God sees, join me via my new ebook, Becoming the You God Sees. In the ebook, you will find links to my online course and live coaching call that will take you through a process of getting unstuck. I invite you to join me and discover every single thing God made you
I invite you to join me and discover every single thing God made you to be.
Kristen Kansiewicz is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor on staff at her church in Lynn, Massachusetts. Her new ebook, Becoming the You God Sees, is FREE on Amazon Oct 10-14, 2017. Kristen has also written several other books and resources, including On Edge: Mental Illness in the Christian Context and a companion 8-week curriculum. She also blogs weekly about faith and mental health at ChurchTherapy.com and she writes free daily devotionals at FreedomForToday.com.
You can also connect with all of Kristen’s books and resources by downloading her FREE app, currently available for Android (search in the app store for “Freedom For Today” using quotation marks). Kristen is on Twitter at @ChurchTherapist
Image cc: Hanna Morris
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