As you walk along, reimagining your healing journey, make sure to create space and time for reflection. I am in no way incinuating that you need to dwell on the past - make no mistake. I am encouraging you to sit and ponder your past. Grab a pen and some paper and let your mind pour out words, phrases, ideas through your fingers. Don't grab your computer. There is something more cathartic about the act of writing.
Reflect on your childhood and how it has shaped your life to this point. Forgive those who were charged with raising you and obviously failed you in some way. They are human and holding a grudge only hurts you. Work to pray over the pain and release it. You will have to do this more than once. In this step, allow yourself grace. You will need it as you grieve - and you will grieve.
Reflect on friendships. Do you have people in your life that have been there since childhood? What is it about them that makes you work at those relationships? What are the characteristics those people possess that you realize you need in your life? What do you offer those relationships? Take some time to ponder the reason, season, or lifetime you have spent with people. Then, please send a handwritten note (if you can) to those who are a blessing in your life. You know they are a blessing to you... but do they? Don't assume they know what you mean to them.
Reflect on the losses you've endured. Family, friends, children, spouses, pets, expectations that you had and have said farewell too. Again, give yourself grace as you grieve. As your chest grows heavy, lean into the grieve that will wash over you. Pray over the pain of loss and work to let it go. This will likely be another area you will need to revisit more than once.
Reflect on the blessings that have glittered your lifetime. Spend the most time here because it is the more life-giving. Consider the roof over your head, the clothes on your back, the food in your belly, the laughter you enjoy, the relationships that matter, the money you have, the freedom you enjoy, your health (yes, even a sickness can be a blessing if you choose to see it as such), etc. Blessings can come through all sorts of avenues: a job you didn't want but provided for your family; a little extra cash in your pocket; a extra long line at the store that allowed you to read a beautiful article in a sea of what is typically garbage news; a conversation with a friend you haven't talked to in too long...
Reflect on how you treat yourself. Do you speak love to yourself or disapproval? Was that something that was modeled for you? Scripture tells us "love others as you love yourself". We cannot love others until we have love for ourselves. This is NOT pride - this is self-care, self-love, self-value, honoring your boundaries, honoring your gifts and talents, making space for YOU in the midst of caring for everyone else. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (if you are a Believer). Are you cleaning out the junk and dust? Are you feeding it what it needs (not just food but also visually, audibly, etc)? Are you taking into account that your temple is NOT someone elses temple? Do not compare - that will only steal your joy.
Reflection will stir up unpleasantness. That I can promise. Do not fear! Explore the unpleasant. Explore the pain. Explore the context of all you experienced. Spread grace over it all. Embrace the pain one last time and then release it as you would a dear friend who has been called away from you, never to return. That pain shaped you into who you are today - and that is not a bad thing. "Choose this day whom you will serve..." Choose to serve the Lord, be kind to yourself, do the next right thing.
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