Unlock Your Freedom: Jesus Is the Key

Bullies Unlock your Freedom

“Mom, when you were growing up, did you ever have bullies?” asked my first-grader.

“You know, sweetie, I did.”

“What did they make fun of you for?”

“Well, the lunches I packed and the clothes I wore. Some of my friends always bought the school lunch, and they made fun of me because I was always bringing leftovers. My clothes weren’t new and trendy like theirs.”

“Oh. What did you do?”

“Over time, we weren’t friends anymore. I liked my clothes; they were comfortable. My family at the time couldn’t afford for me to buy lunches everyday. Plus, I liked eating leftovers. Waiting in line at school took too long.”

“Mom, can I play outside now?”


Isn’t that the way it is? When we’re younger, our peers pick out the silliest things to nitpick and browbeat another in order to make themselves fell superior, dominant, in control, secure, powerful.

Take another look at the image above. Childhood bullying looks a lot like the broken tricycle padlocked to a post.

So can childhood sexual abuse.

Symbolically, some of you may see the tricycle representing your innocence, your joy, your ability to have fun and be free to explore the wide and wild adventure that childhood brings.

Some of you may not see a tricycle, but rather your dreams and pursuits locked up not only by your actual perpetrator, but also by co-perpetrators and naysayers.

A co-perpetrator are people in your life who failed to assist you during the sexual abuse or during the recovery. Their actions may have been an active participation in the abuse, but not necessarily the actual abuser.

Or a co-perpetrator can be understood as those, who through inactivity, unsuccessfully stood up to stop the abuse or neglected to help you in getting help following the healing process.

Even within current relationships, unfortunately, people will play a similar role.

As you become more vocal with others about your healing journey, oppositional relationships will emerge, acting as a road block to your growth. Why?

Again, I am not a professional. I’m simply an average gal who’s forging ahead, one step at a time, in her healing journey.

It seems to me that, co-perpetrator or not, talking about our healing journey stirs the pot in others’ lives.

Whether we like it or not, we’re not the only ones carrying around extensive traumatic burdens; they’re simply packaged differently than ours.

Regardless of the trauma and woundedness, the detractors come. Usually couching judgment or criticism as advice.

“What you need to do is forgive and forget.”

As if it were that simple. Forgiveness is a must. Jesus commands us to forgive; after all, how can we, who’ve been forgiven, fail to forgive another? Forgetting, on the other hand, isn’t exactly possible. Remembering no more, is. There’s a difference.

“You should never tell your husband what happened to you, because that image will be, forever, stuck in his head.”

That’s a bully.

Bullies want to shut you up and will use whatever strength or influence they have to frighten you. Including the misuse of scripture or Christian sayings, like forgive and forget.

Know that there is a vested interest for them in you keeping silent. Your silence allows them to live in denial of their need to heal, to face the truth.

I’ve said this before, but speaking out makes others uncomfortable. And for good reason.

Sexual abuse is a challenging subject to broach. Yet, it seems to me through my own personal experience that the uncomfortable stirrings within the hearer have less to do with the topic, but rather the inward, untreated sorrows tucked in the dark corners of the soul.

Jesus says, “And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (Jn. 8.32).

He’s talking of Himself here. Only Jesus can set us free. It’s true; He’s the truth.

All the same, healing requires work, speaking up, and remaining silent no longer.

Your speaking out may look quite different than mine. Just because you begin a healing journey, it doesn’t mean that you start a blog and tell the entire wired-world.

Maybe it means contacting your caring pastor at church or a counselor who specializes in working with abuse survivors or your spouse.

Our ultimate enemy is the Father of Lies. His primary goal is to manipulate those who believe in Jesus and pull them away from The Truth.

Our enemy will use whatever means at his disposal to shut you up so that he can laugh at you while you fester in pain, because he knows that once you start speaking up and seeking The Truth, you will find healing and he will be unable to have influence over you anymore.

Satan is the Bully of all bullies.

Look back at the picture, again. See the chain and how it’s fastened together by the bully’s padlock?

Jesus is the key.

He reproduces innocence; He brings joy; He generates the kind of childlike fun and freedom to live and sing and dance and explore the wide and wild adventure that healing brings.

 

What’s your next step?

How are you being bullied in your healing journey? What areas of this healing journey are you still hanging onto out of fear, shame, or pain? Consider The Truth to set you free. Ask the Lord how He’d like you to speak out and then do it. He will be with you with each breath you take.

Join me on the healing journey.

Subscribe to She Dares to Voice and have the next leg of the journey delivered right to your inbox.

 

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Doctor’s Orders. Pick Up The Phone.

Press _1_ now bold

“I know you’re never going to believe this, but that was the best pap smear I’ve ever had!”

I know, right?! Who on God’s green earth actually says that?

I did.

*** Let the reader beware. Before you read any further, I want you to know I’m not going to elaborate on details of the exam. Having said that, I will share honestly about the emotional experiences of gynecologic exams.***

So back to the story.

While waiting in the office for my annual appointment, I noticed that the practice was switching to another, larger medical group.

When it was my time to go back, I asked the simple and obvious question. “Why did you go with this other group instead of the one with which this building is affiliated?”

“We felt this new group focuses more on women’s overall health and takes more initiatives in women’s health,” my doctor replied.

The wheels started spinning: Great idea. Women’s health. More initiatives.

Without thinking, a question slipped out of my mouth.

“Speaking of women’s health, in what ways does this practice make accommodations for women who’ve been sexually abused?”

The question mark was still hanging in the air, and I thought, “my word, Krista, what has gotten into you?!”

The next thirty minutes dialogue carried on about women’s health, the need for annual exams, and the anxiety the needed exam can cause for an abuse survivor.

I don’t know about you, but I vividly remember my first exam.

My male doctor, following protocol, had a female aide in the room, had me get get ready, and then attempted to carry on casual conversation while preforming the examination.

The failing mustard color of the room still lingers in my mind as I recall my entire body clenching, my heart racing, my breath moving shallow and quick, my vision tunneling with darkness.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to say stop. I wanted to run and never ever stop or go back to that place again.

It wasn’t the stirrups that I wanted to run from.

No, it was that dark bedroom, that small bathroom, that corner in the basement when my perpetrator violated me. Those memories were guilty of tormenting me during the examination.

During the recent conversation with my doctor, I mentioned, with curiosity, a sudden thought that dawned on me.

How many women who have been sexually abused fail to get an annual exam as a result of their abuse?

Don’t get me wrong. I know no one enjoys those exams. Your everything is exposed. And it’s no one’s cup of tea.

For the abuse survivor, though, it’s more than the annoyance of being exposed during examination. It’s the awakening of the deep and dark trauma that we’ve put to sleep in order to keep going about our day-to-day.

In similar fashion, spiritual examination of the deep recesses of the soul tend to trigger comparable physical and emotional responses within the survivor.

I know I’ve said this before; I am not a professional counselor. Yet, from my experience in my own healing and from my coming alongside others in their healing, I have witnessed, first hand, the same look of fright upon a woman’s face when asked to share and go deep spiritually.

Exploring the extent of our spirituality exposes the very depths of who we are and lays bear the realities of who we believe God to be.

The truth is, He has already searched the depths of our being, and He has known us (Psalm 139:1). Even still, uncovering our hearts to the very Maker of them feels just like climbing up into those stirrups, at times.

So, as I discussed annual exams with my doctor, a joyous hope stirred within me.

Maybe by speaking up, another woman may not have a panic attack every year for her exam.

Maybe by speaking up, doctors all over will start to make changes and invite those who’ve been abused to come in–maybe for the first time–to get a check-up.

The reality is many gynecologists aren’t trained, educated, or informed about the lasting effects of sexual abuse, even though one in four of their patients carry this millstone into the exam room.

Likewise, many Christian communities aren’t trained, educated, or informed about the taunting and encumbering effects their fellow sisters of faith bring with them during their time of fellowship and worship.

Thinking more about a spiritual examination with the Great Physician, a joyous hope stirred within me.

Maybe by speaking up within the church, church leaders and communities will begin educating themselves and equipping their body of believers to learn how to come alongside and minister to their very own, who suffer in silence.

Maybe by speaking up within the church, women will learn to find the safe and the trustworthy to help them make that appointment with the Great Physician for their spiritual examination.

So, yeah. I told one of my dear friends about how it was the best exam ever. I meant every single bit of it.

What’s your next step?

How about that annual exam? Is it time to pick up the phone? Consider sharing with your physician any anxiety you may experience in the exam room. If you have a good physician, your doctor will want to find ways to accommodate your fears and lessen your anxiety.

As for the Lord, the Great Physician, He’s ready and waiting for you to pick up the phone, too. He’s waiting for your call.

Join me on the healing journey.

Subscribe to She Dares to Voice and have the next leg of the journey delivered right to your inbox.