In the city of Carmel, California, there is a famous cypress tree, weathered and gnarled and growing out of solid rock on the edge of the rugged coast. If that cypress could talk, it might complain about the coastal storms that have battered it for so many years, twisting its branches. It might curse those who maliciously carved initials on its weather-beaten trunk. In spite of all that, the tree remains a lasting symbol of great beauty, the object of photographers worldwide, and a visual representation of tenacity and courage against the ravages of nature.
The challenges of your life have shaped you, requiring tenacity and courage. Some of you may have wrenching, terrible memories. I just want to remind you that you did not always have control over what happened to you. In fact, most of your early life experiences may have been completely out of your control, which gives you even greater reason to view your earlier challenges from a fresh perspective and to see the past with adult eyes, taking note of your struggles in a light that will enhance your growth, give you hope for your better future, and bring greater healing and less stress.
However, some past pain can be so deeply embedded, you need to be willing to ask for help. If your past includes verbal, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse, you will need help in healing from that pain. Recovery from those particular situations requires the skilled knowledge of a professional counselor. So often, abuse creates a sense of isolation for the victim, with shame and guilt creating walls to keep out others and hide the secret. You do not need to walk this journey alone. Healing is not your sole responsibility and asking for help is not failure. Telling your story will not destroy you; telling your story will free you.
If much of your stress comes from the ghosts from your past, you must acknowledge those ghosts, so you can banish them and remove their power over you. The past is gone; the future is not guaranteed. What we are given is today. And because we are just given today, we must live our lives in the present and stop turning over our present to the past.
Today and every day, in each situation you find yourself in, you have a choice. Acknowledging a painful past so that you can truly let it go will not be easy. However, making that choice will be worth the effort. Once you understand your past, you can put it behind you and run the race God has set for you, unhindered by ghosts.
If you are struggling with a painful past, The Center • A Place of HOPE is here to help. Our team is skilled at navigating these sensitive issues surrounding fear, depression, stress and anxiety. For more information, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today.