A filter allows us to alter a photo. It may improve the picture or grotesquely distort it. We get to choose.
How we view ourselves, others and events in life is seen through the filter of our past experiences and current foundation. It can help us hold steady to a healthy view of life or it can grotesquely distort it.
What if we could alter our life filter? We can. It is a choice and a process.
I’ve realized so much of my life has been spent seeing myself through the filter of shame. Paired with anger is just plain scary to me. You either choose to clam up (flight) or defend (fight). I’ve lived more often on the defensive than not although as I’ve aged I’ve learned to do both well depending on how badly I just wanted to keep the peace and be “accepting” of the real or perceived shame.
The shaking of my marriage followed by the tragedy of an accident involving the fatality of my little shadow brought a life time of shame to the surface in a very, very real way. I began to sort out what was real, what was perceived by me and what was projected on me. I’m still letting go of those layers in the decades of undealt with shame in my life...places where I perhaps made excuses or stuffed the pain. Yeshua freed us by His grace and work on the Cross. But the continuing work is the cycles and triggers meeting up w the truth I know speak to my heart and finding healing. Wounds take time to heal. (And the enemy will seek our week spots constantly-until we die.) This is part of what it means to find beauty for ashes. I’m thankful for new beginnings.
When we are in the wrong -on purpose or not-we need to take responsibility AND receive forgiveness from the Father even if others offer it and especially if they don’t. When we FEEL shame projected that’s not even ours, defensiveness still doesn’t reign. (This is where we see areas we are not believing the truth about our identity.) There are people who want to believe something about a situation or me bc of their filter and it’s not always possible for reconciliation. But personal restoration is always possible w the work of grace in our lives. I’m thankful for the work of forgiveness-for me-to others-continually. The door to freedom.
There are three ways to help improve your filter: 1. Mindfulness
"A raw bleeding heart is better than a heart of stone." Ann Voskamp
How am I feeling about this?
What am I feeling?
Is this a reoccuring pattern for me?
It happened (real or percieved).
We don't have to minimize the pain to move through the pain. Minimizing it actually is a form of suppressing it. Suppressing the pain does not move us through to the other side. Regardless of it being a real trauma or just how we feel about something, there is a wrong story that we tempted to believe or that we do believe. (Shame, hopelessness, our value, etc.)
Counselors, intimate friends, a pastor, a spouse can be allies in these moments.
3. Intentional choices-Let's not live in self pity, a view of feeling devalued or pride. Let's choose to replace the wrong story we were telling ourselves with the truth of God's Word.
We can begin to make intentional choices to move through the pain.
*Forgiveness is the first step. It is a choice and a process.
*Asking God for a rhema Word, a scripture that is a promise from Him that we can hold onto is critical. We can trust Him regardless of how things look around us...regardless of how the process unfolds. It is the heart of His promise we hold onto. He WANTS to do exceedinly, abundantly MORE than we can think or ask.
*Develop a prayer life. Don't just talk...listen, soak, wait. Pour your heart out. King David, the man after God's own heart laid his heart bear and did not hesitate to tell God his inner struggles. Read the Psalms if you want to know more!
*Accountability. Find a trustworthy person to check in with on a regular basis. When you say your goals and rhemas, you increase your success by 10%. If you write them down (post them everywhere) you triple it. When you have accountability your chances of success go up to 75%! List specific prayer points, memorize your rhema, spend time in prayer.
What are some ways you have neglected to deal with your pain? The freedom comes by moving through it. You know when you have when it becomes a memory but not a trigger. To "forgive and forget" is unrealistic. We don't forget. But we can learn to walk in freedom inspite of the trauma. We don't have to let it become our identity. Whether you did it or it was done to you, it does not define you.