Looking back on our lives, we can see what has damaged us, defined us and how it has affected us. Maybe we say, “Well, I was abused”, or “my parent was never there for me” or “I was always told I was stupid.” These are the chains that may have held you back and kept you in their grip. These chains have kept you down and may have affected every area of your life…personal relationships, ability to commit, lack of integrity, feeling invaluable or unnoticed, unable to trust, etc.
We all have things in our lives that we wish never happened; maybe some things others did or some regrets we have of our own mistakes or actions. God is not a God of shame, guilt, remorse, or regret. He is a God of love, acceptance, justice, and grace. You may have heard the saying, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”…a life not defined by the divorce of your parents or what you have endured. You may barely remember when times were good or you may have many good memories to hang onto. Those will always be a part of you, however, they don’t have to define you.
Even though the pain of your parents’ separation/divorce may have been overwhelming at times, you may be able to see some positives that came from it too (ie. more peace in the house with no more conflict, closer relationships with your brothers/sisters, you became more responsible, etc.).
Let’s get right down to the basics….do you like who you are, what you look like, the state of your life right now? If you look in the mirror, are you pleased with what you see? That crooked smile, droopy eyelid, your buck teeth, or any number of other flaws are just that…flaws. They do not define you even though other kids may have made fun of you when you were growing up. Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? Well, most of the time, words can hurt more than physical harm and the damage from those words can last a lot longer.
Children can be so horribly cruel and hurtful. The wounds can run deep and stay with us all of our lives. We take it in and it can be used to stop us from being our best. It begins to affect our self-value even as an adult. Why? Because deep within each of us, we want to be loved and accepted. We want people to like us and value us just for who we are. We don’t want to have to put on faces and change them to impress people or groups we come in contact with. We want to be real don’t we?
Many times, because of our damage, we put up huge, thick walls around us so we won’t be hurt again. The problem is, even though we think we are protecting ourselves, we are actually preventing any outsiders from really knowing us; the real us. They may see a smile, but not know we are breaking inside. They may also see a hard exterior and not make the effort to really get to know us. We are actually “shooting ourselves in the foot” and then we lament because we don’t have many friends.
Many times, we can be so covered by anger and resentment that we are not free to explore who we really are underneath all the turmoil. In most cases, we don’t even know how. We have grown accustomed to looking at everything through a filter of anger and hurt. We, once again, define ourselves by what has happened and not by who God says we are.
It is important to explore who you really are. You are unique! You have gifts, talents, a specific temperament and spiritual gifts that you could use to help others and glorify God. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to be free to be the real you?! Begin searching the Word of God for the promises and truths about you. Go to a Bible bookstore and look for devotionals and write down every truth you read.
If you looked deeper, you could probably see some things that were positive outcomes of your parents’ separation/divorce. Maybe you grew closer to God, or built new relationships or became more independent out of necessity and became stronger through the crisis. It may be that you learned what kind of spouse or parent you wanted to be or didn’t want to be.
The enemy, Satan, doesn’t want us to find our identity in who God says we are. He wants us to try and do everything on our own, to fail at anything positive, live in darkness and not serve God in any way. He wants us to be angry and bitter and he influences that part of us constantly. That is his self-proclaimed purpose and goal; to keep us far from God and a relationship with Him. What he keeps forgetting, however, is that God is bigger than Him and because He loves us, He wants a loving relationship with us.
The enemy has covered you in chains and with every link that is broken, he loses one more hold on you. Exploring who you truly are is like a wrapped gift you are going to be opening. Inside this magnificent present, you will find the beautiful truths of who you are without all the garbage that came before; without all the chains you have been dragging through your life. This is the truth about you, friend. Leave all the negative messages you have heard and lived with for so many years and keep them outside of this present. There is no place for them here. You are who God says you are; nothing more and nothing less.
“The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth; He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.” Psalm 145:13b-14, 18,19