I count the days on the calendar. It’s been thirty-four days since I last saw my counsellor. I’ve been avoiding her with every fibre of my being because I know what comes next: the next time I see her, we are going to talk about the hard parts of my story that leave me sad and sick and trembling. I know this because the last session we had, I told her so. I said, “Next time we meet, I’m ready to dive in deep.”
I said this, smiling and courageous. But then I exited her office, and the courage I once had seemed to leave me like I left her.
I decided to avoid her for awhile. Currently, I’d rather poke my eyes out than go back to her office and “dive in deep.”
Instead, I want to eat Doritos on my couch and watch a Hallmark Christmas movie and pretend I don’t see a counsellor. I want to lose myself in romantic stories on my television and imagine my life is what I see on the screen in front of me.
But inevitably, when the potato chips are gone and Netflix is turned off, I realize my measly self-soothing habits have done nothing to heal my worn and wounded heart.
I see my brokenness in the glow of the television screen. My heart breaks a little more because I know all I’ve done is repressed my woundedness.
Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
I think she was onto something. When we keep our painful pieces tucked inside of us, we only end up more scarred from the shards.
Telling someone your story requires exceptional courage and vulnerability. And the truth is, the majority of the time, I do not feel courageous. I am not some brave warrior willing to put it all out on the line. Most of the time, I would rather stay safe in my apartment, unscathed.
And yet, even in the fear, even in the vulnerability, there is great freedom when you invite someone into your story. I don’t want to live in my prison of shame. I want to step into the freedom Jesus died to give me.
Over and over again, Jesus invited people to name their pain and to share their story. In the book of Mark, blind Bartimaeus cried out for Jesus to heal him. Jesus stopped and asked him a question, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The answer, of course, was simple. The man was blind. Obviously he wanted Jesus to heal him. But Jesus — in His infinite kindness — wanted Bartimaeus to name his pain. Jesus wasn’t dense or cruel. He was kind. He offered and invited Bartimaeus into a safe and kind space to name what was hurting him.
When we name our pain and tell our story to someone trustworthy, healing begins its slow, deep work within us, allowing the light to seep in where darkness was before. We begin the process of taking small steps toward freedom, and Jesus promises the truth will set you free.
Jesus is safe and kind, and I pray He provides someone safe and kind for you to begin the hard work of naming your pain and sharing your story with. I know not all of us have the privilege of a counsellor, but I pray God provides someone trustworthy for you to begin this process.
I am not ready to talk about the hard parts of my story with a lot of people yet. We don’t have to tell the world our stories, but we can’t keep the sharp pieces inside of us. We have to choose to step toward healing and freedom.
I call my counsellor after thirty-four days and make an appointment. I am ready to name my pain in a safe place. I am terrified, but I have the presence of Jesus around me and His courage within me.
Ever so slowly, I know the truth will set me free.
When we name our pain and tell our story to someone trustworthy, healing begins its slow, deep work within us. -@alizalatta: Click To Tweet