I run a weekly group for people seeking inner healing and freedom in their lives. Before one session, I got a new perspective on brokenness that might be helpful for you too.
For a couple decades now, I’ve worked with individuals and groups, often helping them deal with old wounds and painful memories. As I prepared for this particular night, I started thinking about how we all have snapshots from our past of episodes that hurt us. Some are more difficult to look at than others. At times the emotion associated is incredibly fresh when we think about what happened.
I remember one time when my mother-in-law disclosed to me a deep hurt from something that had occurred more than 50 years prior. She looked like a little girl in that moment, with tears in her eyes. Clearly, time hadn’t sufficiently healed that old wound.
As I thought about those snapshots, I began realizing that for some of us, the enemy has created a scrapbook of our painful memories. And around each picture, are the words he tries to get us to connect with the hurt.
Here are a few examples I came up with:
Snapshot of betrayal – “I can’t trust anyone. ”
Memory of rejection – “No one wants me. ”
Picture that brings up shame – “If anyone really knew me, they wouldn’t love me.”
Experience that led to disappointment – “It’s always going to be this way. I’d better not get my hopes up.”
When our memory scrapbook is filled with lies and distortions like that, we find ourselves stuck repeating unhealthy patterns. In our group, we each wrote out a memory snapshot, and some of the negative words and phrases associated with it. Then we ripped them up, and took time to create a new scrapbook page covered with words of truth.
We talked about how God’s scrapbook of our lives is so very different, and full of hopeful, healing words. Truth!
“I am loved.”
“God has never let me down.”
“That experience doesn’t define me.”
“I am enough!”
One of my favorite takeaways from that night was the reality that God is in every picture in my scrapbook. He never leaves us alone. I called Him the ultimate photo bomber! If we look for Him in our painful memories, He is always there loving us, even if we couldn’t feel Him with us at the time.
Are you toting around some old, painful memories? Try doing what we did. Take some time to uncover the distortions you’ve believed, and ask God to replace them with His words of life. You may experience a new level of freedom!