Women, especially those have been sexually abused, oftentimes carry deep fears. Men can as well, it just looks different for men then it does for women.
While fear is normal and valuable because it can keep a person from dangerous situations and mobilize a person to flee when danger approaches, it can also be an enemy, wearing a person down, robbing one of health and keep us from enjoying positive relationships.
One area I have had to deal with specifically in my life is that of changing my expectations and not viewing everything through the lens of fear.
People tend to both see and experience what they expect. How do you feel about that statement?
None of us entered life expecting to be abused, and although there are exceptions to the rule regarding the statement, generally speaking, I think it is pretty accurate.
Let me use the following story to illustrate.
A King wanted to find out whether his kingdom contained more weeds or flowers. He called two men into his court. To the first he gave the assignment of cataloging all the weeks in his kingdom. The second man was given the assignment of cataloging all the flowers. They were given two months to complete their assignment.
At the end of the two months they returned to the king. The first said, “O mighty king, your kingdom is covered in weeds! It’s a horrible sight! You must do something about it. It’s sad to have so many weeds invading your kingdom.”
The second man said, “O mighty king, our kingdom is absolutely overrun with flowers of every kind and color. They are glorious. They make your kingdom fresh and alive. It is a joy to be part of your kingdom.”
Talk about two very different perspectives.
What we expect to see colors what we do see in life!!
Because I have been talking a lot lately about “words” I’d like to share something I have discovered over the years.
While it’s true that although words can be thrown at us carelessly and sometimes they can be hurled with the intent to injure, I can’t help but wonder how often we filter situations or words from others through our already gaping wounds….words from friends, family, co-workers, Christian brothers and sisters…..how often are words spoken and we assume they are insinuating something when it was really the farthest thing from their minds?
Yet their words can pierce deeply because we are hearing them through words and wounds long ago spoken that have left a fracture in our spirits and we tend to filter everything through that.
And so we react, we turn away, we put up a wall, we take offence, we write that person off, we withdraw deeper into ourselves instead of taking the wound or the assumption or the questions to Jesus. How often do we find the courage to go to the person and ask what they really meant, asking them to elaborate, or to risk telling them the effect their words had on us.
I am not saying this to heap more guilt or shame, I am not suggesting that it didn’t hurt, I am never denying the pain….but perhaps it is time to honestly look at our reactions through the lens of Jesus rather than our fears.
Please understand that I am not talking about words that are abusive, insulting , harmful or offensive, words used to control, wound or manipulate us. I am talking about our everyday relationships with friends, co-workers, those with whom we are in community.
In dealing with fear, changing my expectations has been a part of my healing process. I was hurt many times as a child, but there are flowers in the kingdom, I had to make the choice to look for them. I had to realize that my life was not totally ruined because of the weeds unless I decided to quit on myself.
Our fears are frequently tied to our pasts….maybe it’s time to look at the present for what it is.
Because if we live our lives expecting to be hurt, expecting to see weeds wherever we look, expecting others to always let us down, wrong us or think the worst of us….then our abuser wins again.
Remember…..today and tomorrow have no writing on them yet…….
My hope is that your story will be about changing your expectations, about allowing God to birth something beautiful inside of you, that you will trust Him, and that you will learn to love without fear.