Isn't it amazing the level of denial some people can exist in? Isn't it even more amazing when we finally realize that person is us?
I have been there.
There was a season in my life when I honestly believed I was the victim. The victim of a husband who wasn't there for me like I felt he should be and the victim of a God who apparently doesn't answer prayer after all.
In my eyes I had done everything I could do, I had done more than my part, it was everyone else who was letting me down. Even God. And I felt pretty entitled to be upset about it.
So I wallowed. I wallowed for a long time. Months and months of pitying myself.
I didn't deserve this. I really didn't. And I dwelled there day and night.
Then I suddenly switched gears. I no longer felt like a victim. Instead, I felt like a failure. It was all my fault. Everything. My struggling marriage, my dead babies, every wrong and bad thing in my life was all my fault. I did deserve it. All of it. Bad people deserve bad things.
I spent months overwhelmed with guilt. I grew to hate myself in a deep and scary way. And any hope of a good life again was fading away. I wasn't worthy of it.
I eventually realized that I was stuck. Stuck in the lies pain sometimes tells us.
And I wanted out. But I didn't know how.
I tried all kinds of distractions. Exercising. Reading every self-help book on the shelf. Drinking an entire bottle of wine on more than one occasion. Even seeking out an inappropriate emotional relationship. None of which fixed anything.
Sin always promises to relieve our pain.
But it never does. As a matter of fact, the pain only got worse.
No one tells you how confusing grief can be or how vulnerable you'll be in your pain. I look back on those days and I hurt all over again. I was so disoriented, so alone, and so overwhelmed. I heaped more pain on myself as a result. And recovering has been long and slow.
Trusting God's word is what got me through. Its what is getting me through.
Relief only came when I let God's truths defeat the lies and accepted the comfort that God promised. I also sought very good counsel (I saw a therapist) to help me see what my pain was blinding me from.
It didn't happen overnight but healing did come. I was able to stop blaming others, including God and myself, for my pain and let go of the guilt and shame that had eroded away all my self-esteem. I don't hate myself anymore nor do I hate everyone else. I have learned to accept that not everything is in my control.
Mostly I have stopped believing the lies.
The funny thing about lies though is that you can't just stop believing them, you have to replace them with what is TRUE.
My life is not perfect, but at least I see it clearly now. There is still lots of work to do and healing to take place, but at least now it can happen.
Healing is what it true for me today. Hope is true. Joy is true. God's comfort is true. God's love is true. My pain is still true as my girls are still not with me. But the lies are gone allowing the good truths to help heal the difficult ones. Sorrow and joy can coexist. Pain and peace. Emptiness with fulfillment.
Lies heal nothing. They only wound more deeply and seek to rob you of any opportunity for real healing.
Don't live another minute in denial of what you need to make it through the grief you carry. Healing will only come when you accept the truth about where healing comes from. It does not come from yourself, your strength, your reasoning, from time, distraction, or medication.
Only God and the truth of his Word can heal your pain.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Ps 119:28 NIV