I recently read about rewriting your own personal story after life changing events or other major internal changes. Our story in the past may have largely included fear, shame, victimization, blame and anger. But as we retell our own story “so that it includes new perceptions, new understandings, and new conclusions…and as we continue to retell this new story to ourselves and others….we provide even more support for our healing and recovery. Our story changes over time. It begins with confusion and fear and pain…but (in my own words, we are transformed by God) and our story becomes less self-centered, less about victimization and more about hope, empathy and service. In the process, our brain steadily heals as well. In bonding, we open ourselves to others and build trust, attachment, empathy, and vulnerability.” From A Gentle Path through the Twelve Steps by Patrick Carner, Ph.D.
There are several reasons why I haven’t written a post lately and I will seek to explain why in the next few posts.
I was trying to make it too complicated, too intense rather than simply letting it be personal. The blog is entitled Opening My Heart and I sort of lost sight of that. I got caught up in thinking there was this list of deep theological questions to work through rather than simply opening my heart and telling how my story has changed since 2000 when I came back to my home area to live. How I am rewriting my story, or how God is rewriting my story. How I’ve changed within and without.
I started this blog by sharing excerpts from old journals I had kept through the years but eventually I had gone through all of them and have now thrown them away. I said what I needed to say.
Occasionally I have new insights about different ways of thinking or beliefs where the meeting church doctrines were incorrect and detrimental and how I don’t believe in that particular line of thought or concept any more. But for the most part, I’m done. I still default at times to negative self talk which was actually glorified in the meeting culture and wrongly called humility.
I am continually aware of the need of having my mind renewed (Romans 12:1-2). To stop worrying about tomorrow (Matthew 6:25-34), or fretting and worrying in general (Psalm 37:8-9). Instead to turn all worry into a prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). Replacing lies with truth so that I can know true freedom, and finally to think more about what is true, lovely and pure etc. (Philippians 4:8). Over time, like the quote I mentioned in the beginning of this post, my focus has shifted from a place of frustration to one of a new life. Like the dawn breaking over a dark horizon and gradually it gets lighter and lighter with every minute.
My story has changed a great deal. I will write about what I have been doing in the next couple of posts. These changes are the result of HUGE changes within; changes God alone has brought about. At times, the inward and outward changes paralleled each other, but most often, the inward ones took the longest and my feet wouldn’t move until my heart had. I’m a slow processor and analyze things to death. I am terrified of making poor decisions (because I have made a number of them) and of being deceived. I have to KNOW God is directing before I’m comfortable changing anything.
I’d like to think I’ve gone from being a really good Pharisee to a really good follower of Christ. From being a lover of law to a lover of grace. From majoring in the minors to majoring in the majors. From following what was tradition to following the Holy Spirit. From needing the approval of others to trusting I have the approval of God. From involving God in very little of my life to involving Him in all of my life. From thanking Him not just for the big things but all the countless little ways He shows me His love, faithfulness and grace. From leaning on others to leaning more and more on Him. From fearing Jesus’ return to “I can’t wait for His return.” From constantly doubting my salvation to having a sure confidence in my salvation. From believing I was saved by works rather than by grace. From seeing Jesus as my friend and Savior to seeing Him as those things plus believing that He was God in the flesh at the same time. From my focus being on the ministry and the meeting in the home to Jesus, The Minister, and worshiping Christ rather than the form. Just to mention a few!
To be continued….