Saturday, August 13, 2016
June 16, 2015:
Again, here I sit alone in my room, listening to worship music. Again, I confess that I find myself at a complete lack for words in beginning this entry. But again, I feel very strongly that my heart is overflowing. It’s overflowing with goodness. But also with so much pain. So I will try my hardest to express what I am feeling. I strongly feel as though I have forgiven the people who hurt me. But as I have learned this is also, a very deep, continual process. It is a continuing process of offering up the pain and the responsibility to God Almighty. I’m finding more and more, with each time I am able to forgive, it is becoming easier for me to release much of this weight and shame that’s on my heart. But regardless of how much I forgive, there is another weight that is on my heart. I feel so trapped. Even right now, trying to express this thought. I feel like I am failing in the mission I was sent to accomplish in order to glorify God. I know that God wouldn’t have chosen me if He didn’t think I could do it, or finish the race well. And by God, I will absolutely finish well, with a life lived for glory of God. I just don’t know if there’s a chance still to benefit the world in the way everything was intended. I know what I deserve. I know what I have done. I just really feel trapped surrounding this because of the emotions I feel about what happened to me. I want so incredibly much what God has to offer. And by God, I had no intention of sacrificing glory. It certainly wasn’t a conscious choice. I just feel like everything that has happened to me, I haven’t even started to scratch the surface. I want so badly what God has to offer. I don’t know how to accept it. All my life, I have been literally surviving by offering the entirety of my being, heart and soul to others who used these things selfishly. I see now that those were parts of me. I am a human being who deserved so much better. It was not a conscious decision to forfeit glory. I want love. I’m so sorry I couldn’t have been stronger. I cannot even really explain in entirety how badly this all affected me. I had coffee with a friend from the church today. We were talking about sexual abuse and at one point, I found myself describing sex as such an intricate aspect of who we are. In the sense that it connects us, in beautiful harmony, in every way. Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically. Mentally. When such a sacred act is used against a human being maliciously, especially a child, it fragments our sense of wholeness. A lot of the time, I feel shattered, like I am in a constant and frantic search to pick up the broken pieces of my being. It’s almost as though at one point, I just said, “I’m going away now. No one loves me.” I feel like I am on a rescue mission, determined to find and honor that little child within myself who had endured so much pain. I was trying to be someone the child could trust. Our lives as humans are geared towards feeling whole, towards filling the pieces of rejection that were caused as young people. We’re geared to replace the wounds because our natural state is to be loved by God. It’s pretty clear to me that the earlier rejection begins, the more damage and deeper the wounds will be. I remember hearing somewhere that God just desires us to feel completely loved by Him, completely embraced by His grace and goodness. I fear abandonment, trust, intimacy, rejection, love and sex. Why shouldn’t I? People I should have trusted in childhood had hurt me in dreadful ways. I feel like I don’t have a right to call myself a Christian a lot of the time. I feel this way because of the defence mechanisms and fears that I have, which were deeply etched into my soul. Mostly because of their effects on me. Like the flashbacks, which occur most of the time when I am triggered, often causing me to become defensive and, at times, lash out verbally at people. When I am experiencing this, it becomes very close to blacking out. In the sense that there is no deliberation over whether a true threat is present. Being defensive was never a conscious choice. It was almost like a reflex, an instinct of survival. Like the reflex we all have when we feel like we’re going to fall. It’s because I hurt that I push people away when I feel they’re getting too close. It’s a conflicting dynamic at work. I desperately want love. But I am terrified of it at the same time. I believed in my heart that the needs and desires of others were more important than my own. I still have so many emotions and, what is more difficult, the defence mechanisms, which have been ingrained into my sense of self deeper than my identity of who I am. But I am going to try my hardest to live a life of humility and love. Yesterday, Monday, I went down to College and Yonge in the early afternoon. I went there to write a little and reflect over some things. I was feeling the weight of my own sin and wanted to address the feelings I was experiencing regarding unforgiveness and fear. I wrote until the battery on my laptop drained. And then I left. Entering the building in which the subway was located, I gave a woman on the street ten dollars. Then I entered the subway, saw a man asking for money, stopped and offered him twenty dollars. He hardly even smiled. Fleetingly, the thought entered my mind as to why I even bother to do stuff like that. But then, I reflected over the real reason I do it. I do this because of Christ. I give because of the Spirit on my heart. And even though, He may not always be overtly present in my life, He is an absolute presence there. I remembered that I give because I like helping others. Because sometimes, they sincerely need it. And you have got to wonder how much he must need it, about the state he has allowed himself to get into for him to have a reaction like that. I got on the subway and rode it until Dupont. At that station, I realized that I had a Gatehouse sexual abuse survivor’s support group that night in a half hour. So I got off there and hailed a cab, which drove me to Lakeshore. At the meeting, I was a little anxious going in. One of the first exercises we did together was to go around the circle and offer each person a compliment, something we appreciated about them. It was so beautiful to watch each person receive their validations. I was almost last to receive. And just hearing what everybody had to say about me was so inspiring. It was so moving. I have to be honest that for a while, I felt distant from this group. Only because I didn’t feel as if I was ready to contribute to it in the ways that some of the others did. But hearing everybody – not just hearing but listening – to what they all had to say about me was a special experience for me. And affirmed that often the way we feel about ourselves is not how others see us. I felt like this was the first time I was able to actually hear people when they offered me compliments. In that sense I feel I am absolutely getting better. I feel very comfortable in saying that because of the support systems, which I have built for myself over the past six months, I am shedding the bad core beliefs I held about myself and learning to accept who I am as a human being. Don’t forget, journal, that up until New Year’s 2015, I was seriously isolating myself. It’s a painful process. Feelings of shame and inadequacy dominated me. I was always tempted to retreat into a state of powerlessness. But still, in the confusion and stress, I had a quiet assurance that eventually I would experience freedom. I am slowly learning that I absolutely have a right to love. I absolutely have a right to receive love and to set up boundaries for myself. I absolutely have a right to call myself a Christian. More and more, I am learning to rejoice in what has happened to me. Not just in offering forgiveness and extending mercy. But also in experiencing new things and reaching out and asking for help. I can honestly say that I am learning to love myself. Only because of Christ. Only because of His continual presence and refusal to give up on me, am I healing. Only because of His great sacrifice, which offered all of us, so much incredible hope, was I able to forgive seemingly endless wounds. It is a truth that Satan does not have the authority or the ability to create. Only God creates. Satan only obfuscates that Truth and Creation. As Christians we’re called to love others as we love ourselves. The first commandment in that instance is for a person to love one’s self. Because if we don’t have love for ourselves in the way God intended, we cannot love others. How are we to approach a beautiful, innocent child who has been ravaged his life over and, in every way, taught that they are filthy, worthless, unlovable, inadequate? I think that if we as Christians are to forgive personal grievances seven times seventy seven times, we should have the same concern for individuals who are having a difficult time accepting the love of God because of what has happened to them. I just feel as though we’ve a long way to go in regards to compassion and empathy. We should sincerely be a lot more generous and of charity with our love, forgiveness and hearts. I was not born this way. It was what happened to me that wounded me so bad. Begrudgingly, because in no possible way would I wish it upon you, even if only to see, I feel a need to remind you, journal, that the same thing could have happened to any of you. It was through going to these support groups and retreats that I was able to stir up the pain in my heart. But it was through constantly replacing these feelings with the joy and peace that is found in the Word and in prayer that I was able to do that and to forgive and find certain hope in the midst of such emotional turmoil. It sucks. It definitely sucks that I have to go to these support groups and focus so hard on healing wounds that weren’t my fault in the first place. But truly, there is no place I would rather be than in these support groups and with the brave people I have met. I am proud to have gone through what I have. Because these things have made me the compassionate, empathetic, creative, faithful, passionate, pensive man that I am today. I don’t know what remains of my life or for what I can contribute to your world. I am not crazy. I am not lying. I just know that I will never give up. I will try my hardest to better myself. I am going to go on another diet. And I haven’t given up on love. I feel in many ways that real, healthy love is the only thing that can fix my soul. I will keep trying. I guess I’m just asking you, my journal, to not give up on me too. Have faith. Have compassion.