How to gain momentum when you’re stuck in bitterness - again
How am I here – again?
The one-word question I’ve asked myself a zillion times after I think I’ve turned a corner of bitterness.
I’m at different places of forgiveness with people in my life. If you’ve joined me for all four parts of the series on forgiveness, you know that I’ve fully forgiven my daughter’s dad. After choosing forgiveness, I stuck with it through the good and hard. Now, I don’t think about having to forgive anymore. Instead, we both look back on our journey of forgiveness together in gratitude and awe of where we are today, knowing only a miracle brought us here (you can have that too by the way).
But there is another story that leaves me feeling stuck in bitterness and instantly justified in my unwillingness to forgive.
What’s the secret sauce for when forgiveness feels hard?
Now, when it comes to my past sexual trauma, I find myself stuck in disdain for this person.
There will be times when understanding will shine through, but lots more times when I want to stay right where I’m at: in anger, disgust, confusion and sorrow for what was stolen from me. Usually, these eruptions happen when I just experienced a trigger or I notice how a moment that still impacts my present. Instant blame explodes in my mind for what never should have been.
Here we are – again. Stuck.
Friend, you and me, we’re not stuck in bitterness or even unforgiveness. Those are simply symptoms of a bigger diagnosis.
We’re stuck in unhealed hurt.
In case no one told you, time doesn’t heal all wounds. Your hurt may sit dormant but it’s still there until you’re ready to pay attention to it. Triggers are those moments that remind us, there’s more healing to be done.
Healing sounds like a nice, cozy word. But when there’s more to ‘work through’ or ‘process’. Ugh, that sounds daunting. I’ve cried more tears over ‘there’s more’ than just about anything else.
There has to be an ‘unstuck’ button right? So we can gain momentum and move forward stronger – like, now? Well… as I hand you a warm mug and plop down on the couch criss-cross-applesauce with mine, I’d tell you this. Any step you take toward healing, awareness, forgiving, or unlearning to relearn is gaining momentum.
I swear I just heard you mumble into your mug, “well it doesn’t feel that way.” I know. It doesn’t. It mostly just sucks, amen?
We often discredit small actions and prefer big sweeps of movement. But you’re not looking for short term unstuckness. You’re seeking lasting healing.
Gaining momentum can look like:
- Committing to try again next time when you show up less than who you want to be.
- Or practice Resetting your Thoughts so you stop keeping a tally of wrongs.
- Unraveling the myths from truth around forgiveness so you can begin to forgive in a healthy way.
- Choosing your people with care that care for you well.
- Celebrating growth when you see it (there is no such thing as small!)
Gaining momentum is knowing when you need to step back into healing when you thought you were done. It’s also having the discernment to take breaks when that’s ALL you’ve focused on for a long time.
Your Invitation into Wholeness
Wanna know the good news?
You don’t have to do it alone. Here’s how God reveals his heart to you in the midst of ‘here again’: He saw each moment of hurt that took place, the tears, the torn relationship, and stinging memories… and he wept. With you, for you, for pain that wasn’t at all part of the plan. Our good God isn’t going to leave you sitting in the shambles.
With tender hands, He picks you up and dusting you off says, “When you’re ready, I’ll walk hand in hand with you into healing. Until then, I’m not leaving your side.” Healing is hard work because it brings us back to explore the details of our pain. Every. Last. One. It’s relentless really.
But true healing is in the details. It’s choosing to cover each moment of hurt – the small and big – in grace (undeserved kindness).
If you’re feeling that nudge of forgiveness or wholeness, it is not meant to feel heavy, its purpose is hope. Hope that life could really feel lighter and look more vibrant when “stuck in bitterness” melts away in the presence of compassion.
Friend, it’s okay to be hurt. We’re just not going to stay there; we’re also not going to rush.
God is a redeemer of places, time, smells, sights, people, stories, pain and touch. Each detailed trigger that sends anxiety reaming through your body, He cares about the memory that causes that power to still live on. And He won’t stop until the grip loosens. Why?
Because His vision for you is freedom. And friend, it is possible.
Next time you ask yourself, “How am I here – again?”, consider shifting it ever so slightly.
Change the audience to lift the focus and shame off of you. Then, ask God this instead, “God, why am I here – again?” Not good enoughness isn’t the answer. Because you didn’t try hard enough the first time isn’t the answer. Because you’re not worth healing isn’t the answer.**
Listen. What if this was an invitation into wholeness? You see the page in front of you, but God sees the end of this chapter. And the next one. And the next.
A simple shift in the question you ask when you feel discouraged is just the momentum you need to get unstuck.
** If you read this and thought I don’t know a God like this. I’ve never heard of radical tenderness and intolerance for rushing pain. I’d love to chat with you. This wasn’t always the God I knew either. He’s revealed His kind character to me in vulnerable seasons where the only identity I knew was failure and forgotten. Turns out, He whispers freedom when all I see is shame.
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