WHO WERE YOU BEFORE HURT? Have you ever wondered who you were before whatever happened, happened that hurt you enough to change who you were?
I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says “Journey” and underneath it is the verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Quite a well known verse but I have to wonder how well understood it is. Sure it’s a great thought, but when you read the context in which it was given, it changes your perspective a bit. This was given to the Israelites while in captivity, enduring great trials and suffering. It would be decades before this verse would manifest in their lives. The truth is they had to go through the trials before this promise could manifest because God was going to use those trials to refine them in order to bring about the prosperity He had planned for them; the prosperity they wouldn’t have later had, had they never walked through hurt and give them a genuine appreciation for God’s fulfilled promise. The same goes for us. It is indeed a journey.
Who was I before hurt happened? I was a 5 year old kid that loved horses, Rainbow Brite, all things Disney and going to Show Biz. First grade came with the beginning of my hurt and everything that would shape my personality for the next several years, until I would decide to take a more self-preserving approach. I was teased and bullied…a lot up through the eighth grade. I was different and everyone let me know it. I wasn’t pretty or skinny. I was quiet (if anyone who knows me now can believe that! Ha, ha!). I basically had one real, consistent friend, and my world all but ended when she moved away in the sixth grade. I didn’t talk much so people wouldn’t know I was there. I wanted to be invisible to them so they wouldn’t say anything mean to me that day. Their words were my truths.
Things changed, however, when I went into the ninth grade and a whole new school…and I had a blank canvas again. I’d learned a thing or two about make up and finally mastered my frizzy hair, discovering I actually had pretty curls. I’d decided everything would be different, including me. I became a new person, talkative and goofy. I wasn’t timid or a loner anymore, and was even somewhat pretty and had boyfriends. It was like I’d stepped into some alternate reality. But in the midst of that change, I’d begun concealing any hurt that I’d felt before and going forward. I put a guard around my heart, refusing to let anyone close enough to hurt me. This also meant I was blocking out the good with the bad.
The first time I heard it, it gave me chills – no pun intended. That was me! Well…clearly I wasn’t a magical princess struggling with my identity of uncontrollable life-altering ice powers, but you get my point.
I experienced much deeper hurts after that change, but I never dealt with them, which would later prove to be more destructive than the hurts themselves. I concealed them and didn’t realize I was carrying them years later. Nor did I realize how high the walls were that I had built around my heart. It affected every relationship in my life, including my marriage. When it finally all came out, I was able to deal with the hurts and let them go and realize that every single one played a part into who I am now, AFTER the healing. They all were a step to where I am and what I’m doing now, to give me a testimony, a hope and a future. Yes, they hurt, but there’s so much reward that came with it. If it weren’t for the hurt and the trials, I wouldn’t have the life, relationships or ministry that I do today. I wouldn’t love and trust God the way I do now. They were blessings in disguise. Our hurts and trials are the bridge along the journey that brings us to our blessings and prosperity.
Your Turn: Who were you before the hurt? What blessings do you have now that you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t experienced the hurt? Have you put up walls around your heart in an attempt to protect yourself? Are there hurts you’ve concealed that you need to release? Please share your heart. ~ Heather