I started spreading the Good News in childhood to my pets and told many others about Jesus through the years. When I got sick with PTSD I stopped evangelizing. I didn’t intentionally stop. I literally couldn’t speak in social situations as I went into freeze response. For a time I could barely place an order at a fast food place; let alone tell someone I knew, or had just met, about Jesus.
Prior to getting sick, I viewed evangelism much like passing around a jar with a stuck lid. Therefore I didn’t get too discouraged if someone didn’t budge. I knew someone down the line would be able to ‘open it up’.
Or, if the lid happened to pop off for me, I remembered that that ‘jar’ was passed through a lot of praying, caring hands prior to mine (and perhaps a few malignant, harmful hands). Each touch loosened the stuck parts a little (or created new stuck parts…). When the lid comes off, two people just happened to be in the right place at the right time, that’s all. So I didn’t go thinking I had ‘done it’, I recognized that others were involved. And more importantly : The Holy Spirit did the work. And then…I also learned that after a stuck lid pops open there is a mess to sort out. Rotten bits floating to the top…Stick around for awhile and help with that part too. That’s the real work to be done.
As I healed from past traumas I remembered the jar analogy. The first step was prying open a stuck lid. Owning the truth and not dissociating from it anymore. I truly had no idea how much rot was inside of me until that lid blew. And it blew open, for me. There was nothing tidy about it. Bits of rotten mess were everywhere.
My progress now is the summation of hundreds of encounters with wisdom, praying hands, and loving support from all sorts of outlets and people. With plenty of setbacks from those intent to put all that rotten mess right back in a sealed jar on the furthest shelf of a forgotten pantry.
Recently a family member (who prefers I stuff the mess again, rather than hold him accountable for it) made himself ‘known’ (through a close friend). He tried to pass along a creepy message, but my friend shot him down. I had shared enough with her of my story that she knew she had to ‘starve the wolf’ not feed it.
I feel violated on the one hand, even though my friend had my back. The attempted breach was jolting. I also see clearly why I had to break contact in the first place with that person. And why I need to continue to have no contact.
In coming out from abuse the expected things were all helpful: prayer, safe friendships, therapy. But other things have helped as well. Obscure lines from movies I watched or novels I read ‘popped the lid’ of some stuck part of my heart, just as much as any intentional bit of wisdom, prayers, or love someone gave me.
It all counted. It all loosened the bound parts of my heart.
For that I can only say: thank you, to God, and to others who played a role. I have come to believe that God has gifted humans with the innate ability to heal. We just need to make ourselves pliable enough to go along with the (often arduous) process.
The challenge for me now is remaining open–like a home-made jar– to the good that God wishes to fill me with, without being an open target for the wolves which are ever at my door.
I have no idea how to do that, but I am trusting God’s innate healing process as thus far it has been spot on. Daily I journal and do my homework and sort out the toxic stuff. I get discouraged sometimes. Because there’s just so much of it. When will it end? Is a frequent lament for me.
I also know that in sharing my story, it might embolden others to pry off their own stuck lids and empty the poison from their own past traumas, assaults, and injuries. When enough of us are able to do that, I think the wolves will not have such an easy time. If this post can help another survivor, or friend of a survivor, starve a wolf in their own life –then going through the hell of it all will be worth it.