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Good Things

(This post comes from John Joseph.)

One of the side effects of the childhood sexual abuse is the pervasive sense that I don’t deserve good things. Maybe it’s the way I was treated by my abusers, in that I was only worth what they wanted out of me. Or maybe it’s a self-imposed sentence that condemns me to languish in the land of ne’er-do-wells. 

I can’t shake the feeling that I’m undeserving of life’s simplest pleasures. Is it just me, or does everyone cower inside waiting for the next tragic thing to happen? If tragedy isn’t happening fast enough, am I the only one smart enough to choose self-sabotage as a means of controlling my circumstances? Isn’t something predictable— even failure—better than the excruciating fear of the unknown?

The current of fear and the desperate need to control life runs deep. It’s not that I don’t want good things; it’s tough to believe that I should have them. And even more difficult to believe I deserve them. Someone else is always more deserving, better looking, or better qualified. Call it low self-esteem or the fact that I always sucked at sports. Regardless, I always seem to think I deserve to lose.

Even my faith in God suffers on account of this. I assume that I'm the exception to grace. I’m the one who succeeds in out-sinning his forgiveness. I’m the one who stumbles on the unpardonable transgression and falls headlong into it. I’m the one who is mighty enough to predestine myself to eternal damnation because I certainly don't deserve heaven or happiness.

A big part of my recovery is to accept and relish the good things that come my way. I have to choose to by-pass self-sabotage and make peace with the unknown events of my future, no matter how they turn out.

Letting go of some of my control and trusting others again (including God) can be healthy choices and effective steps toward my healing.

1 comment:

Heather Marsten said...

Dear John,
Thank you for sharing this. I still deal with many of the things you have mentioned. It took a long time for me to trust God, and I believed I out-sinned God's forgiveness. I tried because I gave up on God at an early age. Fortunately, God is greater than my attempts. I also believed I didn't deserve anything good. And my way of dealing with challenges is to try and control. Survival meant controlling my emotions and actions. I don't need that control now, but some things are hard to unlearn. Thank you for your posts. They have blessed me so much.