(By John Joseph*)
Plateaus, deserts, valleys—whatever you call them—they’re no fun. The fact that we seem to be bogged down in our efforts to recover from childhood sexual abuse is discouraging, at best, and at worst, leads us to setbacks.
We become restless, listless, and even sleepless. Depression or anxiety begins to creep in and affect everything else in our lives—relationships, work, and recreation. People begin to notice and even wonder why we’re no fun anymore.
What can we do to get unstuck? What will pull us up out of the mud and put us back on the road to recovery? What will help us re-center and tap into the joy of being alive?
Although the answers may seem elusive, I believe there are a couple of very important things we can do to jump-start the recovery process and start to feel human again.
The first thing I do when I realize I’ve gotten stuck is to gift myself with grace. Grace isn’t an excuse for where I am, but a kind, human-to-human response that I would want to give to anyone else I knew who was stuck. Instead of beating myself up for messing up again, I take a moment to do some healing self-talk that says, “Okay—so we’re stuck a little here. No worries. Just think about it. What do we need to do to get things going?” I don’t know why I always talk to myself in the plural. It just feels good to think there’s more of me here than just "I."
Then I take a little while to journal and meditate, then I wait. Sometimes the very thing I need to get going again shows up in a book or online. Occasionally, it hits me in a conversation with a friend. At other times, I keep pushing into different things and I realize the wheels haven’t really come off the wagon. They’re turning again, even if slowly, and I find myself back up on the road to become the person I am intended to be.
(*John Joseph is a pseudonym of a pastor. He's a regular contributor to this blog.)
I have run into this several times. I like to think of it not so much as stuck for me as a breather. This is hard work. I am dealing with things in my life that are very uncomfortable. There are things I really don't want to face. I think for me, God gives me a little grace to rest for a while, gather my strength and plunge once again into 'change'. And change is what it is all about. I hate change but it seems that is all I have been doing since my high school days. Every year I seemed to be a different person, sometimes better, sometimes not so much.
As a child things impacted me more deeply than they would have had I encountered them as an adult. I was kind of a blank slate. What was written there was written in Big Bold Letters. But as an adult I can encounter loss or hurt and I can move on because of the quantity of life experience I now have to context it. These things do not rock my world as they did, unless like the death of my parents, it shakes my world so completely. That took some time.
Right now I am feeling a little stuck but I think this post has helped me see that. Thanks for the insight.
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