One of the many lessons that I’m learning this summer is that sometimes you need to choose to forget. I know that it almost sounds contradictory to the principles of Finding Healing—I mean we talk so much about the need to allow the Holy Spirit to remind you of the things in your past at the root of your pain so that you can be healed and free. Let me say once again: I totally believe in this principles. However, one thing I’m learning is that there comes a point… AFTER you’ve remembered, AFTER you’ve cried, AFTER you’ve talked, And journalled, And worked through forgiveness, There comes a point where you need to start choosing to forget. You can’t live there. As hard as it may seem, there comes a point where you need to choose to move on. Sometimes that means that you need to get rid of some of the things that remind you of the pain and heartache. You need to throw out the momento, hang a new picture with a new memory, or even dispose of the journals. I know, shocking, isn’t it??? And yet, there came a point this summer where I realized that in order to fully let go of my grief and even my guilt, that is exactly what I needed to do. As part of my healing process, this summer I did something I thought I would never do. After much prayer and seeking advice from some friends, I spent the day with a shredder—saying “goodbye” to so many painful journals so that I could say “goodbye” to the pain and move forward. You see, it’s been over 15 years since God started revealing truth to my family. Those of you who have heard my testimony know that until then, my Mom, my brother and I were living in complete darkness about my Dad, his secret life, and our family history. We literally had no idea who we were living with or that the things that were happening in our lives were wrong. I know it seems ridiculous, but we were completely clueless. And then one day God started revealing truth. Day by day week by week, more and more secrets were uncovered as God did all that was necessary to heal our hearts and set us free. During this time, we kept extensive journals. Some of them were revelations directly from the Holy Spirit, some contained our feelings, and some just helped us keep all of the new truths we were learning from getting jumbled up in our minds. (There was just so much to digest and mentally and emotionally process) Through this process the principle of journalling was absolutely vital to our healing process. They were tools that God used to help us vent our feelings, sort truth from lies, and begin learning new ways of living free from generational patterns of sin and abuse. However, all of these years later, these journals are no longer useful. Today, we don’t just know the truth, we daily share it with others. The secrets are secrets no more and we are living in truth and freedom. Rather than the journals being helpful tools, they are now just monuments to pain—a way to go back and remember how badly we hurt, how deeply we struggled, and how much suffering took place. As the Holy Spirit worked on my heart this summer, I began to realize that it was time to say “goodbye”. So we purchased a shredder and I spent HOURS destroying the journals that were filled with so much heartache. As I was working on this project, I was reminded of the words of the publisher of Finding Healing. You see in the chapter on Talking and Journalling I wrote:
The great thing about journalling is that you can say ANYTHING.
You can write down how much you hate a person or situation, how horrible you think they are, how wrong they treated you, how you wish bad things would happen to them while you watched….you can say whatever!
You can get every single bad emotion that you have out of you.
And then you destroy it. Burn it or shred it because you don’t need to keep it around.
I remember as she was editing the chapter she reminded me of the necessity to stress that after you journal all of your feelings out of your heart and mind, you don’t need to keep the journal forever. After all the goal is to GET IT OUT—-to get all of your thoughts and feelings and pain out of your system——not keep it as a monument to hurt and pain for the rest of your life. As we were editing the chapter, she was almost insistent that we add this part. Ironically, here I am years later taking her advice. I finally got what she was saying. The tool of journalling had done it’s job, but now it was time to forget. To move forward. To focus on the good and stop reliving the pain. Now that it’s done, I’m glad I did it. Because the truth is that I will never completely forget the events that happened—-I’m not sure I want to. However, journals aren’t actually an accurate recollection of what happens in our lives. They aren’t meant to be. Instead, they are filled with how we FELT while things were happening. If we are going to experience complete healing and freedom in our lives its the FEELINGS and EMOTIONS and PAIN that we need to leave behind.
Because sometimes we need to forget so that we can move forward.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
To Read More About the Benefits of Journalling, Read FINDING HEALING.....