Photo by Anita Jankovic on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking a lot about memories. I’ve had a great year of relaxation, restoration and healing. But despite having coming so far, I have noticed myself wandering often toward two particular traumatic memories. Each time I recall them I find myself feeling rather low, often for several days. I don’t seem to have a lot of control over when they come up either. All it takes is a thought or situation to trigger it. Other times, I genuinely have no idea what prompted the memory.

Here’s the irritating thing I’ve learnt about healing: you can’t force it to occur before its time. Just like a gardener, although they may try, they have no ability to change the time and pace of which the seed grows. The best a gardener can do is to influence the health of the plant by nurturing it with the things it needs (for example, sunlight, water, soil). I’ve noticed it can be similar with emotional healing. We can certainly influence the outcome, but we don’t get to decide when it happens. I know…so annoying…

So, in the last month or so, prompted by the Holy Spirit, I began to face these memories head on. I had some understanding that they were stemming from the unresolved nature of those specific memories. In other words, I had no closure. So why was this memory unresolved? Why was I lacking closure over them? I figured that there must have been some kind of conclusion or truth that God wanted me to see, that I hadn’t seen. So guided by the Holy Spirit, I went back and examined those two memories. I allowed myself to painfully relive them. I asked God frequently “What do you want me to see?” and “What do you want me to know?” Within a few minutes I saw things I didn’t see before. It was like warm honey on a sore throat. Now, as I reflect on those two memories I don’t experience the same level of emotional pain. The pain has significantly subdued.

PLEASE NOTE: there are some memories that you need to visit in the care of a trusted counsellor or psychologist. Some memories can unravel you, and having someone trained with you can mitigate and guide the process toward success and away from personal annihilation. Take heed.

The point of sharing this is simply to say, that bad memories impact us a lot. They can hauntingly follow us. They can be the reason we struggle to sleep at night. They can persistently remind us of our failings or losses. They definitely influence our present and future experience of faith and freedom, and our relationship with Jesus. Leaders, they impact how you lead. If you want to be a good leader, your heart really matters. And painful memories impact the heart, the wellspring of life. Sadly, we often run from memories out of fear, not realising that they can be the birthplace for real healing. It takes courage, but it will lead you to real freedom. We have a choice with regards to the level of influence these memories have, and it starts with running toward them instead of away.

Questions for Reflection

  1. In what ways have you tried to rush the emotional healing process?
  2. What memories are you running from, that God might want you to deal with?