I was faced with the unimaginable today. From out of nowhere, someone who has caused much pain to me and my children, contacted us and wanted to “come over”. Not to apologize, make things right, or to deal with things but “just because”. Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a time before healing had begun, I would have felt backed into a corner, and would have probably said okay. I might have said “only for this amount of time”, and I possibly would have said “only under these conditions” but I still would have capitulated. Healing and God’s grace (so much grace) has taught me that I have the right to say NO. In fact, I am obligated to.
I don’t have to bend to other’s desires. I don’t have to “give in”…ever. I don’t have to be concerned that saying “no” is going to hurt the feelings of someone who hasn’t cared if they’ve hurt me. I don’t have to forgive someone who hasn’t repented. I would be wrong if I did give in. I would have sinned against my own children if I had said “Come on over”. Understanding this is an integral part of healing.
When you’ve been abused, your boundaries have not only been violated, they’ve been utterly destroyed. You forget what it is you like, want or need. You do things and start to say or believe things that you never would’ve before. Because you are afraid to say no, you don’t. You give in and give in and give, until there’s nothing left. No you. At all.
Healing is a beautiful thing, especially for a Christian. You don’t have to see yourself through the eyes of a man, of cruel family members, or of anyone else. You only have to see, in fact you GET to see, yourself through the eyes of God. Saved, holy, and just. Because Jesus died for me, when the Father looks at me, He sees His precious purity. His purity is my purity. I’m clean. I’m righteous. And I don’t deserve to be abused, walked on or lied to.
I’ve got a long way to go but, by God’s grace, I’m on the right road. I’ve learned that I’m allowed to take care of myself. It’s a lesson that I want my children to have firmly in hand long before they marry. I’m not saying that I want them to be selfish. I’m not suggesting that, once we start healing, we should swing completely in the other direction and become me-centered, but I am saying that, because we are His children, our physical health, our mental state, is important to the Lord. After all, He commands us to cast our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5: 7), to not be anxious (Philippians 4: 6-7), to pray and trust Him for our daily bread (Matthew 6: 11).
Maybe this doesn’t make sense if you’ve never been eaten up and spat out by someone else. But, if you have, you know exactly what I mean. If you’re reading this and you understand, my heart breaks for you. If you’re reading this and saying “YES!”, then I’m celebrating with you. We don’t have to walk down that broken road any longer. We can rise up and, when necessary, we can say NO. Loudly. Confidently. I’ve understood this for some time now but I wish I’d understood it long before I did. I can have boundaries. I can protect me. I can say NO. And you can, too.
Soli Deo gloria!