Watch: Z’s testimony
Z describes how she came to believe that bad things happen to the things or people she loved as a result of experiencing several losses in childhood and not learning how to grieve over them. She often discounted the love others gave her and was even afraid to love herself. Thankfully, she sought the Holy Spirit’s counsel and was shown the root of her fears. This revelation led her to renounce her childhood fears and grow in her faith in God and people. Praise God!
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I didn’t know how to allow myself to feel sad and let go. And I suspect that I was not taught how to grieve.
As a result, I became very afraid of change because I associated change with devastating sadness.
I’ve been a Christian for many years. I attended church and was active in serving. A few years ago, I began a journey of spiritual and emotional healing.
For the last few years, I’ve also struggled with eczema. While the condition improved, it never really went away. So, a friend and I decided to pray about what could be causing the eczema.
When we started praying, my friend saw a vision of a ragdoll with one arm torn off, being thrown on the floor.
When she said that, my first response was, “Does the doll have red hair?” After the words were out of my mouth, I saw a picture of the doll I had when I was a child. I remembered the doll had red hair and freckles, and I remembered feeling sad, so I invited the Holy Spirit to reveal more.
As we waited in silence for what seemed to me like a very, very long time, more sadness started to well up from deep inside of me. I was surprised by how big that sadness felt. As we prayed, my memories about the doll remained unclear, but I did remember that the doll meant a lot to me.
And when its arm was torn or when it was finally thrown away, I felt incredibly sad.
Of course, the adult part of my mind now understands that whoever threw away the doll did it because it was torn and stained. It probably did not smell very nice either, but the emotions I felt were real. I did lose something precious and I did feel very sad.
This incident may seem small now, but because that loss was compounded over the years by a series of other losses, often bigger, I didn’t know how to allow myself to feel sad and let go. And I suspect that I was not taught how to grieve.
As a result. I became very afraid of change because I associated change with devastating sadness.
Because of that, I came to childish conclusions, such as, “If I love anything, something bad is going to happen, so I’d better not love anything.” “If I cannot even a doll, what can I love?”
These beliefs developed into other destructive beliefs, such as, “No one loves me, because if they did, they would not have thrown away my doll.” “I must not love myself because something bad might happen.” This then became “I’m not lovable,” and even, “my friend does not really love me.”
It’s possible that the root of my eczema lies in my fear of loving, fear of loving others, and fear of loving myself because I was afraid that if I love anything or anyone, I would lose it.
Looking back, this now seems silly and childish, but because I never learned how to grieve in a healthy way, these beliefs became real in my heart.
And because I had dismissed all these memories and the hurts associated with them, I didn’t know why I had such strong emotional reactions whenever I lost something.
After I became an adult, I felt like God deliberately robbed me of what I liked. I came to believe that anything I loved would be wrenched away for no good reason that I could see. These reactions were similar to how I reacted after losing my doll.
So, I prayed to renounce the lies that I’m not lovable and to declare that I love and accept myself, including my body.
I acknowledged that God made many things for me to love and sometimes, the things I love may look silly to others. If God takes something away from me, it is for my good. And even if people take things away from me, He will use it all for good.
God also cares about what I like. This takes faith to believe and it’s an area of growth for me. Recently, my father passed away unexpectedly, and that was a huge change for my family. There are times when I still struggle with fear because I have a tendency to want everything to be under control. Specifically, I have a tendency to want to be able to see that everything is under my control.
Letting go of the doll is part of a broader “letting go” for me.
After praying together, my friend sounded a little concerned that I think she does not truly love me. To me, that was normal but I started to see why my friend felt concerned.
As we talked, I realised that over the years, I found many ways to discount the love that others show me because I had decided in my heart, that to love is dangerous and it would end badly. My standards for what counts as true love became impossibly high. For example, I thought my friend must not love me because I’m only one of her many, many friends. I also concluded that because she is Christian, she must not really love me because all Christians are supposed to be loving. In my mind, my friend loves me out of duty, so that must not be love.
Well, since then, I’ve been learning to accept and appreciate love from others.
And through experience, I’m learning that it’s safe to accept love and that nothing bad will happen if I lost something or someone.
In the future, I, or we, will still experience loss because we live in an imperfect world. On this side of heaven, we will still cry or get angry and feel upset. But with Christ and the help of others in my community, I can find the strength to grieve, to let go, and also to learn to expect good things to come again.
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