Uncharted territory – living without the past

By Dave Henning / May 20, 2021

“However painful the past may have been, it can also feel more stable than the uncharted territory of living without it.  Sometimes we prefer to live in the uncertainty of dysfunction rather than embrace the uncertainty of change.  At that point we can become so attached to our wounds that they become part of who we are.”- Sharon Jaynes

In Chapter 4 (“The Scab You Won’t Stop Picking”) of When You Don’t Like Your Story, Sharon Jaynes notes our tendency to pick at the bitter scabs that form over our soul wounds.  And, she counsels, picking at those scabs keeps our soul wounds from healing.  Furthermore, it keeps us stuck from moving forward in our stories.  As Mother Teresa once said:

“Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today.  Let us begin.”

However, to begin you must act in moving beyond where you stand right now.  Certainly, Sharon observes, everyone’s process and time frame for healing differs.  But, at some point, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I really want to stop the cycle of being stuck in a bad story?
  • Do I really want to get well and move forward?
  • Am I willing to do the work needed to turn my worst chapters into my greatest victories?

Because, Sharon cautions, once we surrender to a this-is-just-who-I-am mindset, we find ourselves stuck in the bad parts of our stories.  So, even when healing is available, we’re unable to move forward.

Consider the lame man’s response to Jesus’ question (at the pool of Bethesda): Do you want to get well?  Jesus asked a simple yes-or-no question.  Yet, the lame man didn’t answer the question directly.  Instead, he proceeded to justify his condition.

Yes, Sharon agrees, it’s fine to explain how you got to be a certain way.  As long as you don’t use it as an excuse to remain that way.  Above all, Jesus had a knack for telling people to do what they thought was impossible!

Today’s question: What Bible verses guide you through the uncharted territory of living without the past?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Picking at the scabs of past pain”

About the author

Dave Henning

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