Thursday, May 9, 2013

When's Enough Enough?

It's been about a year since I posted the answer to this simple, yet rather significant question on the post  3 Moves You Must Make To Become Whole.  It came back on my radar this past week, and I thought it might be worth your time ...

A reader asked:  When does one stop looking back? 

Here's my reply:

I so appreciate you sharing this very important question.

Doing the hard work of looking back should not be skipped or glossed over.  We must clearly acknowledge what happened to us and understand how it has impacted who we are.  We must grieve what we did not receive.

There comes a point when we have to say 'enough is enough.'  When we draw a line in the sand and decide that what has happened, as gruesome as it was, will not define who we are going be as we move forward.  We will be responsible for who we are and the choices we make, and refuse to allow those who abused or neglected us to control, manipulate, or call the shots in our lives any longer.

It's time to move ahead if we've endlessly hashed out our stories and we still:

1. find that we spend more time looking back than looking ahead ... and feel like we're going nowhere

2. live our lives blaming others or God for our choices or circumstances

3. live in a self-defensive, bitter, or angry place

4. want others to pity or rescue or fix us

To live a healthy life, we must let go of those who have wounded us.  We are called to forgive.  That means that we release them to God's care and judgement and no longer play judge and jury.  We can wish them well.  But that does not mean that we should necessarily be reconciled.  We need healthy boundaries that keep toxic, unsafe people out of our lives.

I highly recommend Dr. Laura Schlessinger's book 'Bad Childhood, Good Life.'  Recommended by a woman who experienced the worst that childhood could offer, I am recommending that all my clients with difficult family backgrounds read this book.  I believe it's a great jump-starting tool.

I pray that God will bring you healing, and move you ahead to a full, peace-filled life of love and service to others.


  1. Very thought provoking post. Missed it last year, thanks for posting it again. Gives a lot to reflect on.

    1. You encourage me, Marilyn ... thanks so much!


  2. Thanks for sharing this excellent post, Linda. It's inspired much reflection, as you can see. Your original article ("3 Moves You Must Make To Become Whole") was very helpful when I read it last May; a year later, its meaning is even fuller for me. Thank you for bringing it to my attention again.

    It's fascinating how one anonymous question, and your response at the time, are continuing to speak to others, like me, now. (Thanks, Creekside Online!) I, too, wonder about that rather fine line -- between the need to "remember" and the need to "release" -- as I continue my own healing journey. Do you know those lyrics from Natalie Grant? "Suddenly it's like a weight is lifted / When you hear the words that you are loved / He knows where you are and where you've been / And you never have to go there again" (from "Perfect People," one of my favorite songs). They remind me of what you're saying here, about acknowledging the past (knowing that God knows every inch of where you've been) and then giving over its powerful hold to Him by receiving, in turn, *His* powerful hold, trusting that He is faithful to bring change and restoration. "And you never have to go there again" . . .

    For someone who loves history, I appreciate the instructive words from Moses to "Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations" (Deut. 32:7). When I think about what Paul later writes, "forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead" (Phil. 3:13), my initial reaction is, "Contradiction?" But, knowing that God doesn't contradict Himself, and reading these verses more in context, I believe they're really just different sides of the same coin: the need to "remember" and the need to "release."

    I'm learning that, when the focus is Christ, looking backward at those broken patterns not only casts His own mighty deeds of deliverance (and our great need for Him!) into high relief, but it also begins to train our eyes forward onto the life-giving potential of forgiveness, which He so perfectly modeled for us. I think Psalm 143 gives us a powerful glimpse of this approach in action: after David prayerfully acknowledges the "dark places" he's been and recalls the persecutions that have "crushed his life into the ground," he then releases his afflictions (and enemies) into God's strong hands, meditating on His long-proven goodness, faithfulness, and mercy. Quite amazing.

    I pray that the Spirit continues to guide me, and all those who seek healing and who counsel those who do, along each necessary step of that narrow path which connects where we've been to where we're going . . .

    Bless you, Linda, for walking alongside,

    1. Yes, A ... we need to remember so we can examine well so we can release completely. And that is exactly what you're doing!

      Super insightful reflections from your heart today!



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