Childhood Memories–Good and Bad
During the past two weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to spend lots of time with family members “back home” in Indiana. We’ve shared lots of childhood memories, and invariably some childhood hurts have resurfaced with the joyful recollections of yesteryear. Though I’m not equipped as a counselor to tell you how to handle childhood hurts, I am being equipped through God’s Word by my perfect Heavenly Counselor as I work through the hurts that have shadowed my heart through the years.
Children’s Emotion Through An Adult’s Perspective
Certain days of my life, certain people, places, and smells–they all hold powerful memories. And the emotion attached to that memory is the mortar that holds the bricks in place, creating a wall around my heart. Walls work in two ways, however, keeping people out and trapping my emotions inside. I’ve found the wall an effective protection against some pain in the past, but it’s also limited the positive emotions I could have given to others. So how do I begin to dismantle the wall, maintaining safeguards to protect my emotional health through the process? Well, I don’t profess or pretend to know the answer to that question, but I do know this:
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:11-12
I will not be made perfect until I see Jesus face-to-face, but in my human imperfection, I must still put on my “big girl panties” and reason like an adult. One of the principles that sets apart adult thinking from childlike thinking is the concept of egocentricity. To say it plainly: An adult realizes that life doesn’t revolve around him/her. Everything is NOT about ME!
Some Adult Questions To Ask About Childhood Hurts:
Did the offender intend to hurt me?
Sometimes it helps to know if our hurt was intentionally inflicted or unintentionally caused. Our pain is no less painful if we’re wounded unintentionally, but somehow the offender becomes more human if we recognize their affront was a mistake rather than malice. If, however, the pain was intentional, we have a challenge set before us–to pray for the one who hurt us. Praying for my “enemies” has proven an enigmatic but effective therapy.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44
Did the offender hurt me in the same way he/she had previously been hurt by another?
Again, this doesn’t excuse the one who inflicted the pain; however, realizing the offender’s past issue has helped me release myself from blame. That may sound odd, but many of us who deal with childhood hurt often blame ourselves, thinking we somehow invited the injury by something we did, said, or signaled. A child’s mind often rationalizes the pain by believing he/she deserves it. What a lie! If, as an adult, I realize that my offender’s motivation was rooted in him/her–not because of something I did, said, signaled–I can see my true identity as the offended and release myself from blame.
The COUNSELOR Uses Counselors
I’m sure there are many other questions that a qualified, faith-based counselor could lead you to ponder. These are only two that the Holy Spirit has been working in me. If you’re dealing with childhood hurts and need “Jesus with skin on,” I would encourage you to talk with a qualified, faith-based counselor to help you sort out those childhood hurts with an adult perspective.
May the Lord bless your journey, making the new things He has for You shine like a precious jewel. The following Scripture has been an incredible help to me as I’ve contemplated my new life without my dad.
“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Isaiah 42:9
- What has been helpful to you in working through childhood hurts?