I have been reading the book The Shack by William Paul Young. This week, I am focusing upon different words of wisdom in the book that can be applied to survivors of child abuse. See my first post for more information about the book.
Unfortunately, there is no way around religion in today’s blog entry, so I’ll post a trigger warning:
******** Religious Triggers **********
One of the issues that my therapist addressed over and over again was that I needed to learn how to stay present. I spend most of my life either reliving the past or worrying about the future. It is rare that I simply enjoy the beauty of the moment. Now, I have improved upon this since therapy, but I am very susceptible to falling back into old patterns.
The book The Shack had an interesting take upon staying present. The main character, Mack, is having a conversation with God about worrying about the future:
Mack, do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures me there with you? … You try to play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try to make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear. ~ The Shack, page 144
This comment hit me hard. I never thought out it in this way, but this definitely describes me. I have all sorts of contingency plans for all sorts of horrors that could befall me, but none of my scenarios involves God being present if these things ever actually happened to me.
This is not consistent with my past. I can look back over my life and see the many ways that things looked bleak in the present but then, in retrospect, worked out for the best.
For example, nothing could have convinced me that anything good could come out of my infertility. Today, as a direct result of my infertility, I have adopted a wonderful child, own a website that promotes adoption, and ran an infertility support group that led to a friend adopting her own child. My closest friends today would not be in my life if I had not gone through infertility because our children would be different ages, so we never would have met.
In fact, writing about adoption is what got me into blogging, so I probably would not have started blogging if I had not adopted a child, and I would not have adopted a child if I had not been infertile. So, you can actually thank my infertility for this blog.
So, I am going to try to stop envisioning all sorts of horrors in my future and trust that God will be with me. I know I will be okay in the future because I am okay now in my present. Also, the future is just an illusion. All we ever really have is right now.
Of course, we need to plan for the future, such as saving money for retirement and such. But I don’t need to “live” in the future.
This is all the same stuff that my therapist told me for years. Sometimes I just need to hear the same message in a different way.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt