People will oftentimes question the purpose of looking back into the past since it can’t be changed. Looking at the past isn’t about living in the past; it’s about finding the seeds that were sewn that continue to affect us today. It provides access to understand why we do what we do, and how and where our learned styles of coping were formed. Some “seeded examples:”
- We fear abandonment in the here and now because we were abandoned by a parent
- We repeat the same behaviors of our parents, even though we vowed we wouldn’t
- We believe we are unlovable because we weren’t cared for when we were young
- We don’t know how to be intimate in relationships because intimacy wasn’t modeled to us effectively
- We abuse substance to escape from trauma and not wanting to feel
Most of the journey of uprooting is finding exactly how and where those roots were formed. Once we recognize them, we have the opportunity to do something with them. When people avoid the presence of rooted issues, they try to stifle or avoid the “fruit” in the here and now. Fruit is produced after the seed rooted and the structure itself grew. Fear, shame, guilt and ultimately drug and alcohol abuse are fruit – they aren’t the root.
Facing our history is extremely painful for some. It can be deeply difficult to recognize the very things that we prayed would be removed still affect us. We can feel that we are somehow a failure as a Christian because we can’t walk into the promises of God. However, God marvels and delights when we are willing to let Him dig deeply. He knows what’s there. Like a true Gardener, He comes ready to aid us and to bring redemptive tools to weed out the harmful things that are blocking us from the abundance He has stored up for our future. God wants to uproot the things choking us, and prepare us to walk redeemed. Once He is allowed, then the seeds He plants can at last prosper. We will have the room in our heart to grow up in our God-created design.
In recovery, we’ll always need to deal with the things we can change and those we can’t change. We have no power to change what people have done or the choices we ourselves made in the past. But we change our mindsets. We can allow God to redeem the very places where faulty messages, beliefs and shame have sabotaged us. We can allow God to re-message our lives with the firm foundation of His truth and the power of grace so He can touch and heal what was broken in the past. We can trust that God can overcome. We can choose to believe that whatever happened in the past, God will somehow use it to better our future and fulfill His purpose in our lives (Romans 8:38-39).