A week ago I stubbed my little toe. Little toes are tiny and need to be protected but no shoe surrounded my vulnerable pinky toe and I rammed it into a hard wooden chair lsurface. Not on purpose, but it happened.
It hurt a lot—not in comparison to many injuries, but for being so small it registered the injury in a significant way. I hobbled through the week, employed elevation and ice and never went barefoot. Today my entire foot is operating without pain. Amazing. One week and the healing has taken place.
That’s not all. Even though I’m not crazy about wearing shoes I’m doing it anyway. Slippers, shoes or sandals protect my feet all of the time.
I got up from bed last night to turn off a light I accidently left on in our bathroom.
“Put on your slippers,” my husband reminded me.
He didn’t need to because pain had taught me that I really do want to wear my slippers because I really don’t want to injure my toe like that again. I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson.
Pain can also cause us to react in ways that are not healthy or helpful. This happens when we reach false conclusions in the wake of being hurt. What if I had decided that the only way to avoid feeling that type of pain again was to stop walking? After all if I had not been walking, I wouldn’t have stubbed my toe. While this is true, and ceasing to move would keep my feet safe, it would also cripple my entire life.
Survivors of sexual abuse may subconsciously withdraw from life in an attempt to protect them selves. Trusting others is a big challenge when it’s others who hurt us. But refusing to ever trust another person isn’t the answer. Just like being bedridden to avoid toe stubbing isn’t the solution to toe pain, withdrawing from life isn’t the healthy way to react to the pain of sexual abuse.
I have learned to take measures to protect my toes. In the same way, taking precautions in relationships is prudent, but refusing to ever trust anyone again isn’t. Is there a path back to being able to trust others?
I believe that the foundation is discovering that the Lord is safe. Once we embrace the truth that He loves us and will not hurt us we can lean on Him for the courage to begin to trust others again. This isn’t so scary when we know that Someone Good and Strong is looking out for us and that He will give us wisdom in every situation. He’s the One who designed us for relationship, first with Him and also with others. Jesus said the greatest command is to love God and others.
Another fabulous truth about Jesus is that He said He came to heal up the brokenhearted. When we open up and decide to trust Him with our pain, He breathes healing into our broken places. I’m thankful for that. As a survivor, I’ve experienced that. But that’s not all; the Lord also cares about the little hurts of life. Like stubbed toes. He’s the One who designed the human body to heal from these types of injuries in about a week. He’ s also the One who has determined that our painful pasts do not have to cripple us for life. He offers us healing. All we have to do is believe that He is safe and worthy of our trust and come to Him with all our pain.