As we go through painful events in our lives, we can “sweep them under the rug” and ignore them. However, in doing so, we fail to grieve over our hurts and losses. By “masking” our depression, we try to protect our hearts and hide whom we really are and what we don’t want to face. But this kind of masquerade blocks our maturity and our ability to have intimacy with God and others. Don’t ever fear admitting the truth about your life directly to God. Allow Him to help you see the reality of your pain. He will reveal how He has been working through your pain to give you wisdom about life and true depths of understanding. As David said to God, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalm 51:6)
It is helpful to draw a “Time Line” of your life in order to give you perspective and help you to get understanding what happened. How to draw a Time Line and get an understanding of your life:
- Draw a long, horizontal line representing your life.
- Divide the time line into three sections – childhood, youth, and adulthood.
- Denote the major changes in your life. Draw vertical (or 45 degrees) short lines extending from the time line and write short phrases by each line that describe all significant events, such as: School; Wedding; Birth of kids; Accomplishments; etc.
- Determine whether there are any sad experiences or significant losses and hurts that you might have faced, such as: Abandonment; Divorce of parents; Rejection; Failures; False accusations; Unjust criticism; Thwarted goals; Unrealised dreams.
- Discover the source of your masked pain through earnest prayer. You can pray something like: “Heavenly Father, I come to you as your child for help. Calm my heart. Enable me to see what I need to see. Make me aware of my need for healing, and show me your truth. Bring to my mind any hidden hurt in my heart and the exact circumstances that caused it. In the Name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.”
- Define the emotional impact each event had on you with specific statements, such as: “This made me feel like…” “I am grieving over…” “I was so embarrassed when…” “I felt abandoned by…” “I was really hurt when…” “I’ve been determined to never let (_______) happen again.”
- Decide now to allow deep, genuine grieving over your losses. “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” (Jeremiah 17:14)
- Defuse the power that the event has over your emotions by sharing it with a trusted person and with God. “There is a time for everything … a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7)
- Deepen your dependence on the Lord to set you emotionally free. “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.” (Psalm 118:5)