Don't Forget to Heal


You looked pretty last night. You went on your first date since that breakup; your first night out since your best friend was killed in a drunk driving accident a few years back; your first time in the bathroom stall alone since that stranger hiked your skirt up and took advantage of your body 9 months ago. You were with people that care about you, people that love you endlessly. People that were there to make sure that this time won't end up like the last. Your smile radiated the small restaurant as the jazz music played the melody to your soul, shifting from upbeat tempos to more somber tunes. You lived for this night and didn't realize how much of your mood would be embodied in the music selection. You loved every moment of it. Then it was over.

You escaped to your apartment, driving through the night air like you'd just won at life. Like the feeling of being out on the town was freeing, and not a burden, for once. You entered your home shutting the door with a grin as wide as the blinds you left open. You rushed to your bedroom, kicking off your shoes and throwing your purse in the hallway on the way.

You plopped down on your freshly changed sheets thinking about how fun a time you had; how great of a gentleman he was; how happy you were to have made it back home safely; how comfortable you felt wearing a dress again. Your smiles turned to tears quickly — at those same thoughts of victory you suddenly felt defeat. Those thoughts of success after days, months, years, of battling demons from the past, held you captivate yet again. You ran to the shower in an attempt to wash the pain from your face and scratch the reminders off your skin. Nothing would give. Nothing ever gave.

You went to bed sad that night. You were disappointed that all this time had passed and you still felt exactly how you did when that bad thing happened. Since, you've made new friends, found new jobs, and entered into new transformational seasons of your life. You embarked on new journeys, fell in love with new food, and met new family members. But it all still feels the same: you're still hurting.

You hide the pain behind a million forced smiles, and a bunch of declarations proclaiming your new heartless nature. You're not heartless though, sis, you're hurting. Still. You isolate yourself within the walls of your home in the name of solitude, peace, and protection. But that's not it either.

Many of us attribute 'moving on' to the continuance of life. To making it to the next day. To being onto the next thing. To the 'glow up' we try to use to seek vengeance on those who doubted us. To the new hair cut that we're convinced will change our lives. To the fire red stilettos we purchased because 'retail therapy' seems more enticing than real therapy. We do all we can to take our minds off the things that marked us in the past. We rush to the next thing, the next destination, seeking growth. Searching for whatever we can find to rid our memory of the pain we've experienced. But in the midst of trying to carry on — of trying to gather your belongings and keep moving — don't forget to heal.

Healing is opposite; it's not rushing off to what's next or convincing yourself that physical changes will make you whole again. Healing is about resting in that uncomfortable place of pain and heartache. It's about tapping into what went wrong. It's about identifying the emotions that come with your new reality. It's about figuring out your triggers, and learning how to overcome them. Healing isn't about running away (disguised as moving on), healing is about running through. Splashing in the puddles your tears just cried. Being open and honest and gentle and patient. So many put the past behind them before they've learned the lesson it had to offer. Healing is about learning those lessons, and working diligently to close the gap in your heart. Healing takes work. Healing takes time. Healing takes intention.

So, in the midst of your desire to move on with life — to rush through the painful process of growth —don't forget to heal. Don't forget to take time for yourself to reflect. To digest. To mourn. Don't forget to grow. To sow. To feel. Don't forget to allow yourself the time to sift through your emotions. Don't forget to come to your knees and ask God for guidance. To allow Him into your heart to change your life. Don't forget to start that work. To welcome that work. To be blessed in that work. Don't forget to acknowledge that it takes work. More than putting on a pretty dress in an attempt to move on. Don't forget to get your hands dirty so you can get better.

You looked pretty tonight. And you still do, even with your running mascara and the remnants of the tears that broke through your foundation. You'll look pretty tomorrow — whether you're smiling brightly, or in the same clothes you wore the night before. And you'll look pretty the day after that. Because each of those days is a day toward healing. Toward wholeness. Toward completion. But it takes work. It takes dedication. It takes reflection and intentionality. So whether you choose to use this day to dress up and go out, or decide to stay in and sulk as the sun rises, just don't forget to heal.

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