Easily Startled

I startle easily. Everyone in my family knows this. On some level, I knew this was because of the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, but today I’m connecting the dots further. One of the most sacred parts of me, my sexuality, was stolen. And when it was stolen, it startled me. Took me off guard.

As a child I’d have these terrible chasing dreams where perpetrators would run after me. I’d always end up running on a pier, with nowhere to run but the air and water beyond the pier’s end. And when I leaped into the air, a gunshot rang out. I woke with a startle, wondering if I were dying.

And maybe I was. Maybe my soul was dying from the abuse. The dream symbolized how I felt, how helpless I’d become–without rescue. I had nowhere to turn in the dream, and even when I jumped to save myself, someone shot me, and I started the process of death.

Why all this today? I don’t know. While I’ve been deeply healed, I think I’ll always startle easily. It’s a painful leftover from a traumatic past. How can that be hopeful? Well, maybe you’re hollering at yourself for not getting over your own abuse. Maybe you’re angry that you still have things you wished you didn’t do (that directly relate to the abuse). Maybe you think NO healing has taken place because you still have residual reactions.

Don’t believe that lie. You are healing. And someday you’ll be fully healed in heaven. The scars and startles are little leftovers to gently remind you that you’re human, and that you all-the-more need Jesus.

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