I’ve been thinking a lot about revival and healing, and how those two things are very much linked. I’ve been doing some hard work with my therapist in going back to childhood trauma, re-parenting myself, and being the “big sister” to myself that I never really had.
Getting to the root of the pain is so essential for healing. Why do we keep enacting and enabling hurtful patterns? The key is getting to the cause of the dysfunction.
I grew up in a home where there were dysfunctional patterns and emotional abuse. I am committed to breaking those cycles in my own family. That takes a lot of work to identify and tell the truth about the patterns that were harming me and subsequently causing me to harm others.
I was detached from my own pain. I nurtured my perfectionism. My performance was fueled by my anxiety to avoid being rejected or abandoned. Feeling like I had to be “just right” in order to be loved and accepted. I grew up to be a people pleaser. To ignore my own emotions. To quiet my own voice. To play a “role”. To be avoidant of conflict. I had low self-esteem, no matter what I did or accomplished, I was always doubting myself. I felt that I had to squash my needs. To put other people’s feelings before my own. To make myself small.
Since doing this work, I have learned about healthy boundaries. I have learned about my avoidant attachment style which evolved out of the emotional withdrawal I was conditioned to. I have learned about communication, honesty, and paying attention to my bodily signals. I am becoming more functional and healthy, and my relationships are becoming more healthy as a result. It is really exciting progress! Breaking generational trauma has to be done, with or without the support of the people who passed it on. I love them and I hope for healing from their own generational trauma.
Undoing years and years of trauma is a powerful and progressive experience, but it’s also so hard. If you are doing the work of healing yourself, I see you. Cycle breakers are creating a new way of living – hopefully a more healthy and whole way – and that to me is revival…a renewed imagination and way of being and relating to others. Healing ourselves, and then healing the world.
I leave you with these thoughts from others that have fueled my energy for this work. Peace to you, friends!
Life has left me detangling. Detangling from hurt and from generational trauma. I started by pulling one thread from the tangle and the whole ball-that-is-me started unraveling. The more I unraveled and worked to heal, the more threads started to pull with it. Sometimes, the thread knotted and reinforced. Sometimes the thread frayed, and sometimes it broke. Detangling hurts. It’s messy. People around you don’t like it. Sometimes they leave because it’s just too messy for them to witness. There isn’t always a clear direction. Detangling is also a bit addictive. Progress is a driving force.
I’ve found myself now, standing here, with a pile of unraveled thread in my hands. I see the potential for new beauty while also feeling grief for some things left behind. My inner self looks nothing like it used to. This detangling is funny business. In some ways I’ve lost every answer and certainty I ever knew, and in some, I’m more sure and driven then ever. I’ve changed. And I’m proud and confident that while the process is messy, the results are good. I see them every time I look at my kids.
Alex Elle says, “when you heal yourself, you heal your lineage”. And if that ain’t a whole word. You can’t do much with a wadded up ball of thread. But unwound? Now the possibilities for recreation are endless. Now, I’m free to weave in and out of others stories in a way that creates beauty, not tangled harm.
All of this is to wonder, can we have a revival without detangling and deconstruction? Can we heal without first being brutally honest about where the pain is coming from? Revival requires a desire to do the hard inner work. We have to be able to say, first, “this isn’t working”, and be open to a new way of thinking or doing.
I’ve found myself thinking about how the revival in Asbury is Gen Z led, at a time when our nation, our church, our families are so polarized and broken. Maybe the “soft” generation is exactly the right one to be vulnerable enough to ask for real change? Maybe the deconstruction crowd have paved the way? Maybe our critiques are really an unwillingness to admit some things just aren’t working? Maybe now is the time to pray we can be ready to walk with humans, not stand on issues.-Melissa Ulrich
“The So-called ‘Black Sheep’ of the family are, in fact, seekers of liberation roads for the family tree. Those members of the tree who do not adapt to the rules or traditions of the family system, those who were constantly seeking to revolutionize beliefs, going in contrast to roads marked by family traditions, those criticized, tried and even rejected, are called to release the tree of repetitive stories that frustrate entire generations.
The ‘Black Sheep’, those who do not adapt, those who rebel, repair, detoxify, create a new and blooming branch…
The family tree will want to continue to maintain the castrating and toxic course of its trunk, which makes its task difficult and conflicting… let no one make you doubt, take care of your ‘rarity’ as the most precious flower of your tree. You are the dream of all your ancestors.-Bert Hellinger