History Repeats Itself: Everything is Fine
In middle school I felt like the girl with the target on her back. Yes, I was the new kid, at a new school, in a new city, public to private. No one knew me. No one knew my family. No one knew what I had or didn’t have. But many assumptions were made because of the way I dressed and how I wore my hair.
The bubbly free-spirited girl I was turned shy and withheld her personality from the world as I embarked on the middle school journey. It was obvious I didn’t fit. I didn’t look like the rest of the girls with my curly triangle hair cut with bangs and my inability to fashionably dress my quickly maturing body.
I was afraid to disappoint my mom and dad. I was afraid to disappoint their dreams that this new school would provide many exceptional opportunities. My fear of letting them down, and the full admission that I did not fit in was too much to face. It seemed easier to hide my hurting heart and pretend that “everything was fine” rather than shatter expectations.
I would tell my mom and dad everything was great, I had friends and was enjoying the day and then cry myself to sleep at night. I cried from the hurt of the day and the dread of facing another day of being the proverbial square peg. I was convinced the round hole was one I would never squeeze into.
Telling my mom and dad the truth felt like admitting defeat. It felt shameful to admit I wasn’t good enough. How could I face them and tell them that this place they believed was “perfect” for me was the place that was causing me pain, frustration, sadness? They knew what was best for me, right? I trusted that, and so I kept silent, burying tears and sadness in my pillow.
I believed I was protecting my parents from my reality. I thought I was doing a good thing – not rocking the boat. If I’m honest, I don’t think I even knew how to express my hurt because it was a feeling I had not known. I lied, or pretended with good intentions.
I know now – because we have talked about it – that my parents had no idea what I went through. And it crushed them when they found out I was carrying so much hurt. I had gotten really good over the years at learning the “everything is fine” mantra- even when it’s not fine.
I tell you this story of my middle school wounds because I believe that this example could have led to some dangerous lifelong behaviors that I am so grateful God is healing me from. I hid my hurt. I lied about being okay. I lied that things were going great. It was hard. I pretended it was a breeze. I was crumbling inside. My esteem tanked and I had no idea who I was or who I was supposed to be, but I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be like the kids who made me feel so isolated and wrong.
It was during those rough and rocky years that I clung to my youth group. I clung to the safe place of church, the place that was familiar, the place where I was known and well loved. It was the place and with the friends I could be fully me.God walked me through it. And eventually made a place and great friends at school.
“History repeats itself” we are told. Well it is not the history that does the repeating, it’s the people who do not learn from history that do the repeating. People fall into the same patterns and sin traps generation after generation, unless there is an intentional recalculation or decision to do life differently.
History is not repeating itself. Not in this instance, and not in my family. This chain of lying to protect and bury feelings, to pretend like “everything is fine” is dead. And I pray that it will never be revived.
Now I have a middle schooler, who switched schools, cities, homes and states as she started middle school. I was so fearful for her! Can I tell you how hard I prayed for her during her transition to the new school? I imposed my past on her present and then God showed me in prayer, history doesn’t have to repeat itself.
As generations go, history does tend to repeat itself, but it doesn’t have to. When God spoke that to my heart it infused me with the urge to go to the battleground of prayer for Cora. I went to battle in prayer for her, for her heart, for her confidence in who God made her to be, for her trust in God to carry her through.
I didn’t ask God to protect her from “mean girls”, but if mean girls showed up in her path, I prayed that she would have the strength, in Christ, to not let it get her down. I prayer for her
There is rejoicing in our home and rejoicing in heaven because there has been a challenging “girl drama” that has tested Cora’s character and her resolve. But I praise the Lord that God allowed me to talk to her about my experience, to share with her about my feelings and open the door for her to share her hurts as well.
What if, as a middle schooler, I would have not allowed my fear or shame to control my decision to pretend everything was okay? At worst, my parents could have made fun of me, ridiculed me because I was not fitting in. Which by the way, is the polar opposite of our home environment. At best, my parents would have scooped me up in their arms and cried with me, encouraged me, prayed with me, helped to heal the wounds – not rescue me, but help me walk through it.
The sad part is I didn’t give them a chance to engage with me in the best case scenario. I didn’t give my parents the opportunity to help me because I assumed and feared and hid in shame.
I think we do the same with God. We assume we know what he will or won’t do. We fear what he will or won’t do. And so we hide in shame from the one person who took every ounce of our shame upon his shoulders. That shame, great and small, the fear great and small, the doubt and assumptions great and small were nailed to the cross because of Christ.
What if today, instead of pretending “everything is okay” we admit it’s not, and we stop history from repeating itself with the next generation? What if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, and that we do not have to fear, we do not have to assume we know the outcomes?
What if today we choose to let God scoop us up in his loving arms and meet us in our need, no pretending, not lying to self-protect? What if today we let God be God in our lives and broke the chain of lying for generations to come?
Father God, I do not believe that we set out to deceive or lie or pretend. I pray today Father over my brothers and sister in Christ that you will give us the courage to face our own deceptions. Help us to bring them to you, to expose them to the light and allow you to wash away the assumptions, the fears, the shame, the self-protection, the pride, the ego, or whatever is fueling our propensity to lie. Break the generational chains of lying Lord – even the ones that seem insignificant. Change our mindsets and hearts to be aligned to yours. May we know now more than ever that you are our protector, defender, healer, and the holder of our hearts. Lord you see us, and you collect our tears in your jar. Not a tear forms in our eyes that you do not see. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for healing us mind, body and spirit. We love you, Lord.
For more information on this topic watch this week’s Cup of Hope videos and podcast about the deception of Abraham when he lied about Sarah being his wife – instead saying she is his sister – at least twice, as documented in the scripture in Genesis 12 and 20.
Then, in chapter 26 the names change to Isaac and Rebecca, but the lie is the same. Isaac too, claims Rebecca is his sister. Why? Protection. Fear. Fear of what will happen if the reality of who they were was known. Fear that God would not walk them through what seemed to be no win situations without lying.
Three times within fifteen chapters. History repeated itself in Abraham’s family when Isaac uttered the same lie, even to the same man his fathers lied to, Abimelech. Check out the videos to learn more!