There’s nothing like hearing the triumph of a hero’s story from battle. Those of us who grew up reading superhero comic books counted on the illustrations to tell the story of how our famed heroes defeated the mighty hands of their adversaries. If you’re like my kids and I who oftentimes watch the mega superhero movies that are dramatically graphic in their concluding finale fight jump in celebrating when our famed hero survives a plot twist ending that has moviegoers clapping in their theater seats with applause. Real life can be far more complicated in it’s complexity when overcoming adversity in rejoicing for those who seemingly broke out of dire circumstances for the better. There are many survivors of trauma, abuse, and misfortune who later share that they felt guilty afterwards for overcoming adversity. There are many survivors that experienced “victim’s shame” inflicted on them as if they were the ones at fault for merely surviving horrific events. The Lord God is mighty in providing a breakthrough, healing from affliction, mercy and grace in the face of trouble, and has giving us the power to overcome in the face of adversity to give him the glory leading others to follow Christ.
The following examples are brief descriptions of survivor’s guilt in overcoming adversity.
Sahara grew up in an rough, impoverished, and crime ridden community in the inner city with her two siblings. Sahara’s older brother lived in and out of jail from a life of crime where he’s now serving 20 years for manslaughter. Her older sister became addicted to drugs who lost her son that now Sahara cares for. Sahara went on to be the first in her family to graduate from college, served in the military, and later became a youth pastor. She oftentimes feels guilty when she visits to check on her sister in their old neighborhood to bring her groceries from the church’s food pantry as her sister yells blatant slurs to her with profanity in claiming Sahara took her son from her.
Patricia worked tirelessly at a nonprofit agency centered on helping children with learning disabilities. She has a passion to serve people living with disabilities in having lived with a brother who had similar challenges growing up. She advocated passionately throughout the community in speaking up for the disabled, creating fundraisers for the nonprofit agency, hosting events sharing the talents of the individuals at the center, and become an unofficial spokes person for the nonprofit organization. However, secretly she didn’t share how the agency was a stressful, hostile, and toxic working environment with many of the workers receiving just a step above minimum wage. She also gathered lots of resentment from many co-workers who retaliated on her efforts and recognition in the organization as a “show off” that made everyone else look bad. Many of the employees not only complained about the job, but they treated the clients harshly at times. Patricia would oftentimes come home to her husband and kids tired, irritable,and having not much energy to give to them. Patricia was surprised to later be offered a job opportunity to work for a state agency to continue her efforts in advocating for her cause that would offer more flexibility,financial stability, and better health care for her family. Patricia felt hurt and betrayed after being ostracized, harassed, and shamed by her supervisors and co-workers after submitting her notice of resignation.
Megan lived in silence of the emotional abuse, neglect, and financial strain brought on by her ex husband. No one would have ever guessed by looking at the faithful church attending, educated couple, both having professional careers, and who lived in the “nice part of town” in the hills wouldn’t had the perfect life. Megan’s husband was irresponsible with money management despite how she shared in helping the household financially. Unbeknownst to Megan her resentful husband had a secret life and intentions later leaving her and their two young kids. He left the family in financial ruin from hidden debt. Although Megan had to start back from scratch in having the family’s home going to foreclosure, losing the family’s car, and making barely enough to survive things slowly improved for her in a turn around. She and the kids built together in healing growing into learning how to be happy despite their new norm. However her ex fell on hard times losing his job, and his health begin to decline. The mutual friends and associates through her ex begin to shame and spread rumors that Megan caused her husband’s down slide, and assumed based on his smear campaign as a defense for leaving his family it was all Megan’s fault.
You Don’t Look Like What You’ve Been Through and That’s Okay
Many of us don’t look like what we’ve been through, and I want you to know that’s okay. We know not to judge a book by it’s cover, but in opening the book the read the story from it’s pages. Our lives in everything we’ve experienced has a story to share in bearing witnesses as believers in Christ. We don’t have to feel guilty about deliverance from trials, but we are to live our lives as walking testimonies of what God can do. Let go of gulit, shame, and the need to validate in allowing Christ to work through you in bearing witness of his amazing glory. Be blessed beautiful people always.💋
I lift my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalms 121 1-2