I’ve always said that it’s possible to start over, regardless of the past. But what does that mean? It’s one thing to decide to start over, but it’s another thing to figure out what to do with the effects of the past.
You don’t just hear a riveting chastity talk and sign a fresh purity commitment card, and then everything is restored. What’s often unseen is the drawn-out process of untying the knots.
As many of you know, I was raised in a broken family, lost my virginity at the age of fifteen, and lived through abusive and unfaithful relationships. Some of my wounds were self-inflicted because of by my own poor choices, while others were inflicted upon me.
Before meeting my husband, I quit living my crazy lifestyle and began to practice purity. But what about the wounds of the past? I stuffed them. We women are masters at stuffing our stuff. We put our makeup on, buy a new wardrobe, and offer the world a big fake smile. But inside, we’re afraid to start crying because we’re afraid we’ll never stop. So, we numb ourselves with false consolations.
How do we (both men and women) stop running from the past and learn how to face it, own it, and heal it? Here are my three keys:
Go to counseling.
Most people feel embarrassed to seek professional help. We want everyone (especially ourselves) to think we have it all together. But we’ll never solve a problem until we admit that it exists. Because I spent years of my life running from the past, my life became an intricate web of coping mechanisms. I began to identify with my brokenness, thinking that my tough exterior façade was my identity. Actually, it wasn’t me at all. It was the frightened girl who wanted to keep everyone at bay because she knew that vulnerability leads to pain. But this isn’t any way to live. It’s just existing. This isn’t how to thrive. So, get over your fears and talk to someone who can help you to finally slay them. Find a counselor.
Find a good mentor.
Going to a counselor is essential if you’ve suffered serious emotional wounds. But a good mentor is invaluable in the healing process as well because you need the company of a friend who can inspire you to live the kind of life you know you want.
When you’re drumming up all the wounds of the past, sometimes we begin to wallow in our shame instead of rising above it. We’ll begin to think that we’re just an unlovable, helpless, mess. At times like this, it’s essential to have family, friends, or some other support system that will accept you where you’re at, reminding you that you are lovable, even if you are a mess! Therefore, don’t try to heal alone. When you’re tempted to fall back into your old habits, choose the company of those who will bring out the best in you. Avoid the empty relationships and false consolations that promise everything but give you nothing.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what has happened to you. All that matters now is where you go from here. As I once heard, “No matter how dirty your past is, your future is still spotless.”
Crystalina Evert is the co-founder of Chastity Project and is a best-selling author several books, including Pure Womanhood. Crystalina has spoken internationally to hundreds of thousands of people about of chastity, healing, and sexual integrity.