“Why do I keep coming back to this?” Tears appear in her eyes. “I thought I was finally beyond this, but I’m right back in the middle of it. I’m not getting anywhere. I just keep going back to the same place.”

When people feel like they’re stuck, it’s common for them to go back to the source of their struggle. Maybe it’s bad relationships, maybe it’s the same mistakes or perhaps it’s just overwhelming memories. They convince themselves that they should be able to move forward, but there they are, once again struggling with the same old issue that just won’t seem to go away.

Albeit painful, there might be a few benefits of returning to an old struggle for a moment, so long as we don’t stay there. 

  1. When we look back it gives us the chance to see that God was with us, and it reminds us that He is today too. Sometimes we focus so much on the pain of the past that we miss seeing where God was as we experienced the pain. Recognizing that he was with us during those dark days can encourage us as we face today’s struggles. Knowing we don’t struggle alone will make all the difference in the outcome. Deuteronomy 31:6
  2. Looking back at struggles can also give us proof that we have already been strong enough to make it through once, and we can make it through again. Struggles build strong character and make no mistake, yesterday’s struggle was a training ground for today’s. Regardless of what your feelings are telling you, you can make it through this. Philippians 4:13
  3. When we experience troubles we’re often told to “get over it,” “it’s not that bad; others have it so worse,” “let the past be the past” etc., and instead of leaning into the pain so that it doesn’t cripple us, we put on a quick bandage and pretend it isn’t there. Trouble is, if it is a deep wound or struggle, it needs treated to fully heal. Returning to a struggle with the help of a trusted friend or counselor can mean removing that old bandage, cleaning out the old wound that still bothers us today, and allowing those past hurts to heal once and for all.
  4. If we look at our past struggles with a new perspective it can allow us to see our purpose in life. It is in those broken places where we are often used by God. I frequently say during sessions that God does not waste our pain, and if we take a good, hard look at it, it can help use take that next step forward in living our life’s purpose. God is preparing you for the very purpose he has planned for you. Don’t give up during these difficult moments. There is purpose in the pain.

Please know, I’m not suggesting that we dwell on the past, but when we use it to propel us forward, it can be a positive exercise in seeing God, embracing the character he is developing in us, finding true and long-lasting healing, and recognizing the purpose he has for our lives.

So instead of fearing or grieving the return to the struggle, maybe we should embrace it.  If the struggle is so overwhelming that you can’t see the benefit, maybe it’s time to share your struggle with one of our counselors. Contact us to schedule a time to talk, and we may be able to help you find the messages that God wants you to see so you can grow and fulfill His purpose for you.

More about April, our Director & Therapist


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