There is something healing about walking a pen or pencil slowly across a page. This is one main reason I love to journal. Years ago, when I was grieving the loss of a dear friend, I wrote the following letter to myself during a quiet time with pen and paper. Perhaps it will speak to you if you are struggling with rejection, looking forward to the future, or letting go of a relationship that once was.
Some of the deepest rejections you have felt haven’t only been when someone physically abandoned you, but when they have misunderstood your heart. When they have done so, you have felt as if the deepest parts of yourself were ignored and unseen. Therefore, the true intimacy you have longed for was denied.
There have been times when you have felt this way that you have returned, in your heart and your mind, to a place in your past where you felt most loved. Going back there felt like home and the visits made you ache for what was. Yes, we all have memories that bring comfort, tears, longing, happiness, and sadness. But remember, Beloved, that allowing lingering memories with regretful thoughts of “What if?” to fill your mind is futile. You can’t go back.
Understandably, you have wanted to revisit those times when you felt loved and accepted. Those places of acceptance have been a refuge for your longings when love has disappointed you. But remember that your present, however good and radiant, will never be able to live up to a memory. Be careful that what was doesn’t become the enemy of what is. Dwelling on the past can create an emotional bondage difficult to escape. Then, when you want to love you will be unable because your affections will be tied to a memory that cannot love you back. And perhaps God would want to give you beauty now.
Consider how no two things in the world are alike: No two flowers, two people, two rocks, or two trees. One person in your life has this beauty, another that. One makes you laugh like a school girl; another brings out your intellectual side. Just as no two snowflakes are not the same, but are altogether radiant in themselves, so people are also uniquely beautiful. These are God’s fingerprints in the world.
Be wise, then, not to compare this person to that one, or someone in your present to someone in your past. To do so gives the enemy of your soul the opportunity to destroy your present and your future. You can’t find love now which will lead to love in the future if you will not let go of old love. If you compare those who love you now, and make note of all their shortcomings, you will miss the beauty that they are. Love is love because it covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8) and imperfections.
When love disappoints you—as it always will—and you feel your heart has been overlooked and ignored, make sure you do not ruminate over what was. When “what if” thoughts come marching in the gate of your mind, do not let them in. They will sit down on your sofa, and soon they will have moved in and you will find yourself obsessing over the past and unable to embrace what is.
Lastly, look forward in hope because there is hope. Expect good. Know that God has love waiting for you in the friends and loved ones He brings into your life. Open your heart. When you give love away now, you will find it coming right back to you.