What will 2016 hold for you? Have you considered the possibilities?
Part of planning ahead is reflecting on where you’ve come from and seeing what you have or have not accomplished. This can be either encouraging or devastating depending on your year.
I often tell the survivors I mentor,
You can glance back at your past, but you can’t stay focused there.”
To do so is detrimental, whether its been a great year or one that is better forgotten. In order to move forward, you have to look forward.
Think of it like driving a car. Cars come with rear view mirrors for a reason. It is helpful to know what’s behind and beside you. It helps you navigate where you’re going; however, you can’t keep your focus on your past any more than you could drive your car looking in your rear view mirror. You’ll crash! At the very least you’ll get hurt, but you could kill yourself or someone else in the process.
The same is true in life. When we focus on the past, we miss the present and future. We can run off the road, miss our turn, or plow into something we were never intended to encounter.
This Christmas, one of the things Rescuing Hope included in our gifts to survivors was an arrow that said,
DON’T LOOK BACK, YOU’RE NOT GOING THAT WAY.”
I loved that the challenge was written on an arrow, because I often tell the girls they are to be like a fitly shot arrow, aimed straight at their target.
It takes practice. Just like shooting a bow and arrow, you don’t usually hit the bullseye on the first try. It takes multiple attempts, with you getting closer at each attempt, until one day you hit it.
Recovery is like that for survivors of sex trafficking. It’s a process. Victims usually make several attempts before hitting the bullseye. One of the wisest things Mary Frances Bowley of Wellspring Living ever told me was,
Regression is part of progression. It can take a survivor up to seven times before they’ll stay with a recovery program.”
We all seemed shocked by that statistic, yet how many of us master something the first time we try it? I dare say almost none of us. If that were the case, weight loss equipment and workout programs wouldn’t reach record sales every January. It takes time and in many cases, multiple attempts.
We have to recognize survivors have come through a lot to even reach their first step towards recovery. They may experienced a momentary lapse back to the life or leave a recovery program feeling like a failure. They may even bite the hand that feeds them so to speak, but that doesn’t mean they’ve quit on themselves or those trying to help them. And we can’t quit on them.
Think about a baby taking his or her first steps. Their legs shake and they’re a bit unstable at first. They take a step or two and then fall down. What do onlookers do? How do people respond? Do they throw their hands up in the air and declare,
Well, that was a complete waste of time!”
Of course not. People applaud each attempt and encourage them to try again. There’s no judgment. The child isn’t blamed for falling. In fact, it’s expected. It’s understood that learning to walk on your own is a process. People are there to offer love, support, and encouragment along the way until the little one is walking successfully unassisted.
Survivors of sex trafficking need the same kind of love, support and encouragement.
2016 is a year full of possibilities:
- There are potential targets out there being groomed and lured into the life who need someone to step in and stop it before it happens.
- There are victims of sex trafficking who have yet to escape.
- There are others who have come out of the life and they are trying learn to walk.
- Still others are taking baby steps and need your love and support.
How can you help? What type of support can you offer?
On Thursday, January 14th, you can attend the first Rescuing Hope Coffee House being held at RiverStone Church, 2005 Stilesboro Road, Kennesaw, Georgia 30152. It starts at 7 p.m. We will share the two major focuses of Rescuing Hope for 2016 and how you can be a part of it.
If that isn’t something that interests you, there are countless other front line organizations doing great things and they could benefit from your partnership. You can learn about a few of them here.
I am of the belief that a win for any front line organization is a win for Rescuing Hope and vise versa. We’re all on the same team and we’re all fighting the same evil.
Find what interests you and plug in there. We all have a part to play. We can all #bethekey in someone’s life.