Today’s post is written by our Brave Artist Toni Imsen
It was back in 1990, I remember it well. It was a strategic conversation and a pivotal moment in my life.
I had just come out of a very broken home a few years earlier. I moved out of my childhood home at 18, when my mother chose to stay with her abusive and alcoholic husband. She told me she thought I should leave, so I did.
That is a long and painful story for another day. Needless to say, I had lots of hurts, pain and baggage from growing up in an environment like that. It shapes who you are.
In 1989 I committed my life for Christ and started attending a local church. I became a part of a home bible study led by a very wonderful couple and from that church. They were loving parents of great children. That was very attractive and healing to someone like me. It was a very nurturing place to be.
And then suddenly, a conversation and a question caused me to make a change that drastically needed to happen.
I was having a conversation with the couple and sharing my background and about the hurts I had experienced, and frankly from a very angry and accusing place in my heart, I was unloading. It wasn’t pretty. That is when the husband asked me a life-changing question that changed everything for me.
“When does all that bad stuff that happened to you become your responsibility?” He asked.
I know, it seems like an abrupt question, and it was for me. It even seems to one who has a victim mentality, to be a rude question. My responsibility? I thought. What? But something told me from the inside out, that there was a truth here I needed to understand and process.
The question was asked in a very humble, gentle and kind way. He was an honorable and wise man and I was all ears. He went on to explain. “As a child you aren’t in control of those things, you are under the leadership of your parents and somewhat of a victim of your circumstance. But now, as an adult, no longer in their home, you are no longer a victim of their lifestyle or subject to their choices.” He continued.
What is your responsibility now? How will you go down in history in regards to how you deal with the cards you’ve been dealt? Your decision about that will ultimately determine the rest of your life. It is your responsibility now. How will you choose to handle it?” . . .
Wow. What a revelation that was to me. I had choices. I was in control now, not in control of my family, not in control of the past. I was in control of me now, my choice now, my responses now.
How EMPOWERING that reality was!
And to be perfectly honest, how SCARY that reality was!
It was pretty terrifying to realize what that meant. That meant that I was the one who was responsible for me. I could no longer use blame or shame to remain a victim. If things were messed up, it was on me, and nobody else.
When you aren’t used to that, It is a whole paradigm shift in the way you think, live and relate to people.
That is where the healing process began for me. Dealing with the past, forgiving my family, forgiving myself. I was moving forward with a whole new operating system. That shift is what was in store for me for the next several years of my life.
Creating a new way of living was a challenge, but I did have a Helper.
I wasn’t alone.
I made the change.
I changed my mind.
The most important change I ever made.
Toni is an artist, an author and an activist who spends her time creating works of art to bring love and light to the world. She writes with a purpose to encourage and empower humanity. Toni married her wonderful husband in 1990, is the mother of 3 beautiful human beings, and the grandmother of 1. Toni is an ordained minister, a business leader, and a former homemaker. You may visit her website at Toniimsen.com.