I went through a very painful experience involving some extended family members earlier this year. I was so hurt, I couldn’t even talk about what had happened. It took me days before I could tell my husband about it.
Feeling distraught and overwhelmed, I sought the counsel of my pastor’s wife, Thora. Reliving my ordeal was absolutely awful! But I knew it was necessary. And Thora helped me sort out my thoughts and convoluted feelings. Then I felt better.
A few days later I told a dear friend, who in turn told me she had gone through something similar as well. I felt validated.
Then I told my neighbor, with a flurry of passion and details. Venting felt great, but this time I didn’t feel any better.
Then I told my small group, who lovingly showed me how completely indignant they felt by the terribly unfair trespass I’d suffered. I left group that night feeling sorry for myself.
Finally I told my hiking group, who patiently listened to me ranting and raving about all the dreadful things I’d been subjected to by these awful family members.
Then I felt incredibly angry.
I heard on the radio the other day that there is such a thing as “overventing” – which totally resonated with me. Over the years, I’ve felt the wonderful release one experiences when we share with someone we can trust troubling feelings or problems we may be experiencing. Their feedback can be incredibly insightful, but to me the most helpful part of the experience is hearing yourself speak out loud your own thoughts and sentiments about a particularly difficult situation.
But as beneficial as this activity can be, it can turn detrimental if we overdo it – like it did in my case.
Recognizing that venting was no longer a part of the healing process, I decided it was time to move on, to truly let God and let go. And every time the old pesky feelings came knocking at my heart’s door and the urge to blabber about the same ol’ same ol’ tempted me, I chose not to say a word, but instead I chose to forgive and pray for my offenders.
And ever since I decided to do this, I’ve been feeling much better.