Kathy McClenehan

18 October 2019

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Layers of an Onion: Personal Growth

You have probably heard the analogy of our personal growth and healing being like the layers of an onion. When we encounter and engage the struggles of life, it is like peeling an onion, back layer by layer. This can be frustrating or discouraging. Because if you are like me, I would love for the peeling to be over with at once. I haven’t found life like that though. My layers are often reoccurring themes. I learn something new each time I peel back a layer. I enjoy that God’s patience and love are present each time and experienced in new ways.


Recently in my life, I experienced a new level of personal growth. I had one of those layers pulled back. I had no idea that I would find in this layer, hidden in a particular story in my life. The distortion and partial truth shaped how I relate to God and others.


The memory came out of the blue.


I found myself telling it to someone in a hesitant way, not yet knowing why this would be the time that memory surfaced. Out of telling that snippet of my life, I discovered that I had interpreted God as over demanding and not safe. I wept as I realized what the story had burned into me. There was a tremendous relief when words were put to the confusion. In those moments of talking, seeing the connections and praying, I saw new truth in the memory. I found a shift happen in myself. A peace came over me that allowed me to see the sweet kindness and invitation of Jesus in that scene instead of an over demanding God.


Back to analogy. I am thankful that what the onion represents for me. My healing experienced in peeling back another layer of my story. It guided by a loving and patient God. My healing found in having others in my life be with me as I peel back those layers and realize the distortions that lie in some of the experiences in my life. These have all been instrumental in my personal growth.


For those of you who are afraid of peeling back a layer or discouraged to pull back the same layer again: I encourage you to have courage! My hope is that in the discomfort of encountering “the onion” you will see and experience the loving, kind hand of the One who made you and you will find new personal growth.


Find out more about Kathy McClenahan here.


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