It's generally understood that the foundational experiences we have shape the way we view life, God, people, ourselves and pretty much everything. Our early childhood frames the expectations we have of the way life works. We are forever marred and trapped by it.
Aren't we? Or, are we?
For instance, take a little girl whose father ignores her for the first three years of her life. Then suppose that this girl's father decides he's going to woo her heart, which is vulnerable because every little girl wants to be loved by her daddy. Then suppose that this girl's daddy, having won his daughter's heart, dismisses her as irrelevant shortly thereafter. All while she's three years old.
Let's factor in this girl's mother. Suppose the mother is preoccupied because her firstborn child, who is 18 months older than her daughter, is a special needs child. She is forced to expend a lot of energy caring for her eldest, all the while functioning as a single mother because her husband, who she has grown to loathe, is off traveling for business. This girl, a bright and gregarious child now at age 5, needs and wants attention from her mother that her mother simply cannot give because she's forced to divide her attention between her special needs child and her newborn. The little girl is independent enough to seem self-sufficient, though the reality is that she hears variations of "Go away" with regularity because, well, she is just a little girl who cannot fend for herself.
Add in that the home environment lacks warmth and affection, is generally filled with anger, and is run based on intellect and reason.
Snapshot: at 7 years old this girl is sexually molested by an older child, who was a friend from school.
Snapshot: at 9 years old this girl is fondled by the family dentist.
Snapshot: at 11 years old this girl becomes her mother's emotional support because, as she is told, she is her mother's only friend after a nasty divorce from a man who drove all other friends away.
Snapshot: at age 13 this girl's mother tells her, "You were always my favorite because you never needed me."
Snapshot: at age 18 this girl hears her father say, for the first time in her life, "You're beautiful."
What kind of foundation would this girl, now an adult, have for her life? What kind of lens would she use to view God, life, herself and other people? What shape would her heart be in?
This girl would probably have a pretty warped foundation. The lens through which she views almost everything would be fairly dark. It's likely that somewhere down the line she disconnected from her own heart and shifted into survival mode, turning what should be a temporary coping mechanism into a way of being. There's the possibility that life, to her, isn't really worth living and relationships really aren't worth having.
People who have experienced this sort of life might battle depression or suicidal thoughts might haunt them. People like this might be prone to self-medicating through nicotine, drugs, alcohol, or even sex.
She might not even know that her foundation is so messed up. She might not be aware that the lens through which she views everything is dark. Or she might. What if she did? What if she saw that her foundation was solidly cracked and in need of repair? What if she recognized that her vision was bad? What would she believe in her heart? How would she feel? Where would she struggle?
More importantly, what would it take for her to have that foundation remade? What would it take for her to be able to genuinely see God, life, herself and other people through a new lens? So that it's real? Deeply real? Experientially real?
What would it take to displace all of the other? Is it even possible?
What if this girl is you?