Seven months ago I dared to ask for inner healing. Convinced I was broken beyond repair, I was desperate to do whatever it took. When I realized God was asking me to face the pain of my past, I hesitated. He seemed to be asking too much.
The journey into my past was a paradox of embracing ugliness to find beauty, darkness to find light and pain to find joy. A lthough this was initially very hard to understand, I realized a person cannot cover a bleeding wound and expect it to get better on its own. Unaddressed, a gaping wound could become fatal to our soul. If it becomes infected, it will fester and numb our capacity to love and live fully.
If our wounded hearts go untreated, the Bacteria of Hell, (denial, anger, bitterness, fear, unforgiveness, and hate), will creep in and steer us into torment.
Many of us fear the pain of touching an open wound (I feared the pain and anger would overwhelm me). So we choose to limp instead of run, survive instead of live, remain bound instead of set free. This goes against what God has called us to: freedom, strength and ABUNDANT LIFE!!! He has called us out of Egypt into the Promise Land. But many of us come out of Egypt and see only a foreboding desert. Dismayed, we would rather stay slaves than to attempt to cross the wilderness. We forget that if God has called us to the promise of our healing on the other side, that the desert is part of the path He chose for us. If we are so focused on the hardship of the wilderness, we forget about the Promise of God to get us through it.
I’m happy to report that although I hesitated, I still chose to go forward and learned that in order for us to find health of heart and spirit, we need to face the fear of pain. Are you shaking your head in disbelief? Are you saying, “No! That can’t be right!”?
Yes, my friend. Yes.
I’m not talking about martyrdom or suggesting you wallow in a depressive state of mind. On the contrary, I’m referring to a healthy acceptance and expression of the pain and anger we feel as opposed to a dismissal of it. I stuffed away the “negative” feelings of hurt, betrayal, anger, ambivalence and contempt in order to numb the pain. Many of us do. But we cannot divide ourselves without hurting ourselves. We are a whole person: body, mind and spirit welded together. We cannot shut off one part of us without directly affecting the rest of us.
God taught me that we need to FEEL completely. If you love deeply, you will also grieve deeply. So when it comes to our the injuries of our heart, we need to grieve. We need to make the “ugly crying face” and weep. We need to get honest and groan and shout out. We need to take up our cross of sorrow and suffering, ask God why it feels like He has forsaken us, and take all that soreness to the grave. We need to be willingly to crucify our self-reliance and trust in God’s resurrecting power to bring our souls back to life.
I know it’s not a very popular thought. During my journey, my own father was upset by the thought of revisiting past hurts and encouraged me NOT to. I started to wonder if I was getting it all wrong. Then the Lord gave me Psalms 23:
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
The Lord is our Shepherd. If shepherds lead and He is leading us, why would HE lead us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death? Well, let me ask you this: why did the wise sea turtle tell Dory to swim through the scary dark chasm instead of swim over it? (see Finding Nemo). It was for their safety and well being! It’s a simple illustration of God’s love which we may not understand when we are focused on what’s right in front of us.
God’s plan for our lives is the BEST possible plan there is! And just when we think it’s too scary to go through, Psalms 23 promises He will walk WITH us. Do you SEE that God promises that death is only a looming “shadow”? It doesn’t have the power to overwhelm you because He is THERE too! Through the valley, He is WITH you, He comforts you and then, AFTER the valley, goodness and mercy follow!
Healing is difficult. Avoiding the pain of the truth that someone hurt you deeply, that a friend betrayed you or loved one abandoned you, LOOKS like the better choice. The most well-meaning friend may encourage you to avoid the pain at all costs. But is that scriptural? “…narrow is the gate and DIFFICULT is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14).
I’ve come to the conclusion healing is not for sissies! After seven months of revisiting the past; asking hard questions of God, myself and others; crying until there are no more tears and remembering who I am in Christ, I woke up today and felt different. I feel lighter, freer and more ALIVE than I have in a long time. I know there is probably more but whatever I was meant to deal with in this season, I’m DONE and ready to move forward and embrace whatever is next.
That’s where I am on my journey. What about you? Where are you on your journey? If you have never thought about dealing with your deepest hurts before, are you willing to take the path that few find? Are you willing to Embrace God’s paradox of healing? I promise you that you can and will make it through. More important than my promise, God promises He will take you through (and He never lies). You will not be alone.
Choose the healing path. Ask Jesus to show you what you need to do to follow the way that leads to life. Ask Him what He would like to heal.
I invite you to read and meditate on Hebrews 12:2. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Blessings to You,