I think the topic of healing has been one of my favorite of all the themes we’ve covered on the Middle Places blog. Not only because the last eighteen months have been a long intense journey of healing for me, but because it’s one of the few things I believe every member of God’s family is called to. We are called to be healed and to heal. There are fancier words for this process: sanctification, restoration, redemption, but, ultimately, it’s all about being healed of the separation between ourselves and God.
The hardest thing about healing is knowing where to begin. Often our hurts loom as large as dragons. Fear and shame lurk in the shadows of every interaction and experience, waiting to pounce on us without warning. We’re convinced no one has messed up as badly, as embarrassingly, as nastily as we have.
Sisters, we can stand together even in this. We can expose our pain, our pride and our wounds to each other and survive. In fact, we must do these things if we are to grow and become who we are created to be. It takes courage, and some days it takes a whole lotta Kleenex and chocolate, but we can do it, together. Let me help us get started:
Let’s name our shame.
The crazy thing about shame and brokenness is how it compels us to keep it hidden in dark, secret places. Fear whispers no one could love us if they knew the truth about our dirty little secrets and so we work, and we scurry, and we hide and we do all the things we should do. We use smoke and mirrors to distract everyone from the most tender places inside. We never imagine that the surest, fastest way to healing is to stop all our hiding and game playing and let Truth shine on all the festering wounds in our soul.
Christ calls Himself the light in the darkness. He’s waiting right now, waiting for us to name our shame so He can reveal it for what it is, powerless, temporary, redeemable, ashes waiting to be made into something beautiful. The moment we call it by name, it shrinks down to something conquerable. When light floods in, withering shame, it strips it of the false power it holds over us. Climb up in Jesus’ lap, take a deep breath and name your shame. I promise, He’ll still be holding you when you’re done.
Rest in our worth as children of God.
One of the hardest things for us to overcome in order to start our healing journey is the belief that our value is in our efforts, our reputation or our contributions. While there is value in those things, our value is not based on them. Each one of us is the handcrafted masterpiece of a loving Creator. Our worth is bestowed on us by the One who knit us together before we ever offered our first effort or made our first mistake.
The Accuser wants us to believe we have to clean up and keep up in order to earn the reward of healing from a harsh and demanding god, but the truth is our loving Father has lavished His love and healing on us already. He pours it out constantly, in a never-ending stream, and all we are asked to do is turn and walk in it.
Live in Hope.
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? For a long time, I believed in hope in the abstract. I knew Jesus was hope for the world and our hope for salvation, but I didn’t live in a way which reflected my belief. Hope is only as effective as we allow it. It’s like sitting beside a cool mountain stream on a hot summer day. We know the stream is refreshing and lovely. We know it will end our discomfort and soothe our sweaty skin. We know there is nothing standing between us and all it has to offer. But we act as though our knowing is as effective as actually climbing into the stream and enjoying the relief it offers.
Hope isn’t just a concept, an ephemeral wish for things which can never be. Hope is the reality offered to us freely. It is the state of being forgiven and accepted, the freedom to live as one loved and whole regardless of our past or present. It’s the ability to dive into the depths of freedom from sin and shame, as real and refreshing as any mountain stream. It takes practice, sometimes a moment by moment decision to choose which reality we will accept, but it is the purest reality. It is given to us to experience today, right where we are.
Never stop asking for help.
For me, this was the hardest step, admitting I needed help. We are a fiercely independent culture, an empowered people. We are equipped with mantras and self-actualization and bootstraps by which we can pull ourselves up. Friends, healing cannot happen in a vacuum. Hurt and shame do not magically disappear one day when we’ve done enough good stuff to swing the scales in our favor. Healing is meant to be practiced and lived out in a community. Yes, we should choose our community wisely, but we must choose someone, somewhere to walk with us. For some, that may begin with a professional therapist, for others a trusted friend or circle of friends, a spouse, a sibling, a pastor, a support group, someone who can help us carry our burden until we are finally able to leave it by the wayside and walk on in freedom.
Healing is a life-long process. Even as one burden is lifted, another will appear and so we continue asking for help and giving help in turn over and over again, working together to shine light into a hurting world, and allowing our wounds to be what makes us most beautiful, just like the One whose very wounds make us beautiful.Even as one burden is lifted, another will appear. So we continue to ask for and give help in turn.Click To Tweet
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