There’s a common theme in my walk these days, and it’s finally coming to my awareness. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s beginning to hit me deeper just how important and necessary it is.
In my Streams in the Desert devotional this morning, the following sentence hit me like a thousand light bulbs:
The best things in life are the result of being wounded.
It was interesting to read that, and I don’t think I would have even accepted that statement two weeks ago. Additionally, before that opening sentence in the devotional passage, a portion of Acts 14:22 was referenced. It said “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
That part of the verse is actually a direct quote from what Paul and Barnabas were saying to encourage and strengthen other disciples to remain true to the faith. I’m sure I’ve read that verse before, but in this time it was exactly what I needed to read.
I’ve been on a journey toward healing for the past several months. I’ve been very intentional with seeking help this time. I reached a point where I actually needed to seek counseling. Before going to counseling, I was actually mentally dissociating to cope, disconnecting from everything and everyone around me, and trying to construct a different reality in my mind to distract from the pain. When I realized this, I knew I needed outside assistance. So I now attend sessions twice a month. Counseling was something I never imagined would be helpful, but it is actually liberating to talk to a stranger who has no connection with the other people in my life and will not be affected by what I share. I can glean unbiased feedback and similarly to my times with Jesus, it is a safe place to express my pain, struggles, and brokenness.
I actually used to believe that counseling was unnecessary, that I should only talk with Jesus and confide everything in Him – working through life and struggles solely from our direct relationship. But when I realized my relationship with Him was actually adversely affected by the wounds I experienced due to mental associations surrounding particular events, I sought assistance from a total stranger, a counselor who also believes in Jesus. The fellowship I have in the conversations with my counselor are wildly different from friends or other believers, but it is often-times much more encouraging. I am pointed back to the Cross during each session and slowly my relationship with Jesus is being mended in my own heart and spirit. I also have stopped dissociating.
I have wept and cried at every meeting as I’ve regurgitated scarred and calloused wounds from my youth, as well as the more recent gushing lacerations and bruises I sustained in the past couple of years. Some expression felt like my heart was being torn to shreds or sliced in pieces by a scalpel, others felt like I was internally bleeding, and even the scar tissue that was being re-examined and torn open again was basically like superficial nerve damage. So I couldn’t feel until it went deeper and got to the muscle and viscera tissue. It’s easier for me to describe the emotional and mental pain in physical metaphors, so I apologize for the dramatic and graphic imagery.
I am not afraid of my brokenness. It keeps me humble and grounded in the truth/reality that I am in desperate need of a Savior, and I cannot bring my own healing or do this “life” on my own. The issue is that I sometimes tend to wallow in brokenness or dwell on it, forgetting the other half of the story – the BEST THINGS in life. Streams in the Desert noted that incense must be burned by fire before its fragrance is set free and that the earth must be broken with a sharp plow before being ready to receive the seed.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. – Psalm 51:17
It’s amazing to remember that there is beauty from the ashes, and God uses pain to make things beautiful. I hope that I continue to remember this as I walk forward, not wallow in the brokenness, but find joy in the healing… that the fragrance set free from this time is a beautiful display of the truth of God’s character and image in me, so others can see His glory and mercy. I’m ready to receive the seeds of His goodness.