Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pursued Part 2: Walking Wounded

You can read Part 1 of my Pursued experience {here}.

I first heard about the term "wounds" as a spiritual thing when I was a junior in college. The book Wild at Heart had just come out. I had two guy friends who were my reading buddies. We would loan books back and forth, and talk about what we liked or didn't like. I remember one of them, Sean, had read Wild at Heart. He was raving that everyone-every man and anyone who is around a man-should read this book. He was passionate about it. So, of course, I couldn't wait to read it. It talks a lot about wounds. That was the first time I had heard that term in relation to God.

Wounds are ways that we are hurt. They could be people's words or actions toward us. It could be our circumstances or situations. It could be a lack of something we emotionally needed not being provided. Wounds could really be anything that when you think of it, brings up shame or embarrassment or pain. Wounds are not temporary cuts. They are those things that dig deep to the core of us.

Reading Wild at Heart taught me a lot about wounds, but I didn't really know what to do with them. I could tell you I had wounds. I could probably even name them. I didn't know what to do with them though. I would pray for God to heal them, but they were just always there.

A lot of my wounds involve other people. In the interest of not subjecting them to anyone else's judgement, I won't share here specifically what my wounds are  were. I will say that the majority of my wounds had to do with feeling like I was just never enough-for God, for my friends, for my family. I will talk more about that when I write about what I learned about my identity, but really it just came down to feeling like I was never special enough. I never measured up. I was always a little too much of this and not enough of that. They might have come through people's words to me or their actions (or even lack of actions). Most of my wounds come from a place of insecurity and not being accepted. I really and truly longed to just feel like I was an okay person. I wanted to be some body's favorite. I wanted to matter. I wanted to feel like I fit. I wanted to know that I was worth something.

It's crazy because just writing that, I can remember a specific time this wound came up. I was in Australia (I know, right?) with my high school BFF, Kristin. She had been through a really tough time, but had found such freedom in Christ in the past year or so. We had spent part of our trip visiting girls at the Mercy House in Sidney. Kristin had lived at the Mercy house in Nashville for awhile. These are all girls who have dealt with really, really tough times. {Google "Mercy Ministries." They do amazing, life-changing work.} Through their work there they had such a freedom! I was totally jealous. Driving back to our hotel, I remember talking to God in my head and saying I just felt like He loved them more than he loved me. I didn't have some great rescue story where God came to my aid and now I am free and happy. (Yeah...I realize how twisted that is. I was complaining to God because I hadn't experienced a real tragedy in my life. What.The.Heck.) I kid you not, IMMEDIATELY---I'm talking RIGHT THEN---Kristin looked at me and said, "God wants you to know that you have a story, and you're just as important as they are." I, of course, cried. He saw it. He knew I had these feelings, but over the years they never really went away. Now, I know they never went away because I refused to let him treat them.

At Pursued though, through some exercises and reflections they have you do (one of those sacred things), I FINALLY feel like I have laid those things down. Don't get me wrong, they don't magically go away. I stare them in the face DAILY, but I choose to believe truth over the lies now. Honestly, I really hoped I would just wake up one morning and never struggle with doubt or acceptance again, but it hasn't happened yet. It never will because we live in a broken, dying world. BUT I don't have to give them power over my thoughts, words, and actions. My wounds are not who I am. They are a part of me that now reflects the grace of God. They are my rescue story. They are my proof that Jesus found ME worth fighting for.  If I allow them to stay open, festering and growing deeper, I am essentially saying that the death he died for me just isn't good enough. I don't know about you, but I sure don't want to tell Jesus that all of the suffering he went through ON MY BEHALF wasn't quite enough. I learned to rest in the fact that I am God's favorite. He favors me. I am enough for him.

The other thing I learned is how other people's wounds can wound us, and in turn how ours can affect them. So many hurtful things that were said to me or that I have experienced in my life are a direct result of that person's own wounds. I always say, "You can't expect people who don't know Jesus to act like Jesus." Well, you can't expect people who have never felt love and acceptance to know how to properly show you love an acceptance. We are all's just a fact. We are the Walking Wounded. It's a choice to let our wounds be healed...a choice that a lot of people don't even realize they have to make. So, while other people may inflict pain, I need to see it for what it is--a lack of healing in their own hearts. I also need to realize when I inflict pain out of my wounds. Right now they are bandaged and covered by the grace of God, but I always have the power to pull back the corner of the band-aid and give those wounds some air. That is what I daily have to ask for strength to avoid. I do not ever want to be a person that inflicts pain on someone else, but I know that I can intentionally and unintentionally do it from a place of my own pain and insecurity. It is something I am learning to ask God to make me very aware of in day to day life. My motivations matter.

One other thing that has helped is to really ask the Holy Spirit to make me aware when my inner dialogue starts going rogue. I say a lot of things to myself that I would never, ever, ever say aloud much less to anyone else. When I catch myself thinking these thoughts, I immediately say, "NO!" and replace it with truth from God's word. One I have repeated over and over is, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Those disparaging thoughts are the fingertips pulling at the band-aid's edge on my wounds. If I allow them to continue they will keep pulling and tugging until that wound is wild and free to grow again.

Listen, I by no means have this all together. Even in the few weeks I've been home I have STRUGGLED a lot of days. The difference is being aware of it, and not letting those things have power in my life. Exchanging the lies for the truth, and being willing to fake it til you make it in the belief department when I don't feel so sure.

There is healing. There is freedom to be had! I would much rather live life fighting every day for this hope than giving in to the crappiness I felt before. It's so worth it! And so am I.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Leslie. Jonathan shared your blog with me. Thank u for sharing! You are such a talented writer and words are so encouraging to me. Blessings to u!