Following Jesus? Oh, how glorious. We experience the highest of highs when we taste eternity on our lips, when we feel His glory pulsing through our veins.
But along with the beauty, you’ve probably noticed there’s a fair degree of pain. Like any good narrative, the story of humanity is full of aspects that are fun, and some that are not so fun.
The gospel isn’t only for salvation when we stop breathing. It’s not reserved for funerals and thoughts about the end of time as we know it. It’s also for today—for the hard stuff you felt this morning, for the anxious thoughts you have about that conversation you’re anticipating tomorrow, for the regret of yesterday’s decisions.
The good news means we can come out of hiding and find healing.
If we can come out, why do we hide things? Why do we store pain—and what the heck do I do with it?
I love thinking about the body. Whenever I choose to study it, I learn something new about my spiritual anatomy, and yours. Talking about spiritual things as it relates to the human body often helps me to understand the very things that are impacting me in the Spirit realm.
Like this: Your body knows how to heal, right? There’s wear and tear as we live every day. After a long week, you feel exhausted. But you are restored in sleep. You fall in basketball and scrape your knee. But it scabs over, right?
Your inner life is the same! Your heart gets worn and torn. It needs healing. But we play an active part in the healing process.
Being aware of your emotions is important; you can journal, talk with God or a friend, and listen to music that puts sounds to feelings. These are good tools to deal with the feelings inside you every day.
But every so often we are deeply hurt beyond the normal wear and tear.
When you break a bone, you get a cast. You need to rest, and you don’t just go to soccer practice the day after you’re off crutches. You work to get stronger. You use supports like physio and massage therapists.
It looks the same with our injured hearts!
We can be hurt in ways that leave our spiritual anatomy crippled. We like to put on “casts” (form bad habits) to protect ourselves. We’re afraid to be hurt again. We isolate ourselves and develop destructive habits. These “casts” can include negative self-talk, panic, eating disorders, among others.
But like the body heals itself in rest, Jesus’ love rushes in when we stop fighting. Instead of resisting these things, we can simply embrace them and let him in.
Christ is the head. But we are His body.
I don’t know about you, but thinking about talking to a body-less-head is a little creepy to me. I’d much rather talk to a whole person.
When we let another person in, there can be tremendous breakthrough.
One cell can’t run on a racetrack alone, can it? Don’t lots of cells form a bone and a bone a foot and a foot a leg and a leg a body?
We are not meant to run this race alone.
When I found someone I trusted and let them into the painful places, they were able to say things I couldn’t think of myself. They spoke truth where I was believing lies.
Just like a serious injury needs healing time, so does the heart. Talking with a pastor, counsellor, or friend through inner healing and using resources they suggest is a tremendous launch pad for change.
Though it could take focusing on your insides for a while before you feel stronger, you don’t need to worry. You are healing! Bit by bit, every day, broken bones heal. Even when you can’t feel it. Same with your heart.
We won’t become immune to pain, but as we learn to let Jesus into our losses and we roll our loads onto him, we may limp sometimes, but we’ll never be paralyzed!
Spending time in Scripture during painful times will always be useful too. God will show you what you need to see.
I remember wanting to understand why people were hurting me. What is happening beneath the surface? He showed me that things I can’t see are controlling what I can see. He taught me how to respond to hurtful comments and unpleasant emotions. He showed me ways to let Him be God, and let me be still.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).