How To Let Your Wounded Heart Heal

Stop picking the scabs

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

There I sat, surrounded by several dozen other women, of every age and background, in a near-idyllic setting.

The chairs were comfortable, we’d enjoyed sharing food and fresh ideas an hour earlier, and had just raised our voices together in song. The atmosphere was peaceful and pleasant.

Joined together in the unity of faith in Jesus Christ, we were sisters.

And, in the middle of it all, I remembered her.

A sister.

A sister who had hurt me in ways that cannot be formed into words. Part perception, part rejection, it simply was, and was over.

As my mind began to replay the scene, one I could only understand through the lens of betrayal…I stopped.

That memory was a scab.

Once upon a time, it was a fresh, raw wound, and reminded me of its presence on a daily basis.

But time passed. Forgiveness became a path I chose to chase. I set her free, and I set myself free.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash

Truth: forgiveness does not erase the damage done.

I personally believe legitimate pain makes forgetfulness impossible.

As far I understand scripture, God never told his followers to “forget.” He said he forgets our sin. He has not endowed mere mortals with that capability.

(If you have different thoughts on the matter, please feel free to share them — the Body of Christ desperately needs to learn from one other.)

Our skin never forgets being burned. Ask anyone who has ever suffered a burn, and then gets too close to a hot stove top — our skin always remembers what happened to it.

How much more our minds and our hearts?

Truth: there is a difference between recognizing you were burned, and intentionally irritating the wound.

As I sat in that cozy room, contemplating the trajectory of my inner thoughts, I recognized something.

The anger that used to fill me with the onset of these memories was merely mild agitation, now.

The searing, stinging pain that used to feel nearly physical, was barely a pinprick on the skin of my soul.

The wound is healing — the rawness has scabbed over.

Why then, would I slow my own healing, by picking away at the memory within my mind?

Photo by | heart made on Unsplash

Just like a crust of dead skin protectively layers itself over cuts in our body time, love, and confession cover over our heart wounds in the healing process.

Disturbing the scab is counterproductive to the healing process.

Rehearsing painful memories is injurious to the unfolding of restoration.

Your healing is slowed.

Meditating on your hurts is like peeling up the skin that is in place to prevent disease. Like germs concentrate in a cut, the things that sting you most will congregate in your mind.

Your healing may slow or even halt, as your heart is assaulted by the memories.

{The single caveat to this is when a wound is infected , because the cut has not been cleansed. If that is the case, reopening the wound and washing it out is the only cure. Until I was able to express my pain to trustworthy and level-headed people in my life, my wound was unable to heal.}

You create additional and unnecessary pain for yourself.

Loosening a scab can cause further bleeding. You’ve lost enough. You need every drop you have left, now.

Dredging up the past just brings it into the present, and makes it easier to carry forward into the future. Choose your thoughts carefully, and refuse to hurt yourself.

You can expect a deeper scar.

Prematurely removing a scab will mark your skin. The body must do twice as much work to heal, and often the effort will be obvious.

Continuing to vex the points of pain held within can mark your heart, and leave a scar that never fades.

With a sigh of peace, I released the memory that had floated into my head in a roomful of family.

I had finally learned that meditating on the memory of past pain is an endeavor that yields no harvest but prolonged suffering.

I was free, indeed, and there was no need to abide in bondage.

Truth: reliving the pain only gives it more power over me. And I will let it lie.

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Inviting pew-weary Jesus people to embrace + experience their truest identity as beloved through subversive spiritual disciplines. Hope*Writer. Creative mentor.

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