There’s an old saying–“Time heals all wounds.” Does it though? You may not always feel pain from the same wounds, but you are often left with a scar. Healed and scarred are not the same thing. And some scars aren’t confined to the surface.
Everyone develops their share of scars; it makes us who we are–unique. It is good to be unique, but your scars will easily become your identity if you let it. If you have a history of being abused, you will either abuse others, or become a fragile empty person. If you have felt neglected, you might have some trouble keeping meaningful relationships, or you will become dependent on yourself–merely a survivor. If you were sheltered to much, you might struggle with co-dependency. If you never had your question answered, you will attempt to answer it with other things, people, ideas, and actions. So the question remains: “How do we heal?”
Jesus offers healing, but in order to become a new, healed person you have to leave the old person behind. Let go; don’t try this on your own. If you don’t have the strength, find a supportive friend to help you; ask God for strength. WARNING: it will be really uncomfortable. Any time you open yourself up to life, you will feel vulnerable. Letting go of your distorted identity is basically getting rid of who you are. You might get a powerful urge to go back to what you know–what comforts you. You can’t train yourself. Don’t even try; no thing you do, no drug you try, no person you date, no schedule you make, no job you take will ever heal you. You have to stop looking to yourself, or other people, or things, or abilities to validate yourself as a man or a woman. None of it will last anyway. Instead, seek validation in a personal relationship with God. That’s what we were made for.
“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” -Jesus (Matthew 24:35)
John Eldredge writes, “The point is this: healing never happens outside of intimacy with Christ. The healing of our wound flows out of our union with him.” You will never be able to receive healing if (1.) you are guarding your wound or if (2.) Jesus is not there. Jesus is not going to abandon you. You wouldn’t pull someone out of a burning building, but just leave them, badly burned, outside. That’s not love. Jesus wants to be with you all the way, if you would have him. Not only that, but he will passionately fight for your heart, punishing Satan for even the thought of hurting you. Invite him in.
Eldredge lists some helpful tips for the path to healing: Surrender, Grieve, Let God love us, Forgive, and Ask God to father us. Surrendering has already been discussed somewhat. You have to let go. You’re not strong enough to carry around all your baggage, but God is.
You then have to grieve. You know what happens to a balloon when it has to much air in it? It bursts, and is ruined. You are the same way. When you keep all your emotions and hurts bottled up, you will eventually break down. Therefore, you have to let it out. Give it a good cry; there’s nothing wrong with that.
Next is the task of letting God love us. Don’t just tell yourself that God loves you, but turn to Him, and really let yourself feel it. Once you do that, you then have to forgive. You have to forgive those who wounded you. Maybe it’s your father or mother; maybe it’s a friend or a coworker. Maybe it’s yourself. There is healing in forgiveness because there is Jesus in forgiveness.
After you have opened yourself up to God, you must let Him father you. He will raise you into the person He always planned for you to be. Nothing can stop Him. Look at Jesus: he was raised by an earthly father, and I would even say that he had much love for that father. But look at his relationship with God! We have written proof that he called God, “Daddy (Abba).” That’s vulnerable. That’s closeness. Jesus spent time getting to know his Father, and you can too. Jesus died so that you could call God, “Daddy.” Don’t take that for granted.