ACL Healing is a 4 part series based off insights from “The Wounded Heart” by Dr. Dan Allender.
How can we move past the wounds in our life that steal our joy and desire to love and be loved? How can we find healing and begin to live that abundant life God desires to give us? There are three painful, difficult, and yet totally worthwhile steps – a lifelong process really – that open the door to healing our wounds. (If you’re starting here, before you go any further, please read the first part of this series and answer the critical question.)
The first step noted in part 2 is acknowledgement. We start with considering if there was a situation, environment, or relationship in our past that made us vulnerable and at risk to being wounded. For example, perhaps you didn’t experience love and acceptance as a child and now you are a people pleaser striving for approval and that has gotten you abused and exploited. Acknowledgement isn’t about finding blame; it’s about awareness and then processing – accepting, grieving, forgiving – that lack or loss. As our wounds are many layered this is an ongoing process of discovery and healing. Then what?
We frequently live out of our wounds. They impact how we relate to God and others. This is more complex than can be covered in a short blog post but two key affects are distrust and deadening our hearts.
It is common for our wounds to lead us to think the worst about God – that he doesn’t love and/or care for us. The common heart cry of the deeply wounded is,”God, why did you let this happen to me?” There is nothing wrong with asking that question; it’s the beginning of a conversation you need to have with God. The challenge is when we walk away from seeking the answer; instead we take a “I was hurt so screw you, God” approach to life.
As we distrust God, we deaden our heart to his love and care and that spills over into how we relate to others. We were created to be boldly loved and to boldly love others. As a deeply wounded person we will usually be nice, pleasant, helpful and kind but we do not boldly love – it’s too risky and requires too much vulnerability. We may desperately want to be loved and desired (a condition that opens us up to additional abuse) but our hearts are guarded, even closed off to real love of towards others and even ourselves. Obviously that impacts all our relationships.
This is why confession is necessary. Now wait! This is no way blaming the victim of abuse or exploitation – it wasn’t your fault! I am no way excusing the terrible actions of others – absolutely not! Confession is coming to the point of saying that instead of trusting God, we’ve disbelieved his promises and resisted his love and care. We confess so that we can more fully experience the forgiveness we need for the choices we made from our distrust and deadening. When we are able, we also need to confess our mess to those close to us that we have negatively impacted by living out of our wounds.
As with acknowledgement, confession is an ongoing process. The good news is, God has already forgiven you – even before you were aware of your need! He is gentle and compassionate and only desires to help you become all you were created to be.
Have your wounds led you into a way of living that you need to confess today?