The lingering impact of your wounds requires something powerful to deal with it. It’s a brutal world and the wounds come. Psalm 147 – “The Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” You will take many wounds in this life but the defining wounds tend to come young. Some come obviously, some quietly. But they come. They seem to have a pattern to them, a theme.
John’s story – his Dad gets taken out by alcohol and John turned to his girlfriend. She felt like life. Young, pretty, full of energy, from an intact home. It was great. And then, one day, she broke up with him. Gone. Abandonment. Alone again. He spent his summers at his grandfather’s ranch in Oregon – horses, initiation, tractors, his granddad teaching him things and he adored John. And then, brain cancer and he was dead in six months. Third person gone. His wounds carried the same message, “You’re on your own. Don’t trust or need anyone ever again.”
What you need to know is these wounds you have, they mattered. They shaped you. “I’ve got to succeed” or desperately needing other’s approval or “I must come through” – the wounds shape us. All of our addictions – the need for sex, need for attention, success, to be in charge, money, drugs, booze … all of it – it’s not about the addictions, they are never the issue. The issue is you’re medicating a wound. There’s a wounded heart in there and you’re doing whatever you can to numb it. You can be a Christian, driven angry guy – or – a Christian, checked-out, passive, shut down guy. Down in there is a wounded heart and the addictions are just adding to the mess.
We men famously mishandle our wounds. Ask a man about his wounds and he’ll deny it, minimize it, “it was years ago and I’m past that now”. Really? “Sure it was abusive in my home but I don’t think it shaped me, I’m past it.” Really? We’ll either deny it or minimize it – or – we’ll embrace it as our identity “I am the seagull” or “I am an idiot” or “I’m alone” or “I’ll never be successful” or “I can never be loved”. We’re living out an identity someone else gave us. That’ll never heal it.
God has to sneak up on us. He’ll dismantle the false self. You construct this false world to insulate you from the pain and the most merciful thing God can do is break it. The worst thing is when our sin works for us – when the false self works for you, you’ll live that way forever. God will come after that false self with some form of disruption to get to your buried, shut down heart. He’ll even allow you to be wounded again in the place of your deepest hurt if that is what it takes.
Do you know your wound? Can you name the way your heart was wounded? Do you know the message of your wound? What was your Dad’s message to you? Dig into these. Get alone with God and ask Him. Go to the pain.
The yearning of your father’s love – you can never get enough of this. The belovedness, the adoration, the delight. Did you get that? Did you get his validation through word and experience – a process of learning where he showed you and then cheered you on as you did it yourself? Did you get that? Push into this. It takes bravery to drop the pose and face this pain. All of the strength you want in this life comes from the healing and restoration of your heart.
Your real convictions are deep down in your heart. Isaiah 61 – “I’ve come to heal the brokenhearted and to set the captives free.” Jesus is relentless in His pursuit of your heart. He drives at it, pushes, striving to rescue your heart – to restore us to His side and to restore us as men. He stands at the door and knocks. If any man opens the door, Jesus will come in. Step one of healing your broken heart is to admit it, name it and then to open these places to Jesus and give him access and permission to go there so He can break those agreements you’ve made with the pain.
We’ve all taken arrows in life. The question is, “What have you done with those arrows?” What message have you agreed with? What walls and barriers have your created in your pose to protect your heart? There is great freedom in “going to the pain” and facing these hurts you’ve stuffed down. They mattered. They shaped your life. It’s time to free the prisoner (your heart) from the concrete walls of your pose or the façade you present others and invite Jesus there to heal the brokenhearted. Are you willing?