If you’ve ever experienced any kind of trauma or significant emotional hurt, you know that healing is not a linear process. I’m sure you’d agree with me when I say that it doesn’t just happen quickly or how you’d like it to either.
Even when I’m on a roll with a revelation of my self-worth and pumped with power and courage, one seemingly small thing might cause me greater pain than expected.
I find myself asking God, “why does this still hurt when I’m supposed to be healed? Surely I should be over it by now, especially with all this healing work I’ve been doing.”
The only way out is through
Experiencing pain or emotion from past trauma doesn’t mean you aren’t healing or that you’re not letting go. Experiencing the pain just shows that something painful happened and, naturally, painful things cause pain.
I like to look at physical pain to understand emotional pain better; we seem to be much more comfortable with the physical types of wounds than the emotional ones.
I put my hand in a fire, I get burnt and potentially scarred. It’s a simple action + action = consequence. To not get burnt or scarred in the fire is impossible. The same goes for emotional pain. Feeling the pain is just the product of experiencing trauma.
Again, if I sprain my ankle, I need to tend to it; I need to be gentle with it and put ice on it. In some cases, I might need to wrap and bandage it.
I might need a break from walking on it for a while, and when I want to try to walk again, I will slowly ease my way in, using any pain as a reminder not to push myself too far, too fast.
Over time, the walking should get easier and for the most part, I should be free of pain.
But, sometimes you might kick a ball too hard or go for a run and feel some twinging pain coming from that old sprained ankle. I haven’t re-sprained it, but due to too much impact or pressure, it seems to have flared up a bit.
That’s okay, I’ll ice it and take more care next time.
Hopefully you can see the mirror of the emotional and physical in my sprained ankle story. If something traumatic, damaging or painful happens and you get hurt, you need to tend to those wounds.
You might need to process the incident, pray, read the Bible, take some time out, talk to some trusted friends, meet with a counsellor or psychologist etc. etc.
Emotional wounds left unattended to, like the physical, can get infected and end up much more serious than if you had addressed them immediately.
Pain, pain, go away… and never come back
So, after an uncertain amount of time, you’ll be free of pain. Or so you might have thought.
Yes, eventually you will no longer be carrying around the weight of the hurt; you won’t have the gaping wounds, but that doesn’t mean you wont experience some pain once and a while.
This is a scary thought to many who have had these painful experiences and have tried with all their might to heal and “move on.”
Often, we can want to “heal” from our hurtful experiences simply to escape them; we really mean we want to distance ourselves from those awful feelings of weakness or helplessness or betrayal.
But, that’s not really the point of healing.
The goal or “end result” of healing isn’t to escape the trauma and never think about it again, but more like gaining the ability to acknowledge it and know that it has no impact on your self-worth.
God, our Healer
I know that staring your pain in the face can seem like a scary thing, especially if you have very recently experienced something traumatic.
But, thankfully, we believe in a miracle-working God!
A good God who is closer than we know and who comforts us in our greatest unravelling. A God who can bring us out of the depths of pain and sorrow and into bright, brilliant sunlight.
Your value is set in stone
Even though you may still be healing and recovering from something traumatic, you are already whole and worthy as you are right now.
Yes, in this form; this version of you is whole and worthy and valuable and significant, just as you are. Jesus died and rose for you – He came for you while you were still a sinner, stained and imperfect, yet He gave you a new value.
He defined you as beautiful and made whole in Him.
Your value isn’t linked to your trauma or your pain or your healing. You are completely valuable and good enough, because Jesus’ sacrifice said you were.
Remember these things while you pursue further and deeper healing: you have something to offer, you’re valuable and worthy of respect and honour, you are enough the way you are, pain and experience don’t define you, Jesus does.
Laura Miles is an excitable and fast-paced Brit, living in Australia. She can’t sit still; she has a serious addiction to sudoku, and she can be won over by a good cup of tea and a laugh. Studying to become a doctor, she is expectant and excited to see all the crazy things that the Lord is going to do in her life.