There are life circumstances that can deeply affect us without us even knowing it. They can shape our interactions with others and our perception of reality for the rest of our lives. As I continue to grow and mature, I’m learning about such circumstances and the wounds that ensue from their occurrence. Understandably, when my middle school best friend decided she no longer wanted to communicate with me and preceded to ignore me for periods of time, I was sent the message of rejection. Couple this with the rejection I was already experiencing from my peers and family members at that time, you’ve got one rejected, sad, lonely little girl. But how did I deal with that rejection? How did I respond when the people I loved most in the world made me feel unloved? I did what most of us do. I tucked the pain away somewhere, put on a good front and went about navigating my way through life. Little did I know this “front” was really a wall of anger wrapping itself around my heart as a form of false protection against any future potential causes of pain. Anger became a go to. Someone hurts me? I get angry. People disappoint me, I get angry. Someone disagrees with me? You get the idea… Somewhere along the way I received the lie that anger was my friend. It had my back when those I felt should have my back did not. This weekend I was faced with a decision; let anger go and forgive the person making me angry, or hold onto the anger for dear life and fight the peace God was trying to give me in its place. I wish I could say I was instantly obedient, but it took receiving godly counsel and time in prayer for me to make that first needed step. I found myself face to face with the fear of letting go of this anger, because doing so made me feel vulnerable. Vulnerable to the one who had hurt me…vulnerable to the “enemy”. That’s when I understood I was using anger as a shield of protection and God started showing me the root of why this shield was formed. Once I lowered my shield, my heart was vulnerable indeed. But not in the way I feared. It was vulnerable to God because now He had access to the wound that I was trying to cover up. And I knew that He wanted to heal that wound. Heal that sad, lonely, rejected area that was hidden from even myself, but of course not from Him.
On the car ride to work this morning, I asked Him for His healing. He’s healed me in so many major areas, heartache from abandonment, losing loved ones, betrayal from past relationships…I guess I thought I didn’t need to be healed anymore. Or maybe I just underestimated the need and importance of healing (how often do we do this?).
I’ve heard it said that hurting people hurt people. I truly believe that. I also believe that healing people heal people. Hence Christ was able to heal the sick and broken because He Himself walked in wholeness. I know He has called His children to walk in that same type of wholeness.
Often when I am not functioning according to God’s design, I beat myself about it. But I’m learning that God’s response is in love. He is a Teacher and wants us to learn His ways. A good teacher will not just fail a student, they will work diligently with the student to help them learn the material and do better next time.
Now that I have asked for His healing, I will practice yielding my response to offense to Him instead of raising up a shield of anger. Instead, I hope to raise up a new shield. A shield of Forgiveness, Grace and Love.