This past week my dog became fixated with something on his tail. We noticed that he would constantly try to lick or chew on one spot. After many failed attempts to redirect and try to keep him from doing it, the spot kept getting worse. We figured he got bit or stung by something, so we decided to take him to the vet. We were right, some type of bee or bug had gotten to him.
A few medications later and a week of wearing a cone to keep him from messing with it, we are on the right track to making sure it heals properly. He is less than thrilled to wear the cone, but even though he doesn’t understand why and guilts us with his sad puppy eyes, we understand that it is for his benefit in the long run. As frustrated as I got with him when he would keep trying to lick and bite at the wound, I knew he was trying to do something that felt good and healing in the moment, but was only leading to more long term damage.
As I reflected on my frustration with my dog and having to look at his sad, puppy eyes staring into my soul wondering why I would put this horrible cone around his head, I felt convicted. I do the same thing. I treat my wounds the exact same way.
“Well, it feels ok right now, so I guess it has healed.”
“If I just ignore it long enough, it will go away.”
“I can just deal with it on my own and get over it.”
Why do I approach my pain in this way? Well here are a few reasons I have found to be true for myself.
I want the easy and fast fix. I want my pain gone immediately. Have you ever heard the phrase “You can’t put a band-aid over a bullet hole.” It’s true, but so often with deep hurt and wounds, we try to the quick and easy fix. We want the instant relief, but what if it means that instant relief is only going to cause deeper pain in the long run?
I ignore it. I let it sit there open, hoping that time will eventually heal it. But, because I haven’t taken the necessary steps to heal it properly, something comes along and irritates it or re-opens it, and causes further sometimes deeper damage.
I don’t want anyone else to see my wounds. I bury them because I want to keep up my façade that everything is happy and easy. But that’s not true. Life can be difficult, we all have scrapes, bruises and wounds. Dealing with pain in isolation is hard and does not help in healing
It’s tough. We all have wounds. Some are deeper than others. Some irritate and agitate more than others. The thing with wounds is that if we don’t treat and care for them properly, they are only going to get worse. Healing is a process, it can be uncomfortable and painful in itself, but it takes effort and a commitment to proper healing.
How do we begin the healing process?
So where do we start?
Here are a few things that have helped me deal with pain or how I have seen others deal with theirs.
First things first, we have to acknowledge our wounds. Just because you ignore it does not mean it is not there. It is there and it may take some digging to get to the root of it, but that helps us identify where our hurt began. Once we can identify what is going on, we can take action.
Start the journey. It is never too late to begin to allow your wounds to heal. Take a step toward healing. This could be a number of things and look different depending on the type of wound, but here are a few suggestions.
- Find the necessary tools to aide in your healing. This could be seeking out a professional or counselor to help guide you in the healing process. They have been given the training and tools to walk alongside you through the process.
- Surround yourself with a community and people that you trust who will encourage you, support you, restore you and will help you stay accountable.
- Cling to the Holy Spirit. You are not alone in this. Ask God for wisdom, for help, for guidance and to help you heal. He is our ultimate healer after all.
Most importantly, remember Jesus. Remind yourself of the grace, love and forgiveness that He has given you. Ultimately, we have been healed. His wounds, His death and the punishment that He bore was all so that we can enter the eternal glory with Him. We have been freed from the bondage of sin and in a world full of hurt and pain, we have hope. We cling to that hope and love.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”1 Peter 2:21-25
Healing is a process. It’s not easy and it takes time, energy and work. It can be really hard to start, even scary in some ways, but it’s necessary to let our wounds heal properly. Instead of ignoring our wounds or running to the fast, cheap, temporary dulling or fixing of the wound, let’s invest in real and purposeful healing.