Every person who walks planet earth has been wounded. Some more than others. And pain has a way of sticking with us and affecting our relationships with others if we aren’t intentional about getting past it.
I’ve noticed how past pain in my life can creep up and make me:
- insecure in my marriage when my husband has given me no reason to be.
- hesitant to trust others when they have done nothing to undermine my trust.
- doubt God’s love, forgiveness, or provision when His track record has given me no reason to doubt Him at all.
But you and I don’t have to remain stuck in the baggage from our past or let our pain impact our present. In my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I point out 10 steps to healing and wholeness that can help anyone – male or female – live like a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17) rather than the old, dysfunctional wounded people that the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that we are.
Here are just 5 of those steps to overcome the hurts in your life so they don’t continue to affect how you live and relate to others:
- Realize there’s a reason for your pain
I, too, remember asking God “why” in the wake of my parents’ divorce and the discovery of my father’s closet alcoholism for more than two decades. Being raised in the church, I didn’t expect to go through something like that. And I certainly couldn’t think of a good reason that it happened.
It wasn’t until I came upon a passage of Scripture that I realized I might never understand the “why” and that’s okay. In Isaiah 55:8-11, we read:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord…” (verse 8).
I’ve learned it isn’t so important that we understand WHY we are hurting, but it is essential that we trust the One who, in His love, is allowing that hurt to happen. That is the beginning of surrender and trust in a God who can redeem all things. And surrender is the beginning of healing.
- Reshape your understanding of God through Scripture
When we are hurting, we are often believing something about God that isn’t true.
Sometimes we believe God is punishing us or is ignoring us out of His anger. When we look to Scripture to see who God really is and grab hold of that truth, it changes our lives.
Is it possible through your hurts and heartaches, that you’ve perceived God as different than He actually is? Maybe you haven’t done that intentionally. Maybe, you just put a face on Him that resembles someone who has hurt you. But God is not like a distant father you had difficulty approaching, or a critical mother whom you could never please, or an abusive spouse whom you couldn’t trust, or a controlling boss whom you learned to resent. Let God heal you of the hurt you’ve experienced by getting to know Him as He really is. As Scripture says He is.
John 8:32 says “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
- Reject the lie that God didn’t care
We often see the disaster in front of us, we experience the pain, but we don’t see the rescue that takes place on our behalf. That makes us believe the lie that God wasn’t there or that He didn’t care about the pain we experienced.
God promised in His Word that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). His Word also says that no matter where we go, He is with us (Psalm 139:7-11). That means He has been with you in everything you’ve faced. Maybe you just don’t remember the sudden turn of events in which something worse could’ve happened, but didn’t. Maybe you don’t recall that He was protecting you in spite of the pain.
In Psalm 71:15 the Psalmist sings of God’s “saving acts all day long” though he knows not how to relate them all (NIV). How often has God protected you from something far worse that could’ve happened but didn’t? Reject the lie that He didn’t care. He was very likely working a rescue that you never even realized took place.
- Re-examine the healing power of the cross
I’ve known several women who believe that although God is forgiving, He could never forgive them for certain things they’ve done. But you are no exception to the healing power of the cross.
Psalm 103:12 tells us:
“As far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
And in Isaiah 53 :4-5 we are told:
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
Notice that every verse in Isaiah 53 referring to the healing that Christ offers us from the cross is past tense – even though it was a prophecy in the Old Testament about what was to come through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Even though Christ’s death for us was still future, at the time it was written, God saw our healing, through Christ’s death, as already done.
If you are thinking you will never be healed then maybe you have never repented and asked Jesus to cover you with His life and death and blood. Because once He has, Your Heavenly Father sees you as already healed and complete in Him.
- Receive your new identity
Many of us stay stuck in our past – claiming “that’s just the way I am” – because we continue to see ourselves as the wounded little girl or the rejected, unwanted little boy. But when we know Christ, that’s not who we are anymore.
Scripture says when you are in Christ Jesus you are His child (John 1:12), His friend (John 15:15), a saint (Ephesians 1:1), forgiven (Colossians 1:14), complete (Colossians 2:10), secure (Romans 8:1-2; Hebrews 13:5), and unconditionally loved (Romans 8:35-39), just to name a few.
When I find myself excusing my behavior because of past issues or believing I will always be hurt, I must remind myself again that Christ died for me to redeem “the way I am” so He can make me more like Him.
Watch for healing steps 6-10 in next week’s blog. In the meantime, which of these do you most need to focus on right now? Let me know in the comment section below and I’ll be praying God’s healing over your life.