I was just reading an “eLetter” put out by a man I trust and follow, Gary Barkalow. He was talking about how many of us (likely, most of us) have been hurt by a ministry or a person in ministry. His take on it was about how it affects our Callings. This got me thinking of the effects of my past ministry experiences on MY life.
Perhaps you were one of the lucky ones and you’ve not been hurt by a church (small “c”) or a person(s) in the Church (capital “C”). I have not been so fortunate. But, I have been fortunate in that I’ve had enough time and people around me that I was able to process my situations, gain perspective, actually learn from them, grow, and in many ways, Heal.
As I sit here reading Gary’s eLetter, I’m thinking about how I have processed my experiences. And, as I said, I’ve processed my feelings/hurt and I truly don’t feel the same bitterness, disappointment, unforgiveness, and anger anymore (**). Still, Gary’s letter nags at me…
There is something deeper going on.
Just because we’ve processed our pain, even healed from it, doesn’t mean the effects are completely gone. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, but in this moment it does somehow. I mean, I know that if someone gets in a car accident they may heal physically, but they may forever lose the full use of a limb. So, if I’m hurt by a ministry or person, it makes sense that while I may have healed from the incident, I may still have residual limitations. And, that leads me to the deeper issue Gary was illuding to… the issue that gets in the way of our destiny.
With each wound comes a message.
I’m sitting here remembering back over my own history. Even with the healing I have found, there are lingering “messages”… I need to take a look at these. As I think of some of what fires off in my head, the hesistations and fears that seem to pop up from time to time, I realize that I’ve swallowed the enemy’s message… several messages, in fact. As I thread them together from my past, here’s some of what I’m uncovering: “Don’t step out in that again.” “It’s not worth it.” “Careful!!” “You’ll fail… you’ll be exposed…” or worse yet, “If you step out… YOU will become a source of pain to those you seek to walk with.” “You’re heart’s in the right place, but you’re going to come up short.” In the end, “You just don’t have what it takes.”
Every one of these “messages” is a result (even if only indirectly) of the wounds I’ve taken. Each message came on the heals of each painful/challenging situation… really subltly… and I bought into them. Somewhere down inside I said, “Yup… its true” and it began a slow, quiet process of shaping (eroding the path to) my destiny.
I’m going out to take a drive and pray… right now. I must invite Jesus into this.
. . .
Ok… I’m back. I went out and sat in my car and talked with God. And, now I’m back and I’ve just re-read what I’ve written. The discovery and insight is still true. But on the heals of it, I’m tempted to delete the “messages” I’ve written down. Its hard to be so open; it feels vulnerable. But, I WON’T delete it! The enemy wants us to isolate ourselves… to hide from each other. I won’t give in to the trick. Besides, the “messages” are not ME… they are the “arrows” being thrown at me. There is no shame.
My prayer time with God was good! I renounced the lies that these messages are. I repented of my agreement with them. I invited Jesus into the middle of it. I invited His healing and restoration and His truth (the opposite of those messages!) And, in every way, I feel ready to move forward again. My trust and hope and strength is again in the right place. (and… I’ll keep going back to God… I’ll keep “resisting the enemy” as often as needed.)
Our futures are under attack. More so from what has happened behind us than what actually lies in front of us. I’m grateful that God not only gives Hope for the future… but He is a redeemer of the past!
As one who stands with you in the battle and walks with you in the journey,
(** Note: Occasionally, I do remember things and the memories can bring back feelings of past frustrations, hurt, disappointment, and even anger; but I’m able to quickly give the situation and its emotions back over to God and be at peace again. I believe this is a normal response and doesn’t mean I’m not healed or haven’t forgiven.)
Note: You can read Gary’s eLetter here: Go to http://www.thenobleheart.com/#/contact/4535414231 and click the Jan 27, 2010 eLetter.