It leaves us feeling unwanted; inadequate; unloved. Those thoughts come creeping in from time to time, taking over and taking up residence in our heart. I try to ignore it. I keep myself busy so I don’t have to acknowledge the sting. I pretend it’s not a big deal.
After all…everybody feels that way sometimes.
But just because we all feel it, doesn’t mean it’s right.
Sometimes I wonder if it will ever be different. Will I ever have confidence in my worth? Will there be a day where I can finally rest in His love and not relentlessly long for the approval of others? Will I be able to get past the fear, rejection, and disappointment?
Will I ever be able to move on?
I stared out the window, watching the rain, continuing to process words I knew were true. I was still figuring out how to begin acting like they were true. I so badly wanted to fix it – fix me, fix my insecurity. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know if I could.
Broken hearts don’t easily mend, no matter if they’re broken by another person, the weight of this world, or our own monsters clinging to our back. Most of the time, we can’t do anything about it. We cannot control how, if, when, or who will hurt us. We cannot always control how we hurt ourselves after we choose to believe lies. We hold onto those lies like playing with matches, somehow thinking we’ll be the exception to the rule that says 100% of fire-players get burned.
We strike when we seek and demand approval.
We strike when we allow someone else’s opinion to define us.
We strike when we look back at ourselves in the mirror and wonder what others will think of us – whether or not they’ll like me, whether or not they’ll accept me, whether or not they’ll love me.
Enamored by the flame. Totally unprepared for what comes next.
And it feels like a cruel game, because our hearts won’t ever fully mend this side of Heaven. We are so broken, living in a fallen world, and the hope of healing is a promise of eternity.
People love imperfectly. We make mistakes in our relationships with others. We fail to fill their hearts, because it’s not something we were ever meant to do.
So hearts break.
That’s when I began to wonder; maybe, we have it all wrong. Maybe the true sign of strength and security isn’t the ability to move on like nothing ever happened – like we never had been burned.
My heart breathed a sigh of relief when I finally said it out loud. I pulled my eyes away from the rain falling outside, feeling like a weight had been lifted.
It’s not about moving on. Sometimes it’s not even possible or reasonable to expect that from ourselves. We cannot pretend the hurt never happened.
Instead, I want to focus on moving forward, despite the hurts and burns and wounds from the past.
I think a lot of us believe we have “moved on” from certain hurts. But then something happens, the wound begins to burn all over again, and we’re left figuring out where to go. We put pressure on ourselves because we think we should be “okay,” not even really knowing what that means. The closet thing we can find is acting like those hurt feelings were never there. We have to forget, and not appear damaged to the next person that comes along.
But pretending stunts our growth. It ignores the real problem. And I don’t want to be stuck here.
I want to move forward.
Toward healing. Toward restoration. Toward Truth.
I won’t achieve total healing while I’m on this earth. But the purpose of my life was never to skip over experiencing pain. An easy life was never guaranteed. In fact, we’re told to expect the very opposite.
Still, I know there is hope.
It seems like we spend most of our time trying to fix those burns by striking more matches. I desire approval, so I’ll seek more. I desire love, so I’ll keep trying to prove my worth.
We will never find a way out until we realize He has set us free. We don’t have to fight for approval. We don’t have to seek attention. We don’t have to persuade the world we are worthy of love.
But we do and we will. We are sinful people, looking to be filled by all the wrong things. When we find ourselves there again and again, I hope we’ll learn to drop the matches, put out the flames, and run back to the only One who can soothe the hurt.
From time to time, the bandage of “being okay” is ripped off, and the wounds once again become exposed. I try to fight back.
It hurts so much and I don’t want to feel it. I don’t want to be reminded of all the moments that have eaten away at my heart. I can’t forget the cruel words or the glances that told me I don’t belong.
He doesn’t expose the wounds to remind us how broken we are or put our burns to shame. He is coming near, reminding us He is here. And He washes the wounds. He pulls us into His lap, draws us close, and begins His work of reversing every wrong thing done against us – the lies we were told and the lies we told ourselves. He does not let the world win. He has the ultimate weapon: His truth.
It stings, and I look for a place where I can run away. But after a while, it stings less and less. The pain of the burns begins to ease. They start to heal. He lays His pierced hands on my wounded heart – He will not leave me in this place.
Wounds healing wounds.
Divine wounds healing wounds of brokenness. What a beautiful picture of redemption.
Redemption that moves us forward.
Then, when He has refocused our sight, we can look back on the past and not be overwhelmed by its weight. He makes us stronger. He makes us braver. He makes us whole.
We can carry what we’ve learned and take a step forward. The wounds from the past are propelling us toward our future, no longer holding us back. All of them are being worked together for our good. They will not have the final say.