As I stood up, I could feel blood streaming down my face. I was 5 and had been standing behind an aluminum horse swing. I had just been told not to stand near the swing and like a typical kid, I did anyway. The results – a gash on my forehead requiring stitches. Interesting fact: when our bodies bleed, a signal is sent from our brain to the blood vessels to try and constrict them to stop the bleeding – initiating the healing process.
Just as our brains recognize the physical wounds, we must also recognize our emotional wounds to begin to heal and ‘stop the bleeding’ of our hearts. Accepting that there is hurt and it’s time to move past it is important to start the healing process. Often, we become so deeply a part of what is embedded in our daily trials that it becomes a part of our identity, dwelling in this place of pain and hurt.
So how do you recognize something is wrong? How do you uncover this pain, name it and claim it?
When my check engine light comes on in the car, it is a warning sign that something is definitely not right and I need to have someone take a look at it. If I fail to acknowledge it and continue to drive my car with the check engine light on, I may be able to get several miles out of it before something happens that may leave me on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck and cost me more money than if I would have had it checked when it first came on. Unlike our cars, we don’t have a flashing warning light that is visible right in front of us. We just feel this emotional pain constantly piercing our hearts.
If you ignore the piercing of your heart, refusing to name it and claim it, the pain continues to grow, binding you and strangling your joy – costing you more, just like ignoring the warning light on your car.
I remember the day after I left my ex-husband, how bruised and broken I felt. It wasn’t until after I left and reality began to settle that I realized how much I was bleeding internally from the open wounds of my marriage. Within an instance my world was shaken up and now I had to name what seemed normal in my life. Without giving it a name, I could not deal with it, eliminate its constant infliction upon me and move past it. I had to know what it was to begin to deal with it, to heal from it.
Until you give it a name, even though you have recognized that you are hurting, you can’t move into the healing phase. Naming it gives you this affirmation that there is a wound that needs to be healed. It provides you a focal point and identification of what you need to heal from.
When you go to the doctor because you have stomach pain or some other ailment that is bothering you, he performs a diagnostic based on your symptoms. Then he tells you the name of the ailment and how he is going to treat it. He can’t treat it unless he knows what he is treating.
This is the same with our spiritual and emotional healing. Until you know what your ailment is, give it a name, you can’t move on in the healing process.
Now that you have given it a name, you have to accept it. It is a part of your life journey but it does not define you as an individual. Accepting the pain allows you to surrender to God to enable Him to walk with you and heal you.
The most vivid image I have of this part of my own healing process is peeling the layers of an onion. This is an image that crops up often in my spiritual direction meetings. Just when I think I am healed, another layer begins to come off. And just like peeling an onion, tears are shed. The more layers I peel, the deeper I go within my heart, uncovering roots of the pain in my life. The grace of peeling that onion is the wisdom gained as I face the deeper pain and accept God’s help. What I have discovered is that the closer to the core, my relationship with God deepens, my dependence on Him strengthens. This is how I know that I am personally healing spiritually.
Are you feeling a piercing in your heart? Have you named it and claimed it? If not, start today so that you can heal within and unravel the chains that have been binding your joy.