After applying an application of Neosporin to my upper arm, I affixed yet another bandage over my slow-to-heal wound and wondered.
When will this blasted wound heal???
Just over three weeks ago, I was preparing a yummy batch of cream of potato soup in an Instapot. While the air pressure was building in the container, I reached over the Instapot to take hold of a large spoon. Just as I extended my arm, I bumped the release valve and a blistering stream of air blasted out of the Instapot.
The steam seared through my clothing.
I knew the steam’s force had blistered through my clothing and penetrated probably not just one skin layer, but two of my underarm.
Sure enough, when I examined the area, I knew I would need to take special care of the angry, flaming-red, nickel-sized spot on my arm. And I have. Day upon day, week upon week, it’s taken time for my wounded arm to heal.
I haven’t made a big deal about my injury. In fact, if you’ve been with me during the past three weeks, you’d probably not even know that I was hurting. My arm has been very sore. Gratefully though, the pain is lessening. I’m dealing with an itchy discomfort now. And that’s a positive, healing sign that my wound is finally healing and turning into a scar.
As I’ve reflected upon my hidden wound, it’s caused me to consider the other types of hidden wounds we often carry. These are the types of wounds that we really don’t talk about with others. We keep our inner struggles to ourselves, don’t we? And since there is a disconnect, few even know to ask about what may be hurting us under the layers of the “We’re just fine” life we appear to be living.
Why don’t they know?
Why don’t they ask?
Why don’t they look beyond the surface of things?
Why don’t we share that we are hurting and struggling?
I believe it’s because every single one of us carries something that is emotionally, physically, and spiritually wounding to our souls. We are the walking wounded and sometimes our pain dwarfs our ability to see the hurt in others. We don’t talk like that with one another – we keep people at arm’s length because of our self-protective tendencies.
My wound was an accidental, self-inflicted sort.
I never intended to hurt myself.
But, I did.
I’m dealing with it. Soon, my arm will come right, though. And I’ll be left with a nickel-sized scar on my underarm. This type of wound isn’t one that left any emotional or spiritual damage – thank goodness. So, I’ll get over it. Pretty easily.
Other wounds though, the ones that remind us that we have been pierced, gashed and broken, don’t heal up so quickly.
What kinds of wounding am I thinking of? Here’s a bit of a list:
A thoughtless word slits open an area of vulnerability.
Overlooked and discounted by the ‘in-crowd’ – again – we wonder if we will ever be one of the ‘in’ people.
Considered an afterthought – remembered at the last minute, almost like a too-little-too-late-kind-of-feeling-to-make-us-feel-better-but-it-sure- doesn’t – we feel insignificant.
Forgotten by those we love most, we cry.
Harsh condemnation and ridicule knock us off balance.
Bitterness and animosity make our heart grow ill.
Insecurity and fear paralyze us from making any move forward in life.
Disappointment leaves us deflated and unfulfilled
Betrayal harnesses our hearts and minds to distrust and disbelief.
Disunity hinders our impact.
Broken relationships that show no evidence of reconciliation sadden us.
Judgment and chastisement over our life choices discourage us.
Mean-spirited, divisive criticism shocks and stuns us.
The death of a loved one and the emotions that follow overwhelm us, too.
Other injuries are physical, of course. There are sprains, breaks, stresses, and fractures. Spasms, swelling, strains, and muscle pulls lay us flat. Then there are the losses of sight, of hearing and of ability. Such injuries occur accidentally, while physical realities come with age – lots of age. We are left once again wondering who we are, what happened to us, and what in the world does the future hold for us now.
Each of these abrasions, injuries, and even accidents have the potential to cut deep and to inflict significant pain. There is real suffering. And just like my Instapot burn, each loss, hurt, and injury of the soul needs to be nursed to healing and new life. Because if we don’t heal well, we are left with loss of identity, loss of belonging, loss of purpose and loss of significance.
So, what do we do?
First, as Christ followers, we stop and reflect upon who we are in Jesus Christ. In Christ, our identity, our purpose, our significance, and our hope are secure. We have been established, anointed and sealed by God and it is because of our position in Christ, that we can trust Jesus with our hurts, our fears, our losses, and our brokenness. The evil one wants us to believe that we are alone and disconnected in our pain. The evil one taunts us with thoughts that our God doesn’t know what we are dealing with, doesn’t care about us, and is not able to help us at our point of need.
The truth of the matter is that we are hidden with Christ in God. There is no place that we can go that our God cannot reach down from the Heavenly realms to love us, to care for us, and to assist us. In Christ, we have been brought near to God and we are in, in, in! Our worth is sure. Our hope is certain.
Instead of focusing upon our hurt and loss, we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ and receive his kindness, his peace, and his healing.
Second, we resolve not to live our lives in isolation, distrust, or self-dependence. I didn’t share about my burn, because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. However, I’ve been dealing with this burn for over three weeks! Sheesh! If I had shared more about my injury, perhaps I could have benefited from the prayers and encouragement of others. I didn’t go to a doctor about it because I don’t have a doctor here. I could have asked for some direction on that. I didn’t. I chose to do this healing thing on my own. It’s working out, but perhaps I delayed my healing because I chose to care for myself, by myself.
I’m not saying that we tell everyone about what is happening inside our hearts, under the surface. Honestly, some people will not get what we are even saying – because they haven’t lived into that kind of pain (yet). Yet, that doesn’t mean that caring, authentic, loving people aren’t available for you. The kind of people that walk-your-walk and talk-your-talk and will embrace you, love you, and accept you right where you are – now.
Too many of us are disconnected. We’re lonely. We’re unsure. We’re in pain. We feel like it’s up to us to figure out this crazy thing we call life. And maybe like me, we’ve been ashamed and embarrassed to say that we burned ourselves and got ourselves into our predicament in the first place.
You know what, though?
The longer I’ve been at this thing called life, the more that I’ve learned that we’ve all messed up – more than once – and because of that, we have boatloads of love and grace to give.
So, my friend.
Are you hurting?
Are you feeling alone?
Do you feel like you’ve been left out of the ‘in’ crowd?
Are you struggling with guilt and shame?
Are you feeling like you are an after-thought?
Do you feel insignificant?
Or something else?
I’m writing this out because I’ve felt all of this cruddy stuff and more at various junctures in my life. An Instapot burn blasted these painful remembrances to the surface. I’m not going to let any of these hurts and losses percolate, indefinitely. I’ve resolved to give my pain to Christ. I choose to receive His glorious grace and receive it without any restriction and be healed.
I’m writing this out to remind myself that I am not alone. I choose not to disconnect myself from those I love. So, I burned myself. It hurts. I’m dealing with it. I could have done better. It’s embarrassing. But it is what it is. And I am going to be okay.
And you are, too.
If you are in a similar state, share with someone. If you know me personally, send me a note by email or Messenger. I’ll pray with you and I’ll love you. Because I want you to know you are not alone. You are loved and you matter.
With love always,
Here’s another bit of encouragement for you, my friend: