I grew up with two incredibly resilient parents. Both grew up deep in the mountains of western North Carolina. Both came from large families (13 siblings for my mom, 9 for my dad). Both grew up in poverty. Both suffered great loss, and both endured and created a good life for themselves. I don’t ever remember either of them talking to me directly about how to deal with hardships, but it was understood. “If life kicks you, kick back and keep moving. Don’t let what you feel affect what you do. No excuses, no feeling sorry for yourself. You may get knocked down, just don’t stay down.” Those thoughts have served me well, and while I am in no way as strong as they were, I am grateful that they raised me the way they did.
There are times, however, when gritting your teeth and pushing forward no longer works. There are some wounds in life that must be attended to, not just endured. Much like a bad cut that gets infected without proper attention, there are wounds to our soul which will never heal properly unless we intentionally address them. In the words of John Eldredge, “An unfelt wound is an unhealed wound.”
So if you have been through a hard time that you just can’t seem to shake, here are some things to consider:
Are You Hurt Or Are You Injured?
One of my favorite coaches in high school was fond of saying, “are you hurt or are you injured?” There’s a big difference in those two. If you are hurt or simply feeling pain, the best thing to do is to keep moving, and to push through. If you are injured, however, it would be foolish to try to continue playing, because it would only make the injury worse. Here’s some question to give serious thought to: Has your broken relationship, betrayal, abusive past, etc… begun to affect the way you see yourself? Does it impact the way you make decisions in life? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you are likely injured and not just hurt.
Wounded Does Not Mean Weak.
It’s not weak to get a broken leg set in a cast, it’s smart. If you have been wounded by life, it’s not weak to stop and get some help. This is more than just having your feelings hurt or not getting your way. A wound that is not attended to can affect your quality of life for years.
There is hope. You do not have to carry around that pain for the rest of your life. Talk to a trusted friend or pastor. If needed, talk to a counselor. You invest time and money into your house and food and clothes, why not invest in the health and well-being of your soul?
If you have been wounded by life or by other people, you are not weak and you are not alone. I hope you will find the courage to get help, and that you will enjoy the freedom that comes as your deepest wounds heal!
Quote from John Eldredge's book Wild at Heart
Photo courtesy of Death To The Stock Photo