Rip Off the Bandage

Have you ever thought a wound was fully healed, but it really wasn’t? I’ve examined my boo-boos, touched them gently, and even poked at them to ensure they are healed. Then I brushed against something and reinjured the wound, taking the healing process back to ground zero.

There are some things in my past that I fully believed I had moved beyond, only to be surprised to find an open wound that hurt worse than the original injury.

Such was my predicament yesterday. I was challenged to identify what things needed to change in my life. The first two were easy-peasy, and both are already in motion. Then the floodgates opened and I was dazed by the deluge of things that were wrong in my life. The catch? They weren’t the words of God. They were lies. Lies I had been told all of my life. Lies from others. Lies from myself.

When I recognized this self-sabotaging behavior and began to combat each lie with truth from God’s Word, I was left with a realization that was not easy to swallow: my lack of vulnerability in ALL areas of my life has prevented full healing.

I can share a lot of things openly and honestly, but what has come to light is my unwillingness to be completely vulnerable in my relationships. Walls that were built years ago to keep people at a safe distance are still intact.

The sad part is that I truly thought I was being vulnerable – until friends recently spoke truth over me and told me I need to be vulnerable. My reaction to that word speaks more truth. As soon as they told me I needed to be vulnerable, my eyes got huge, tears popped up, and I began to shake in fear. No. Not fear. Terror. Panic. Hello, fight or flight!

As I reflected upon those conversations, I realized that was a pretty odd reaction from someone who is fully vulnerable. Interesting. Back to square one.

One of the friends who spoke to me about vulnerability also told me that healing was occurring, but I had to let it happen. At the time, I struggled to understand what that meant because a lot of healing has happened. Then yesterday happened and it clicked. I need to be vulnerable and open in order to heal from past hurts.

Does that mean I will never be hurt by people? Nope. It doesn’t even mean I won’t hurt other people who are vulnerable. What it means is that I have to expose my wounds to the God and others so that they can be fully healed.

Think about a scratch covered by a bandage. If you leave the bandage on long term, the skin never strengthens because everything (including moisture and bacteria) becomes trapped underneath the bandage. If I keep wounds hidden, they will always be easily reinjured because they do not fully heal. I can even be injured in different ways, such as through infection because the darkness becomes a breeding ground for all things icky. But, if we rip off that bandage and allow the air and light to touch the wound, the wound closes and heals completely. Sometimes not even a trace of the original wound remains.

I believe there is a lesson in every experience. My lesson here is this: regardless of how far I have come and how much I have grown (and I have grown tremendously), I will never stop growing until I see Jesus face to face. Until that time, I will heal, reinjure, heal again, repeat on an infinite loop, but the layers of healing will deepen each time I surrender what I am holding to God.

I can sit here listening to the lies, or I can listen to truths. I can choose to keep growing, or I can become stagnant in my faith. I can decide to leave my comfort zone, or I can live a shell of a life within that small area. I can walk into my purpose, or I can dig my heels in where I am now. The choices are mine to make.

*********

“And I will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh,”
Ezekiel 11:19 HCSB

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
James 1:2‭-‬5 NIV

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