Tag Archives: healing

Let the healing begin

Sometimes you have to write in order to find the lies
The things that you believed to be true
For when they fall on the paper 
They are so clearly false
That the letting go becomes easier 
And you can finally begin to move on
Let the healing begin

Sometimes we share, sometimes we don’t, but still, always we should write 

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2 Years!!!

The craziest thing happened yesterday I got a notification on the WordPress app that my blog IMG_1572has now been up for 2 years. 2 years! From a guy that thought he had nothing to say. It has been quite the ride, a lot has happened in the last 2 years, I have changed a lot & this, my little piece of the internet has been a big part of it. When I started writing here I was coming into a season of awakening. I had gone through a lot of healing in the years leading up to this season and it was now a time to learn what exactly it meant to be me. Through poetry, essays, music & rambling processing my thoughts, emotions & imagination has been wonderfully enjoyable & thraputic.

2 years on, I have healed even more, I’m an ever changing & evolving being. The thing that I most enjoy about today though is I am simply me. I no longer feel a need to try to fit in or pretend I am something other than who I am, I am me, faults & all. One of the challenges at the moment of living in this new place is simply getting used to it. I no longer feel the lingering, lurking threat of depression wanting to return. I no longer expect something to go wrong at any time, I no longer have this underlying anger waiting to surface. I am good, I am loving living life, I am content (in a good way), I am happy. The funny thing is that nothing much has changed externally, yet internally everything has changed, call it a miracle if you like, I am & will always be grateful to Jesus Christ for what He has done in me & where He has brought me to personally.

Unhiddenlight will continue, rest assured (I’m sure you were all worried & stuff) I would imagine it will be much more like year 2 than year 1 though. There will be seasons of much content when I am creatively inspired & lulls when I am not so inspired, or simply too busy.

One of the most enjoyable things I have been able to do in recent memory is coach my daughters soccer team in the fall. Unfortunately that took a lot of time & energy which resulted in a fall off here. Add to that I started playing soccer again in addition to my other extra-curricular activities & my writing has taken a back seat. I probably need to make a commitment to some kind of writing schedule. Not that writing here is mandatory, yet my life & my mind seem to work better when I am exercising my thoughts for something other than work & sports. So lets call that a note to self, plan to write!

Another good thing (to me at least) is that I recently rediscovered the joy of gaming. I have spent an inordinate amount of time playing  Destiny (as expected), I have reconnected with some long time gaming friends though it & made some fun new friends too. One of my favorite hobbies, my “me time” has become truly enjoyable again, it has gone from stale to completely fresh. Instead of something I was just doing to chat with a few friends it has been a nightly event of fun & laughter, the way it should be.

One of my hopes when I first started my blog was that I might start song writing again, that has happened, I penned several songs this last year, some good, some just good practice. Getting around to recording & sharing them is unfortunately once again going painfully slowly. The down / up side of it being a hobby is that I only do it when I am really in the mood. I’m often in the mood to make music, not so much to record it & deal with all the intricacies of making it work as well as possible.

So here we are, my first “real” post in a while, not that my poetry does not count, but you know what I mean, 2 years in, 348 posts, 414 WordPress followers – thank you so much for all your support & for your friendship! I truly appreciate every single one of you!!!

 

Healing, Your Story & The Journey – The JIBTYI Notes; part 7

The original plan was not to do a chapter by chapter break down of Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined (by Jonathan Merritt), although thus far I kind of have, as such I am going to stop and wrap this thing up today.  There are so many great thought provoking pieces in the book from Jesus’ baptism and the question of what it might have symbolized to finding Jesus in sacrilege, dealing with tragedy, fighting the impression of God’s absence in your pain. There is a great piece on the community of the church and what that means, I have written on community many times before and I’m sure I will again.  There is a great section looking at the use of sheep and the shepherd that will radically change your thought process.

It wasn’t my intention to paint myself as some kind of victim when writing my thoughts, all though in some respects I certainly I was. Those incidents were just the things that came to mind, more the things that happened to me to cause my brokenness rather than the choices I made as a result of my brokenness (a revelation previously that cured much of my guilt struggles).  It is written that he who is forgiven much will love much, I think the same is true of the one that is healed much.

The past is the past, for me it is dealt with, it no longer holds a controlling influence in my life. However my story is still my story and if my brokenness or my stupidity can help just one person, then it is not for nothing, this is the reason I share things. While I didn’t really learn anything new about the actual incidents from my past itself when revisiting, finally understanding that God was there with me through it all was worth the price of admission itself.

The great thing is that when we are connected to God, truly in relationship with Him, He can make all kinds of miraculous changes to us. The pain of my past is no longer an anchor that I drag behind me, it is my story, it is my history, but it does not define me. I found healing in Jesus, He brought me to the place and to the people that He wanted to use to help me and it has been an incredible journey. Getting healing is not easy. Facing your demons is a challenge, but when compared to experiencing the pain of being in those challenges it is nothing. Sure it hurts for a while, it is certainly not fun, but if you have survived what caused the wounds, you can certainly survive the healing. Once you survive the healing, that’s it, it is healed, there may be more to work on, but that is it, no longer a festering wound, but a scar that can point to your history. Now you get to face the next challenge of figuring out how to live life without the wounds you have used as a crutch or an excuse for your behavior for so long, that is a whole other kind of challenge right there.

The life of faith is not to be one of an introspective self-help course. There is of course a great need for personal healing in order to be fully free. However if you remain in the introspective process you will become trapped by a religion and not experience the freedom offered by salvation. Instead press forward through your infancy as you become healthy, this may take days or this may take years. However, there will come a time, a clearly appointed time if you listen to the Lord, when it is time for you to move forward into maturity.

For all the wonderful guidance and revelations in JIBTYI, life it always seems to come back to the things I know to do, no matter what book or what sermon. Keep your focus on God, make time for God, and guard your heart (be careful with how you live your life, one wrong step easily leads to another). Do these things, live life well and it will make sense. It may not go the way you would like, but if you are deeply connected to Jesus, if you have His peace, if you can find the joy that Paul writes about, then life works. This to me is the secret to the free life, the life after healing, the life free from the bondage of simply surviving.

It is not always easy to keep pressing, it’s not always easy to keep wanting to. It can be difficult at times to keep your focus on God when life is happening all around you. Sometimes you will forget, sometimes you will royally screw up, but He will use that, He uses all things. Sometimes we have to be reminded (hopefully briefly) or our capacity to fail and of how much we still need to be in relationship with God in order to focus, and really start to make progress. It is important to keep moving forward because any attempt to stay still will result in stagnation, attrition and a general reversal of progress.

The fun part is that this journey looks different for all of us. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. We have to find what it means to be us, what it means to honor God with your life. Striving for some unattainable level of excellence, of righteousness, is not pursuing God, it is seeking to glorify oneself and leads down the path to become a Pharisee. God is glorified when we are authentic, not when we try to pretend to be what we think the world says that we should be.

We are called to a life of honor, a life of love, a life of mercy, a life where our faith is displayed by our deeds. For how can you truly say “I believe” if your faith and belief does not spur you into a way of life that was foreign to you previously. Instead of anger and judgment, offer love and grace. Instead of hiding behind business and stimuli, consciously make the effort to be aware, take time, even a short time to be still. For it is in the stillness that you will be refreshed and directed, not when the volume of your life is so loud that you can hear nothing around you.

When your story does not bring you to your knees anymore, when your relationship with God is healthy, then you are really ready to start using it. That is not to say you could not use it before, but when you reach some undefinable level of maturity, then it is time to really move. Your testimony is your story and the gospel of your life is a story that should be shared. People are desperate for community, deep meaningful relationships. Being authentic and transparent is the way to share your story, not with window dressing or exaggeration, nor recklessly. If you are a believer and want to lead people to Jesus, you should end with the bible, not begin with it, you begin with your story, you begin with a relationship. Most people who do not know Jesus will run from a “religious nut job”, however they will run to a genuine friend, so start with coffee, certainly not judgment. When that friendship allows you to share your story of redemption, that is when the seed is sown to allow it to become their story of redemption.

Now please don’t think that I am trying to somehow minimize the bible, the bible is unspeakably important, it is the written word of God, living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. However the bible is rarely going to draw in a pre-believer, the bible is where you take them after you have built the relationship. We need to be careful not to minimize God to a book, yes it is His book, but He is so much more than the bible, when we limit Him to just the bible we do Him a great disservice.

Community is something that must be built and entered into, not demanded on odd moral grounds. It is the purpose of life, it is the greatest way to bring honor to God, it is not just for us, it is a legacy that will be left.

Community is built on relationships, great relationships are built on mutual respect and compassion. Compassion is the choice, not the obligation, to enter into someone’s world & feel the intensity of their life, to share their pain, to offer a plan for relief. Not because you had to, or it was the right thing to do, but because you need to, you want to, because you love enough, because you are loved enough, because Jesus will always be better than you imagine.

 

The previous posts related  can be found here:

 

The book “review” for Jesus is Better Than You Imagined

Good Gifts – The JIBTYI Notes; part 1

Slow Down – The JIBTYI Notes; part 2

Limiting the Limitless – The JIBTYI Notes; part 3

Getting Mugged and Believing the Impossible – The JIBTYI Notes; Part 4

Bullying and Masks – The JIBTYI Notes; part 5

Waiting and Bartering – The JIBTYI Notes; part 6

 

notes

Broken male culture – Part 5 – Forgiveness

If knowledge is gained through experience, I should be pretty familiar with the subject of forgiveness. I have had much to be forgiven for in my life time & have also had much to forgive. Some connected, some disconnected but all necessary & all small steps towards what I feel is finally some sort of real mental health, peace & stability. That is not to say I have life figured out, but I am fully connected to the One that does. Nor is it to say I don’t continue to do things out of my stupidity that will not require some form of forgiveness again. Sinning out of brokenness is one thing, sinning out of stupidity is another, connected, just as bad in the eyes of God, yet somehow different. The knowledge that I have made a mistake comes so quickly now, without prompting (or desire to know sometimes), I just know.

I’ve heard it said that this is because once we become a new creation in Christ, sin is no longer our nature, we are no longer sinners by nature. That does not mean we do not sin, but as I’m sure you know, there is that immediate knowledge that comes from inside letting you know you did something that was not good for you to do. A lot of the time it is something that used to bring you pleasure with no remorse, not that same act is contrary to your very nature. This allows me to be in a place to rectify the errors of my ways much quicker than in the past, where it could be many, many days, weeks or even years before I even realized what was causing an issue.

So I suppose this is where I could tell you about how important it is to forgive people, to forgive yourself, to restore relationships, especially a right relationship with the Lord. I could tell you that, but you already know it, deep inside you know it. What I want to do is to look at what exactly forgiveness is, what I know of it & what the bible says about it. Maybe take a little look at why people are so afraid of it. It seems to me that sometimes people become so numb to their constant pain that the thought of a brief, if worse pain, that leads to freedom from pain all together is not a choice that is easily made.

Sometimes you are so numb to the truth, that you think everything is ok, that there is nothing to deal with. This is what happens when we develop coping mechanisms to avoid our pain, we live in these masks, with these lies long enough, that we forget that they are not correct. It is at this point that our core identity becomes based around a lie, our coping mechanisms, our life. We feel like we can handle the mess that is life because, hey that’s just the way life is. The good news however is that life does not have to be that way.

What is forgiveness really? It is not saying something is ok. Forgiveness is like a wound that was once deep but had been allowed to heal. This wound has been treated. Now it is just a scar. Each day you think less and less about the scar. You can look at it and remember something that was once very painful; but as you look at the scar, you know that the wound itself is only a memory. This is forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not about trying to be a nice person, or trying to do the right thing. When we really forgive people, we release any feeling that they owe us for the wrong done. We are the ones to release the wrong.

When I see the wrong done to me by another as their problem, not mine, and my pain as my problem not theirs, I have forgiven. When I forgive I let go of control. When I forgive I let go of blame. When I forgive I choose to not hold you responsible for me and to not hold myself responsible for you.

You say, well that all sounds great, but I can’t do it, I can’t forgive them. Even if I know what it really means, I just can’t do it. Well no, you probably can’t, but through Christ you can. Through the power of His spirit that lives within you, you can, because its not you doing it, it’s Him. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, then my friend, that is where all this begins, if this is on your heart, then right now is the perfect time to confess your sins to Him, and accept Him as your Lord and savior. In the eyes of God, the wages of sin are death. However because He loved you so much, He came to earth, fully human and paid the price for your sins, my sins, anyone who will accept Him, sacrificially in our place. You see, when you experience the love of God your capacity to love others grows. This allows you to forgive the seemingly unforgivable.

Jesus did all this (in covenant) for you (me, everybody). He surrendered his rights & assumed responsibility for our sins. He could have called down an army of 10,000 angels, but instead he made a covenant with us through love.

Not interested? Think life is just fine running along with your anger and bitterness? Did you ever wonder where that anger comes from? Where the resentment comes from? That bitterness that makes the happy moments oh so brief and the rest of life a miserable grind? It comes from unforgiveness. When you have been hurt, when you have been offended, when you have been abused, it is natural to feel pain, anger, resentment etc.

Forgiving people, even the seemingly unforgivable, is not handing a license for someone to hurt you again. Forgiveness is not an agreement between two people, it is a decision of the will to remove the hold that situation had over your life. To let go. A lot of the time it will not be a face to face situation, there is a good chance other person doesn’t even know that you are mad at them that they hurt you. Even if they do, this is not about them, this is about you and you receiving the freedom that God wants for you in your life.

Unforgiveness is like eating rat poison & hoping it will hurt someone else. Don’t listen to anyone that says you should hold a grudge the rest of your life, that message is from the devil. Tell the devil to go to hell, God wants intimacy with you, do not settle for less than friendship with Jesus. If you are so caught up in your pain, you will never get to that place of true intimacy with God.

That right there, the fear of the Lord should be the overriding motivation to forgive others. The fear of the Lord is not the fear of punishment by the Lord, it is the fear or not being with the Lord. The fear of losing His guiding hand, His loving discipline, His unending grace. The fear of not knowing the Lord, is the only fear we should ever carry, not the fear of what will happen if I surrender my anger and resentment for the things that have happened in my past. The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom.

I said I was going to involve the bible in this didn’t I? Well, here are a few of my favorite verses on forgiveness. Hopefully they will speak to you as they have done to me.

Luke 11:2-4  New International Version (NIV)

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation

 

Luke 17:3-5   New International Version (NIV)

So watch yourselves.

“If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

Luke 23:32-34 New International Version (NIV)

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Luke 6:37-38 New International Version (NIV)

Judging Others

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Matthew 18:21-35  New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

 

I really could have just stopped with the Lord’s prayer, forgive us as we forgive others, but I like scripture so I gave you some extras. That says it all though, I’m sure we have all payed the Lords prayer at some point, think about it, we are asking our Father to forgive us, just as we forgive others. If we are withholding forgiveness, then how can we expect to be forgiven?

 

Now, the main focus of this series has been men and what I call broken male culture. However this subject, forgiveness, like much of the rest is completely applicable to all. I just believe that if we could empower men to get past their hurt, to get past their blocked emotions and to start working on getting healthy. Then I think we would see a transformed world.

Can we change the world of broken male culture? I believe so, but it will be slow small steps, one man at a time, I’ll be working on me, with the guiding hand of the Trinity. Hopefully as my light begins to shine ever brighter, it will encourage others to light their lamp. Maybe one day instead of broken male culture, we will be talking about the light of the city of the side of the hill that cannot be ignored.

 

 

 

I’d love to pretend this is all my own work, but much of what I have learned on this subject has come from the below wonderful people

Pastor Toby Slough – the senior pastor at Cross Timbers Community Church

Pastor Alan Smith – from Gateway

Graham Cooke – Brilliant publishing, look him up on youtube & twitter (and probably other places too)

Making Peace With Your Past – a 12 week course I took that was the true genesis of my understanding of forgiveness and what it meant in my life

 

Cavernous Valleys

Cavernous valleys

Rolling thunder

Deserted solace

Emptiness overflowing

 

How is it so easy to consistently forget

Yet so difficult to consistently remember

That I do not walk alone

There is hope in this hopelessness

 

There is a redemptive guide

Who seeks to heal me

Just as he seeks to use me to heal others

Oh father, where art thou

 

In the midst of such struggle

Why do I forget you are there?

Even though I know it is you that carries me over the hot coals

That is how I feel the heat, yet do not suffer its punishment and wrath

 

Oh glorious father

Author of love

Take me now into your redemptive glory

Fill me afresh with life and spirit

 

Make me feel alive a new once more, for your glory

Let me sing to all the world

Of your amazing grace

Of how great though art

For it is well with my soul

Therapy – Just not enough

Therapy; talking it through

Good advice, a nice chat

Positive thinking

Moving on

 

Nice ideas, yet ultimately flawed

There is only one path to true healing

There is only one way to true change

Nothing, but the blood of Jesus

 

Kingdom principles, applied to the matrix

Effective guidelines, but

Ridiculously underused, like a Ferrari doing 20mph

The Holy Spirit is who you seek

 

Spirit without measure, Spirit of truth

Counselor, helper, teacher, the great gift,

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

The connection point to the Father & the Son

 

Ask & you shall receive

Seek & you shall find

Knock & the door will be opened

He is there for you, He is waiting, for you to be ready

 

His grace is just as much for you, as it is for me

 

 

 

 

An infatuation with intoxication

I will build a wall

I will build a wall to keep you out

You will not hurt me

No one will hurt me

Inside my wall I will hide

I will hide while no one hurts me

Instead I will hurt myself

I will lose myself

I will anesthetize

I will lose myself to an infatuation with intoxication

 

It is a dangerous game to play

The odds at stake, the potential loss

Especially in the darkness

All of a sudden, I’m under attack

The walls are coming down

What is that?

Daylight?

I think I remember you

What have I done?

Where have I been?

Oh dear, am I beyond repair?

 

A new start, a new beginning

A fresh perspective, still it’s not enough

I cannot be so vulnerable

I must have protection

Should I return & rebuild the walls?

Then You came and rescued me

You showed me that it didn’t have to be this way

You comforted me, you healed me

You showed me the way

Now I lose myself to a different intoxication

Now I live to get lost to

An infatuation with Holy Spirit intoxication

 

Much more difficult to explore

Just as dangerous but in a different way

So hard to maintain, so fleeting, yet so present

Always available, seemingly impossible to claim

Take me to those places of dancing angels

Fill my life with worth

Help me see the beautiful

Show me how to see things

the way they were made to be seen

Show me how to feel things

Without fear of the way they were made to be felt

 

 

Psalm 3 – 3:3

But you, Lord, are a shield that protects me; you are my glory and the one who restores me.