Negative memories, also referred to as soul injuries or wounds, are caused by traumatic events in which one of our core needs are not met. Healing this type of injury requires another event to occur that corrects the injury. Let me use an example from the natural world to illustrate.
When my daughter was six she fell out of her bed. A natural response when falling is to put out your arm to break the fall, which she did and her wrist broke. This traumatic event resulted in injury that, left untreated, would have crippled her arm for the rest of her life. In order for her arm to heal properly she needed to experience a corrective event. I rushed her to the hospital where her arm was splinted and iced until we could see the orthopedic doctor. After examining her arm, the doctor administered anesthesia –traumatic for me– and waited for it to take effect.
When her arm was ready, the doctor came back in and adjusted the break. It was traumatic to watch, but this second event brought healing. She wore a cast for six weeks and when the cast came off her arm was as good as new. At least to look at it from the outside. I’m guessing an X-ray would show a small seam where her arm was broken and is now healed.
I mentioned core needs in an earlier post but God has created us with certain innate needs. As real as our need for oxygen, water and food we have soul needs. We need to know that we belong and that we are unconditionally loved; we need to know we are physically and emotionally safe and secure; we need to be understood; we need to have purpose and we need to know that we are significant. When one of these needs goes unmet, we experience soul wounding.
Most wounds occur in early childhood in relationships with significant adults (parents, grandparents, uncles/aunts, teachers, etc). More important than the actual event is the belief that forms at the time of wounding. (Wounding can occur at any time in life but many wounds happen long before adulthood. Our responses in adulthood are informed by the beliefs established in childhood.) For instance, if a child is continually told she won’t amount to anything a false belief forms that she is worthless (lacking significance) or that she needs to perform to be loved (lacking unconditional love). This belief becomes a part of who she is and she unconsciously carries it into her adult life.
As with a physical wound, soul wounds cause pain. In order to quiet the pain, a person adopts dysfunctional behaviors. For many years I believed the lie that I was not enough. I was unacceptable. I turned to religion to quiet the pain. I became a stellar good person. I didn’t cause trouble; I read, I studied, I practiced. And then I developed the keen skill of judgment. Judgment against the people around me that could or should be doing better. I was the older son (see the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15). I served never taking advantage of the Father and shaking my head in disgust when the younger son came home. I was miserable.
I was also a people pleaser. In an attempt to be loved and significant, I tried to be what others wanted–or at least what I perceived they wanted. It is a tumultuous way to live and ultimately, not fulfilling at all. I didn’t feel loved or significant, only increasingly lacking and always falling behind others.
It was only when I began to look inside at what I believed about myself and about God that my soul needs were met. I allowed God to meet me in the events of my life and he showed me the truth. Sometimes truth came through words or pictures; sometimes it was through dreams. It has been a long process but so worth the effort. Songs speak so much truth to me and “You Say” by Lauren Daigle tells my story well.
If you are ready to find healing from soul wounds, I highly recommend finding a qualified prayer counselor. To explore the process more check out Healing Care Ministries International or healingcare.org. Terry Wardle has written numerous excellent books that explain the process of wounding and healing. I highly recommend starting with “Wounded.”
As humans, we avoid exposing our brokenness. We want to hide our cracks and pretend everything is fine. But there is so much beauty in embracing our brokenness and allowing new life to grow in its place. Your journey to freedom only impacts your life here on earth; it makes no difference for eternity. When we join Jesus in heaven all things will be made new. There will be no more sadness or crying or dysfunction or cracks. We will be perfect just as he is perfect. But Jesus intends for us to live a full life here on earth. My dysfunctional behavior kept me captive to negative thinking, enslaved to competitive living. It is for that reason I sought soul healing. What do you want to do?
My mind is drawn to Isaiah 61:1-3 where it says:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come and with it the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
In the gospel of Luke (4:18-20), Jesus goes into the temple and he is asked to read the scriptures. He chooses this passage and when he finishes he sits down and says, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day.” In other words, Jesus came to comfort the brokenhearted, set the captives free and prisoners released. Wow! Now is the day of God’s favor and I’m so excited to participate in it. Won’t you join me? It’s never too late to start the journey.
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.