As a person who has moved more than 25 times in my life, I have come to understand the life lesson “You can’t run away from pain.” When we move or change locations, fill our lives with the new, these external changes won’t heal inner wounds.
If you are not happy where you are, you won’t be happy moving somewhere else. The things you carry in your heart go with you. Understandably, you might feel better for a while, setting up your new place, filling your life with new things, but geography won’t change the root causes of incredible grief, old hurts, or unhappiness.
Consequently, we find ourselves in a new place with the same hurts.
External change won’t heal our inner wounds.
Loss and our feelings about it can’t be nullified by working harder either. Grief can’t be covered up with financial gain. Acquiring money or wealth is a distractor, but it will not fill the emptiness that comes with loss. True loss hurts and no amount of busy will fix it. No amount of substitute in the way of sex, drugs, or drinking to excess will remove it either. You may be able to cover it up for a while, but it is still there. It will still be there the next day and the next.
Healing that needs to take place comes over time and in different ways for each person, but running from trauma will not make it go away.
Getting over trauma, death, loss, or grief is a process and that process is an internal one. Inner wounds need inner work.
So what do we do? If we can’t get away from pain, how do we deal with it or get rid of it?
Humbly, we have to acknowledge the presence of pain and hurt in the first place.
Are you still grieving a loss or a wound? Have you just started grieving? Give yourself room to grieve. Let yourself feel it and consider its affect on your life.
You might not realize what the real grief or pain is. Your hurt could be hidden but comes out in harmful ways. For instance, if you are the victim of trauma, you may need counseling to help overcome unhealthy reactions like addiction or avoidance.
When I was younger and a survivor of several great traumas, I didn’t know I was angry on the inside. At first, I seemed to have recovered well, but over the years an inexplicable rage grew within. I would sometimes imagining kicking holes in the wall or smashing a glass to release the anger, but instead, I would pray or sing songs of worship to calm my inner storm and to maintain control of it. I praised myself happy, prayed myself through.
In response to my own trauma, I also developed a level of self discipline that helped me deal and react to triggers in appropriate ways. It worked for a while.
And then I couldn’t control everything, because life keeps moving forward and new things happen. New trauma may come. If we let them pile up, eventually we will not be able to escape from the pain or control it. My biggest indicator was sheer exhaustion. I was completely overwhelmed by the life I tried to live after more loss. I tried to love the world and love myself all the while there was my own deep hurt needed some attention.
Even if that discipline is prayed in, eventually we will still need to deal with the root of our grief or pain, so our inner wounds do not remain the lens through which we view the world.
I know now that I was angry at an attack on my innocence when I was young. I was sad over the loss of my parents, enraged by injustice, and bewildered by the trauma that war caused my marriage. Truth be told, I also felt betrayed by someone. It took a long time to see the root causes and progression of these deep wounds. In some cases, decades.
Believe me when I say, I know this is not easy. It is so much easier to let it stay and to continue to find a twisted comfort in your pain as your own badge of courage (as in Look what I have endured!). Everyone has had difficulty, death, or trauma touch them in some way.
Letting our inner wounds surface now and then is familiar and feels respectful toward the level of the cause.
But, letting the grief remain hampers your ability to move forward. It becomes a definer instead of an past event.
Some even get caught up in the lie that they have had it worse than other people.
Thoughts like “people just don’t understand how bad things have been for me” are selfish at their core. People may not be in the exact place you are in your grief or difficulty, but most people you meet have been through something horrible. I have never met anyone who has not experienced something very difficult or lost someone.
I often tell people to give other people a break. We don’t know what they have endured.
God helped me find solace by talking to other people and helping them with things so much worse that what I had endured. Because, rest assured, whatever you are going through or have gone through, someone else has endured much worse. It does not mean it was not awful or debilitating, but there is always worse.
Are you willing to let go of your inner wounds of pain or grief? At some point, we will have to intentionally let go of our hurts and their cause.
It is okay to take off our badge of woundedness. Acknowledging that we are not the only ones in pain is important.
Humility is the freedom gate that takes the power away from the wound.
It is a humbling thought that “But for the grace of God go I.” No one is immune from sin, hurt, or grief. None of us will escape all the pain of life. It also takes humility to recognize that others have much hurt too. To see that people react to trauma in different ways, and recognize our own personal reaction may not be beneficial to ourselves or to others is also humility. At some point, we have to move forward.
If not for the mercy of God, where would you be and in what way would you be reaping what you have sown?
When we let go, it is not in a disrespectful way of forgetting a person or their importance in our lives. Nor, is it pretending an inner wound was never made or a dreadful thing never happened.
Writing helped me acknowledge the pain. Counseling helped me want to let it go. Prayer helped me enlist the help of my maker and begin to heal.
Ask yourself what is the real trouble? What wound(s) holds you back or hinders you?
Will you do the brave thing and take back its power, so you can move forward stronger?
Personally, it took a lot of energy to keep my incredible emotional baggage covered in prayer over the years, so I filled my life with ministry and helping others in pain. To escape more grief, I helped people and prayed for strangers. It helped me find real peace for my own hurts, as I helped others find healing for theirs. All the prayer and worship worked miracles in my heart over time, but something lingered.
I spent a lot of time in prayer over it, but I didn’t know I was angry too. Well into my 50’s, I still find myself having to forgive the past, sometimes the present (as I hope they forgive me for my own failings).
Anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness cause us additional pain and interfere with our relationships, so we need to get past that part of grief too.
Getting past grief and loss and going through all of the accompanying pain is not easy, but it can be less horrible if we let God heal those places. It will take time, but if you are willing to move forward, God will help you. All we have to do is ask sincerely for help.
Don’t let inner wounds be roadblocks.
So here are some roads to healing:
Acknowledge the pain, grieve and remember,
then cast off the original pain and its power to hinder your life anymore.
Practice being grateful for the things you do have, the joys in your life. I call it making a good things list. Keep reminding your brain and heart that your life has many more blessings than sources of grief.
Try counseling. Even if you think it won’t help, it will help you move forward. Even the strongest and most well adjusted people could use an impartial listener.
Helping others will help you too. Seeing that every person you meet has some pain in their life will help lessen yours.
When you let go of your right to carry the pain, you will move toward freedom.
So I am thankful for God and his incredible mercy. I am thankful for my family my husband, and my home. Today I am also thankful that we are home together during crisis, and that we are prepared and have the company of our dogs. I am thankful for my husband’s job and mine as a writer.
We all have much to be thankful for.
Barefoot and writing,
You might enjoy this post. You will find the shine again.
Make a good things list with this post. Good things list.