I stood in the grocery line and wondered why the cashier was ignoring the customer…
Last weekend, we held a “Hope Blooms” women’s healing retreat, in partnership with Integrity Restored. These retreats are important opportunities for sisters to gather together in our safe retreat space for a time of renewal, reflection and rest in the Lord. Early on in the retreat, we share a core belief that we hold and that guides the healing work that we do. I share this belief here with you as a reminder of your own innate wholeness and of the truth of just how wonderfully, purposefully, and lovingly you have been created by God our heavenly Father.
The drive towards wholeness and healing has been encoded into our every fiber by the One who created us. He has written into each human person the instruction to mobilize for healing upon injury. The very moment that I sustain a cut or a bruise, my body immediately begins the process of healing, restoring, rebuilding. We can be confident that this same energy for wholeness is expended on wounds of emotion and of spirit. Our spiritual and emotional wounds – be they from sin, abuse, trauma, deceptions of the enemy or other effects of life in this fallen world – are healed through a process of re-integration and re-alignment with the Truth of who we are.
Now, when we are injured physically, we often feel discomfort or pain. And that pain is information for us. The pain lets us know where the injury is located, helps me understand the type of injury so I will know how to properly tend to my healing. In just the same way, our emotional and spiritual wounds also come with some discomfort and pain, be that anxiety, fear, feelings of hopelessness or unworthiness. That emotional and spiritual discomfort is also information for us. I believe very much that the Holy Spirit is alive and active within each one of us, nudging us along our journey of re-integration, always towards health and wholeness.
Very often our response to anxiety or pain or fear is…make it go away! Make it stop! Who wants to be in pain or suffer discomfort?! We turn to any number of places, seeking relief from our symptoms. However, if the symptoms are information that may help us better understand how to tend to our wounds, then it is so very important that we listen into the discomfort or pain. With the Lord, of course; asking Him to reveal what it is He wants us to see more clearly, what He wants to surface for our attention. We can trust Him in our inner process. We can trust what is happening interiorly precisely because it is the Holy Spirit leading that process!
It’s All An Experiment
At our retreats, we offer the perspective of curiosity, of experimenting with the idea of becoming more responsive to the inner nudgings of the Holy Spirit. Two examples may help.
In relationship with other:
Someone is talking in a small group and I am feeling increasingly agitated. I may be tempted to conclude that this person is an annoyance to me or is causing my agitation. In the spirit of curiosity and experimentation, instead I listen interiorly and name what’s happening:
- I am feeling agitated. I began feeling agitated when so-and-so was talking about her situation and was blaming her [spouse, mother, father…]. I notice she is not looking at her own responsibility here but, in her hurt, is blaming others.
- Turn it into a prayer: Lord, I am open to whatever are You wishing to reveal to me. Show me where I also blame and self-justify. Show me Your love for my wounded sister. Increase my awareness and my compassion.
In relationship with myself:
I begin feeling tight in my chest, and my head feels unclear or murky. I recognize this as the onset of anxiety. My typical response may be to leave the situation or take a painkiller or in some other way “escape” the anxiety. In my experiment, I begin by tuning into my interior state and articulating to myself what I’m noticing:
- My chest is tight. I feel afraid. [place hands on heart and breathe in deeply]
- Tell Jesus: Lord, I feel afraid. What am I afraid of in this moment? I listen interiorly and become aware that I am afraid of being rejected.
- Turn it into a prayer: Jesus, I believe that You love me. Thank You for Your constancy and steadiness in my life. I surrender to You my fear of rejection. I claim the Truth that You will never leave me nor forsake me.
We experiment with new responses to our old patterns. This is our place of power! We are empowered by Christ to take responsibility for our response to all that is happening within us. We may not have control over what is happening out there, but we have authority in Christ over what is happening within! The heart of our healing is no longer believing ourselves to be victims of circumstance, and standing in the Truth. We can and must stand in the authority we have in Christ and claim healing, claim restoration and wholeness. The Lord not only deeply desires this for us, but is actively guiding the process at every moment.
Dear Jesus, teach me to recognize and cooperate with Your Holy Spirit within me. Grant me wisdom in discerning what interior information is from You and what may be the work of the Thief (ref John 10:10). Grant me the grace to take time each day to sit still and breath in Your Presence, listening attentively to Your still small voice within my heart. Thank you for uniting Yourself to me so completely that you sent your Spirit to abide in me – forever! In all gratitude and awe, I pray in Your most Holy Name, Amen.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. – Romans 8:11