To my dear sisters in Christ, I wish I had had it in my power…
I love my instant pot. I throw in some raw ingredients, seal it tight, press the start button and the heat and pressure build and build until, not long later, those ingredients have been transformed into something wonderful. And then comes the very satisfying sound of “tsssssssss” as I turn the release valve and my instant pot sighs with relief.
These instant pot mechanics are not unlike our human need to express and release built up emotions. Our healing is often quite dependent on opening the pressure valve, allowing what has been building up inside to release. As we walk the path of restoration with the Lord, He typically reveals unresolved past hurts and traumas that have become stuck, leading to prolonged pressure and stress. He gently nudges, inviting us to open these moments to Him, that He may enter right into the depths of our pain with us, where He alone can heal and make us new.
The analogy of riding a wave as it builds, crests, breaks and subsides onto the shore provides the perfect image to illustrate the arch and the flow as we move into and through a moment of healing with the Lord (click the image below to get a better view).
This process is necessarily preceded by our giving consent to the Lord. He will never force or violate our freedom of choice, even when it comes to His deep desire to heal us. He waits patiently for our consent. And once we do, He will lead us gently to the specific memory or adverse event in our lives that He desires to heal.
This is a process we engage in with coaching clients and it is something you can do within the safety of a counseling session, spiritual direction or in your own prayer time with the Lord. What follows is not meant to be an “exact science” or a formula to follow, but more a guide that honors the importance of expressing the truth of our emotions and voicing words we needed to say but couldn’t at the time of the adverse event.
As we recall the details or the unfolding of the adverse event, there is a natural rising up of energy and emotion. As the image above depicts, the largest part of this process is spent on expression (labeled Rise Up, Express in Truth).
A key point I want you to hear is that the healing of previously unresolved moments of wounding occurs as we allow our unexpressed emotions to come forth, our unspoken words to be heard; in short, to be known in our brokenness. Jesus said that it is the truth that makes us free (ref John 8:32). It is not helpful to pretend that an undesirable circumstance did not affect me or that the way someone hurt me wasn’t a big deal. Minimization and justification are not telling the truth. In truth, we will be made free from the post-traumatic effects and lingering pain associated with earlier moments of wounding.
So, we ride the wave as it builds, giving voice to whatever is bottled up inside. It is time to open the release valve and let it out in truth:
“I am so angry at my dad for…”
“How could he/she have done/said that to me!”
“Lord, why couldn’t You have…?”
“What my mom/dad/other did was not ok! I did not deserve that.”
We continue expressing the emotions that build and rise to the surface. Often underneath the anger and frustration are sadness and hurt:
“My mom/dad/other really hurt me.”
“I am so sad. I can’t believe he/she/they would…”
With all my voice I cry to the Lord;
with all my voice I entreat the Lord.
I pour out my troubles before him;
I tell Him all my distress
While my spirit faints within me.
– Psalm 142:1-2
Every single one of your feelings is so ok with Jesus. He longs to be with you in the depth of your painful experiences. We continue crying out, even shouting out, to God. He can handle it all and so wants you to be free of it.
For these things I weep;
my eyes flow with tears;
– Lamentations 1:16
Eventually, the wave will rise to a climax, crest as we empty it all out upon the Lord, and we will ride gently onto the shore. Trust in that. And there He invites us to rest with Him for a few moments longer. To enter our inner sanctuary, that special place in the heart of our own hearts where He abides with us always.
Just as we sit on the beach watching the waves rise and recede, come in and go out again, we can be assured that the arch of our own healing journeys follows a similar rhythmic movement. I pray we will each accept His invitation to ride the wave of healing and let Him lead us through the rising, building, cresting and resting.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
– Lamentations 3:22-24
Copyright 2022 De Yarrison