Seattle — Day 20: Inward Blindfolds
For me, pain has always been something that I have tried to avoid in my life. Growing up, I suppressed a lot of things that hurt me, that we’re too stressful for me to deal with or too much to handle, so I would push it all down, deeper into the depths of my heart, further into in abyss that was me. I wasn’t trying to do all this, in fact it came very naturally, dangerously subconsciously. The intentionality of me suppressing my hurt was something that was ingrained in my lifestyle from a very young age that transformed and hideously morphed into a subconscious habit that began dictating my “pain tolerance” and pain processing. If it hurt me, I’d shove it down. If someone said cruel words to me, I would looked past it. If someone broke my heart out, I’d ignore it. I just didn’t want to deal with, or rather, my heart wouldn’t let me deal with it all, to the point where I couldn’t even recognize what I was doing. It’s one thing to have a tendency to suppress hurt, even intrinsically, but a whole other ball game when the suppression becomes hidden to you.
Whether you realize it or not, we are all prone to suppression. Don’t even begin to think for a moment that apart from Christ, that you are capable of upholding honesty and vulnerability before Jesus. Without Jesus, without the grace of God (the common grace if you know theological terms), you and I would literally be caught up in massive depression, suppressing everything and anything that would hurt us because we would know no better, let alone desire any better. There are so many things that we are blind to, and we chose to not only ignore them, but not to even ask Jesus whether or not we are seeing everything clearly and properly. Just think about this question: when’s the last time you asked Jesus to reveal the darkness in your heart? Jesus, please reveal to me what I’ve kept hidden from you, even from myself.
Get this. If in Psalm 139 it says that God knows you better than you know yourself, then it means that you yourself, that I myself, do not have a complete understanding of myself. You don’t fully understand yourself! I don’t fully understand myself! Yet why are we so confident that we know every single one of our strengths and weakness, thinking like we’ve become masters of our own lives? Can’t you see? There are so many things that are hidden from you, not just things that you try to hide from your friends or even before the Lord. There’s a multitude of sin, shame, condemnation, thoughts, hurt, and pain that your own self is keeping away from yourself. Why? Because it hurts to hurt, and your flesh doesn’t want anything to do with that. But we must make things clear. Pain has a purpose. Suffering has a reason, and His name is Jesus.
“For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.” — 2 Corinthians 1:5–6
If we can see and understand this word, then we can know deeply in our minds and hearts that there is purpose for the hurting, and joy to sing of even in the midst of sorrow and suffering. That the pain is so that you would turn to Christ and ask Him to comfort and be with you, to save you from this life of misery. For if we see no need for a Savior, then we will never cry to to one, but when we understand how deeply we have been hurt, are hurting, and will be hurt, then we can in full conviction seek our God of Comfort and Savior that will help us patiently endure all things for the glory of Christ. Where we don’t just pray, God it hurts so much. Please make it stop. This is a very valid and necessary prayer, that even Jesus prays (Luke 22:42), yet the key words are when Jesus says if you are willing, then take the cup from my hands. He doesn’t say, God you must, or else. There’s no ultimatums in the midst of our pain that we present to Jesus. Christ says if you are willing, and since the Lord was not, Christ bore the sin of the world and suffered, so that He would know the Father all the more. It’s the highest calling of life that we are called to. So where does this leave us?
Either externally or internally hidden, you’ve suppressed a lot of pain and hurt over the course of your time here on earth. You can either admit it, and seek the Lord to reveal these things to you, to shine light in your heart so that more of Christ would be revealed to you (2 Corinthians 4:6), or you can ignore it and let it pass by. I didn’t have the luxury of being aware of my tendency to suppress things, so as I lived my life I went on storing up so much hurt and pain that I was never able to lay down at the feet of Jesus. I thought I was fine, I thought I was healthy, and even when I thought I was broken, I didn’t think I was that broken.
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” — Mark 2:17
Please don’t live the way I lived. It is by grace that the Lord made this apparent to me in college and helped me heal and overcome these lingering hurts. With brothers surrounding me, I was liberated from essentially all of these pains that I stored up for years and years without even realizing it. I can’t even begin to tell you how many tears there were, not from me, but from those that I hurt because I was so deeply impacted from my past hurt. The hurt that you’ve stored up influences your character, your personality, your theology, your lifestyle, and more. You must also understand this. For you to say that I don’t have time right now to deal with this, or it hurts too much, is undermining the gospel and goodness of Christ. The longer you allow yourself to live a life of ignoring pain and hurt, or choosing to not ask the Lord to reveal the hidden pain that you cannot see to you, is the longer you live a more self-centered and selfish life that chooses to ignore your impact on those surrounding you. To put aside your hurt, and “shelf it” is to put aside the power of the gospel and to shelf Christ.
“The degree to which you are willing to embrace the pain of recovery is the degree to which you will recover.” — Christine Caine
When you see how broken you are, and understand how much you don’t see of your own darkness and pain, that you’re broken beyond even your own understanding, you begin to find yourself longing for the Savior’s arms and for the Healer’s intimacy with you. Family, we must see this truth. You and I are both hurting, even on our “best days.” I can say all this to you, and deeply desire to share it with you not because of my perfection in it, but the progress I’ve made with the Lord in my recovery from it. Yet even though the Lord has delivered and restored my soul from so many past afflictions and the damage its had on me, I don’t fully know whether or not the healing process is over, for there could be thousands of things that I still have to deal with Jesus, and that, is the beauty in it all — He will be with you through your recovery, and He will be the one to start it, and finish it in faith (Philippians 1:6). So look at yourself, take a deep breath, and admit it. You’re not as put together as you thought you were, and thats okay because He does not shame you, condemn you, or reject you for your brokenness, for even the things you do not see, He knows and still died for them (Romans 10:11, Psalm 51, John 3:18). Hallelujah.
So come before Jesus, ask Him, What am I holding back from you? What do I keep hidden from you? What do I keep hidden from even myself? Ask Him to begin revealing these things to you, and in faith, He will not only reveal them, but heal you from them. The pain of domestic abuse will be gone in Jesus name. The hurt of being rejected from past men will be restored in Jesus name. The suffering of living a life in poverty will be redeemed in Jesus name. Jesus will heal you, and meet you exactly where you’re at. You don’t have to fight for His attention, but He fights for yours. His loving eyes are on you, and they’ve always been on you.
Let the King of my heart be the mountain where I run
The Fountain I drink from, Oh He is my Song
Let the King of my heart be the shadow where I hide
the randsom for my life, Oh He is my Song
Let the King of my heart be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves, Oh He is my Song
Let the King of my heart the fire inside my veins
the echo of my days, Oh He is my Song
You are good good ohhh You are good good ohhh
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let me down
When the night is holding onto me, God is holding on.
Gathering — I went to my first praying meeting with New Life fellowship today. I must say that being there really reminded me of Livingwater freshmen prayer meetings at Underhill, when the people you were with all wanted to Jesus and nothing else. It’s such a joy to be in that environment and space, surrounded by genuine lovers of Jesus. It’s an incredible experience where everyone around you just wants to be with Jesus. There’s no strings of obligation, nothing of themselves on the line. Just Jesus. We got to worship together in our acts of pursuing Jesus through the medium of music, singing, shouting, reading the word, and praying to him at this prayer meeting. I’m incredibly thankful again to Nathan who told me about this gathering, and to a friend I made today in Stephanie, who kindly opened up her place for us to pray in. Just sitting in a room, where people are singing hymns and songs to Jesus, and petitions are being made to the King, was not only an incredible privilege, but a blessing as well. It’s astounding how refreshing it is when you get to physically see people pursuing the Lord in comparison to just knowing, or really assuming, that they are. Though I do not see the heart, I at least see the physical before me, and in faith, the outward reflections of deep love for Jesus are from the overflow of the internal joy and hope that is rooted in the truth of the gospel.
To know and discover the depths of my sin and depravity before God. To understand how much hurt I’ve afflicted and in turn, to have the hurt / pain that’s been suppressed to be revealed in Jesus name. Please pray that the things that I never even knew about would be revealed to me, and that Jesus would have mercy upon me to shed light to the darkness in my heart. Please pray that all that are reading would encounter the same light of Jesus, and to not turn away from this grace. Thank you.
— Fiat Lux