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Bruised for a Purpose

A Word on Healing

A few months ago, I injured my index finger while placing a heavy weight on a barbell. The impact of the weight hitting my finger created a large, ugly bruise that lingered for weeks. During that time, I hated the sight of my finger, often covering it with a band-aid to keep from looking at it, and to prevent anyone else from noticing and asking questions I didn’t feel like answering. When covering up became too cumbersome to maintain, and the ugly bruise got darker and changed colors, I resorted to picking at it. I was ready for it to be gone whether it healed properly or not. Not only was it ugly, but the hardened blood cells and dead tissue under my skin prevented my finger from having full range of motion, which affected things I wanted to do.

After another several days, I finally began to see the bruise fade away. Once it was finally gone, I realized that my finger still had lingering effects of the trauma that occurred in that area. Even though the ugliness has faded from plain view, when enough pressure is applied, or if light is shone in such a way on that spot, I can still feel it and I can still see its silhouette. When I touch it, I can feel the difference in texture in comparison to the other parts of the same finger. Even when I bend my finger, I can still feel tightness in the spot where I was bruised. This tells me that the healing process is still happening even though it appears to be back to normal. Knowing this, I have become intentional about keeping that spot moisturized in hopes that eventually, the rough spot will be smoother as the healing process continues under the surface.

In life, we all experience trauma from early childhood until the day we die. Sometimes they leave ugly bruises on our hearts. We may want to cover them up or speed up the healing process so that we can fool ourselves and others into thinking that the trauma never happened, but when that trauma is brought to light, or when a little pressure is applied, we quickly discover that the trauma is still there. Despite our earnest attempts to ignore it, our full "range of motion" is altered; we fail to reach our full potential. Something under the surface affects our ability to move, speak, and behave the way God intended, because we haven’t fully healed. Understand that the healing process has to run its full course. Bruising can be ugly if you don’t understand its role. It's actually sign of protection/covering while the true healing takes place beneath the surface. We have to learn to acknowledge the pain for what it is. Don’t ignore it. Don’t cover it up. Give it room to breathe. Apply the Word of God to your wound, like a balm that heals and softens the rough texture of your hurting heart. Embrace the entire healing process and experience the joy and fulfillment that will come later. Taking these steps helps us appreciate the good things in life much better, while building the help and strength we need to thrive in the midst of challenges.

Important Reminders:

  • Feeling pain is normal. Without rain, we can’t appreciate the sunshine. Be authentic–Live in truth. Stop lying to yourself and others when you’re not really “good.” Jesus said it’s the truth that makes us free.

  • Some wounds require openness - you may need to talk about it. Find someone you can trust who will pour into you, not just commiserate with you.

  • Beware of the band-aids we use to cover our bruises: busyness, focusing on the shortcomings of others; work, kids, gossip, food, other “guilty pleasures” - these things do not solve the problem; they only deepen the trauma and the pain comes out in other ways.

Jeremiah 30:17;19-20

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