Over the next several weeks, I will be writing a series of articles on ‘Healing the Broken Soul’. Be sure to follow this series, as I share my own journey to healing. I pray it will be a blessing to you, and will help as you find healing and freedom.
It was March of 2000, and from all outside appearances, my life was really great. I was on staff of a great church in the Dallas area; I was traveling all over the US with a prominent, and powerful minister; I had been married just short of 11 years; we had two beautiful children; and we had just moved in to our brand new home. By anyone’s standards, we really had it going on. What no one could know, however, is that I was dying on the inside. By God’s grace, we were seeing wonderful things happen in ministry, but there was a gaping hole in my very soul. Something was amiss, and I was quickly reaching a critical and dangerous place. What I did not understand at the time is that I was dealing with a ‘Broken Soul’.
I was saved at the age of 8 years old, and baptized as a Christian that same year. From the time I was a small boy, all I had known was the Christian life, and the church experience. At the age of 11 years old, and very tragic and terrible thing happened in my life. A family friend that was staying in our home brought me into the room where she was staying, and exposed me to things that a child should never have to deal with. This event would alter the course of my life. 11 years old … imagine! How does a child begin to process such an experience? The answer is, they cannot. Add on top of this that my religion had taught me that God loved me, however, that truth was mixed with significant portions of legalism, condemnation, guilt, and shame for those who had any sin issues in their lives. “There must be something wrong with ME. I must be dirty. I must be a mistake. This must somehow be my fault.” At the impressionable age of 11, my belief about my worth and value was shattered. My innocence had been taken; my soul had been fractured.
Throughout my school years, many issues developed as a result of this brokenness; anger, depression, insecurities, addictions, and an overall sense of worthlessness to name a few. Like so many before me (and many yet to come), I carried all of these broken places into my adult life. Maybe most importantly, I carried them into my marriage, and later into my family life.
Someone once said, “hurting people hurt people”. I have found this to be true. You see, I had stuffed the hurt and trauma of this event deep in my soul, not knowing that, like a cancer, it would eat at me from the inside until it destroyed me. As human beings, we tend to compartmentalize the things we don’t know how to, or want to deal with. We box it up, and hide it away as if nothing ever happened. Some were taught to “suck it up”; “be tough”; “don’t cry over spilt milk”, etc. That all sounds good in theory, but that is not how the heart of a man or woman works. Pain was created by God to be our friend. It is there as an indication that something is broken; something is wounded; something needs urgent and immediate attention. The longer we ignore the pain, the graver the condition becomes.
This was my life. How could I tell anyone what happened to me? How could I admit that I had these challenges and addictions? My environment was not conducive to confession or transparency. To reach out for help was to admit something was wrong with me. So what did I do? I stuffed it away. I placed it in darkness where no one could see it. I became a pretender; I learned how to function on the outside, without dealing with the inside. It was killing me.
In April of 2000, my life was radically changed. In fact, I would go so far as to say, my life was saved. I will share more on that journey in Part 2, but for now, I want to leave you with some questions to consider:
1. Have you ever suffered some form of abuse? (Sexual, emotional, physical)
2. If so, could you still be carrying the brokenness and pain of that situation?
3. Have you experienced a great loss? (A loved one; a romantic relationship; a friend)
4. If so, do you feel that that loss is still affecting your heart, mind, decisions, and relationships today?
5. What is it that you have stuffed away?
6. What is it that you have failed to, or refused to look at, deal with, or address in your life?
7. Do you feel as though you are living a limited life? If so, why?
I know these questions sound a bit heavy, but I am asking you to prayerfully consider them. Ask God to shed His light on dark places, and expose any areas in your heart that He desires to heal.
In Part 2, I will share with you a significant experience that was the catalyst for healing and change in my life. I will begin to share with you some of the discoveries that came from that experience, and the truths that set me free to be me. Until then, my prayer is that God would give you the grace and courage to look inside, and begin the process of healing He so longs for you to experience.
Please leave your comments and questions.
I will do my best to respond to each one