FOR THOSE WHO ARE HURTING…(Bootcamp Emotions)

Years ago, I ‘fell in love’ with someone. I put the phrase in quotation marks because, even though it sounds normal and healthy, it is a gross, laughable understatement.

My feelings were neither normal nor healthy.

I was obsessed. Crazy about him. Overwhelmed and consumed with emotion. Possessed with thoughts of him.

Then we went our separate ways.

I was a Christian, but, at that time, I hadn’t learnt how to process, express or handle my emotions in God’s presence. I was used to suppressing or stuffing them down internally until the surface feeling passed – or until I exploded.

When we separated, I wanted to die. Literally. I had dismantled all my emotional walls and gates, opened up my heart in a way I had never done before, and let him in so deeply that the separation felt like a savage ripping apart.

I finally understood the attraction of suicide for many people. It wasn’t about being dramatic or seeking attention (no one knew about it until months and years later), but I also wanted to cut myself. I just felt that if I used a sharp knife or razor to make gashes in my heart/chest region, the bitter pain would flow out with the blood – and I would feel better.

There are times when you go through stuff – and you hold on desperately to God. This wasn’t one of those times. Instead, you know how a child falls off a high balcony – and you grab a tiny piece of his cloth as he falls, holding on by your fingertips with all your might as he hangs suspended in the air? That was the scenario. Anytime I look back, I see God holding on to me with the tips of His fingers. Desperately.

Outwardly, I was laughing, carrying out my usual duties at work, organizing and getting involved in activities, going to church, praying – everything seemingly fine. But I would get to work very early in the morning before my colleagues arrived, stay in an empty office and cry. I was also running a professional program at that time, and during lectures, I would go to the restroom to cry.

I couldn’t face the pain, so I tried to drown it. About a month later, I got emotionally involved with someone else…and then with someone else. Yes, I knew I wasn’t healed. Yes, I knew I was still bleeding raw. Yes, I knew it wasn’t right – even though there was no physical contact with the parties involved. But I couldn’t stand the sense of loss or aloneness.

The nights were horrible. God, I hated them. During the day, I could suppress the pain with work, activities, noise, people. But at night, in the stillness and quiet, I came face to face with it – and it was too much for me. So I would watch films. Go on social media. Read books. Eat.

I didn’t realize, like I do now, that the night is usually one way God gets your undivided attention – where He deals with what needs to be dealt with.

I was a Christian, so I wasn’t using coping ‘vices’, as we call them – smoking, drinking, sex, drugs etc – but I was spending money recklessly. Always going out. Organizing events and activities. Attending events and activities. Getting emotionally attached to the wrong people.

I knew I was going downhill fast – and I didn’t know how to stop it; I knew something had to happen, but I didn’t know what.

Then, one day, on my way to work, I had an accident. Immediately it occurred, my first thought – even in my pain – was, “Finally.” As I was being rushed to the hospital, I had a deep sense of surrender. It was as if I just quit running.

If any other part of my body had been affected, I would have continued on my downward spiral – but it was my leg that was injured, and I had to have minor surgery.

I stayed at home for three months.

I remember being brought back from the hospital and helped to my bed. As soon as I lay down and turned my face to the wall, the tears began to flow. There was no where else to go and no on else to turn to, except God – and He was waiting.

In that position, face to the wall (one of my favourite positions), God began to heal me. He went into buried depths and began to heal – not just that pain, but others as well. I cried buckets, but He wouldn’t let up until He was done – for that season.

Then, we began to talk.

At the end of the three months, I was a different person. I hadn’t just being healed: my emotional focus had also been realigned, my walls and gates built up – and I’m not referring to the barriers hurting people build around themselves to avoid further pain.

But more than that, I had fallen, hopelessly, helplessly in love with God.

I went back to work, and got really involved in church. But my favourite place was still in His presence. Alone. He became my passion, my obsession. I became so involved emotionally and spiritually that, at a point, I didn’t want to get married. He showed me that, if I allowed Him to, He could meet all my needs – physical, emotional, sexual (we will talk about that in the course of these series).

I was really complete in him.

Does that mean I didn’t meet people who could trigger that chemistry and emotional reaction? Oh, there were. More than a few, actually. But there was an inner sense of detachment and emotional safety because my walls and gates were firmly in place.

The needle of my emotional compass was fixedly pointed to him, my emotional anchor was connected to Him, my gaze was fixed on Him. My heart solely belonged to Him – and who He chose who to give it to.

So, if you have experienced – or are experiencing – emotional pain:

  • Spend time with God and His Word. While other methods can help, I firmly believe there is no perfect emotional healing outside of God. God doesn’t just deal with the emotions, He deals with the roots, the thought patterns and processes, the spirits attached – the works.
  • Allow Him go to your emotional roots and heal you. Be real. Don’t suppress the pain. Sometimes, the healing can be instantaneous, sometimes it can be drawn out. Just allow His own process for you.
  • Fall in love with Him. Let Him possess your heart. More than anything, tell Him to help you love Him “…with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…” (Matthew 22:37)

It is a prayer He is always too willing to answer.

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