Like many of you, I have been hurt deeply by the hardships life can bring. I have spent many nights crying myself to sleep. I have had to miss out on things I love because I simply couldn’t bring myself to leave the house. I have made mistakes that I wish every day I could take back. I feel guilty over sin patterns in my life that I can’t seem to end. I have hurt, and continue to hurt from the actions and words of others and myself.
I also had a funny way of dealing with that hurt. When others have said hurtful things, I take it and allow the thought to take root in my mind as truth. When life dealt me a tragedy, I grieved in the expected time, then put on a happy face when everyone else stopped caring. When I felt trapped in sin that caused me so much shame, I kept it to myself, for fear of what my friends or God would think of me. I pushed all the hurt and brokenness deep into my heart, so as to keep my exterior looking as joyful as those around me expected. After I graduated high school, I realized my heart was deep in the grip of sorrow.
So I ran.
I ran across the ocean to bible school, because that’s a good thing for a young Christian girl to do, right?
I was running away. I wanted to run from that hurt. I wanted to forget all that had brought me pain and suffering and guilt. I wanted to get so far away from everything that reminded me of all that had hurt me, that I wouldn’t feel those things anymore. I wanted to run from me. From my sin, from my shame, from my guilt. From all that I thought was me. I thought that I would feel more whole with more of the world under my feet. What I found out was that I was terribly mistaken.
I saw the beautiful fjords of Norway, the majestic glaciers of Iceland, the calming beaches of Rarotonga, the bustling city of LA, and many more stunning places. But no matter where I went, I couldn’t get rid of the feeling of hurt from the past. No amount of hours on a plane could distract my heart enough for it to feel complete.
After 5 months of this, I finally realized that you can’t run away from pain. You can ignore it for awhile and push away the feelings that may bubble inside you, but in order to move on from the pain, you must heal. You have to face that pain head on, which is much easier said than done.
Healing is scary, healing is unknown, healing may even require you to admit things you don’t want to. And the even scarier truth is that you can’t do it. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t heal. I also couldn’t live with all this pain forever. I couldn’t will myself better, I couldn’t bring my heart peace. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t feel whole. So what are we supposed to do then?
Not away from everything. Not this time.
But we run to the one who heals.
I had to be broken enough to realize that healing didn’t lie within myself. It lies within the one who took all my pain, guilt, and hurt to the cross with Him. I had to trust that God was going to take the broken mess of my heart and repair it. I had to let healing happen, whatever that would look like. I had to let go of the prideful idea that I should be able to “fix” myself, and humbly fall at the feet of my saviour. I thought that I deserved pain and guilt for the life that I had lived, but that is far from the life God has for us.
So run, my friends. Run from the exhaustion of feeling like you should have moved on by now. Run from the fear of not being “complete.” Run from the lie that you have to fix yourself. Run straight into the arms of your loving father, the only place where true healing will happen.
words by Breanna Maier and photo by Corrie Mahr