First of all, I hope you all have a blessed, memorable year filled with God’s blessings of love and grace in Christ Jesus. May He fill you with His hope, heal you ever more deeply, and give you wings to fly freely and fully in Jesus.
It’s time for me to pick a One Word for this year. I tried for a couple of years to write out goals for New Year’s resolutions, but I just ended up discouraged and feeling like a failure when I didn’t reach those goals. Then in 2014 I heard about picking One Word to focus on. It has helped me to concentrate on more specific areas I need spiritual growth in.
In 2014 I chose “trust,” and in 2015 “follow.” I wish I could say I didn’t get to feeling like a failure, but I have. As I read these past posts, I wonder – Lord, am I learning to trust You more? To trust You enough with all my burdens and cares? To trust You are always seeking my welfare, not my harm? Am I more willing to follow You, to give up my own way and to surrender to Your way? I have to remember that in myself I can’t go forward, but step by step He gives me the power to keep on and the grace to cleanse my distrust, my doubts, my resistance, and my fear.
The traumatic effects of past abuse can taint our perception of God and of how we view ourselves. We sometimes deal with deep, ongoing issues of trust, shame, insecurity, inadequacy, and more. It doesn’t work to “just have faith” and “Voila!” we are healed completely and all the effects disappear. All life is rosy from here on out. No. It’s an ongoing journey. A journey God is willing and even delighted to lead us on. A journey of childlike dependence on Him to grow and thrive, not just survive. A journey to become molded into becoming more like Jesus.
So many words have rumbled in my mind as I asked God to show me what I need to focus on this year. Then I read a post at InCourage by Angela Nazworth about The Gift of Openness, and I believed God picked one for me. I still often have a “Closed” sign posted at the door of my heart. I don’t internally breathe in the beautiful moments. Like Angela did, I still sometimes numb myself to both pain and pleasure, because they’re too connected to feelings.
The paragraph that really tugged desperately at the closed door of my heart is:
“Numb is lonely. Slowly I unclenched the muscles of my soul to welcome enough openness to shine truth on all the shattered spaces within me that I shuttered instead of tended. I handed my raw, ravaged heart back to Jesus for examining, cleaning, molding, and strengthening.”
Oh yes. That is so what I need to focus on this year. To “open” my heart to all the shattered spaces still within me. To “open” up to Jesus’ healing love. To hand over to Him all those tenacious blood suckers of joy stubbornly embedded in the deepest recesses of my heart. All that shame, distrust, insecurity, people-approval, and fear. To lay them wide “open” to the cleansing of His grace. To “open” my heart to His powerful love instead of resisting it, because I feel like I’m unloveable.
The more I allow the liniment of His love to mend the broken places still in my heart… The more I will open my eyes to His goodness and the beauty He has created within me and around me. The more I will open my ears to His voice. The more I will open up my hands to release my plans and to embrace His way. The more I will open up to speak and write of His love and grace. The more I will open up my heart to receive and give love.
My stomach knots up and my heart trembles. Opening up those deepest wounds to vulnerability will hurt. But I believe I have to in order to thrive more instead of just survive. Sometimes it can feel so hopeless. That nothing will change. That I’m stuck here until I get to be with Jesus.
But it can happen. Why? Because Jesus already opened up a way of possibility. His grace is always enough and beyond. He opened a way for us to be filled with the same power that rose Him from the dead. So yes, it is possible. He gives us the power to open our hearts to Him.
Do you have deep hurts that you have shuttered off? Have you numbed yourself to feelings? Do you feel like you’re merely surviving instead of thriving in His love? Please don’t lose hope. Jesus understands our weakness. He knows more than anyone what pain is. His arms are always open for us. He longs for us to open our hearts fully to Him, to invite Him into those deep hurting, broken hurts with the healing ointment of His love and grace.
His Power in us can give us the strength to open our hearts, however difficult it may be.
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 1:18-20 NLT)
Jesus has opened the way.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By His death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22 NLT)
He wants us to invite Him in.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
What blood-suckers of joy are stubbornly embedded in your heart?
What are ways that can help us open our hearts more to healing?
Do you have a One Word for this year?
Will you share it with us?
“The Hurt and the Healer”
Linking up with:
Holley – Coffee For Your Heart
Jennifer – Tell His Story
Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith
Barbie – Weekend Whispers