The truth be told, those are the top 3 reasons to attend any healing experience. Seriously, whether it is sin, resentment, unforgiveness or anger that we carry due to all our past hurts, pains, trials and struggles, these are symptoms of a much larger problem. They are a by product of enslavement. Now, I really have lost you. Stay with me. If we cannot detach from a particular sin then we are in slavery to that sin. If we cannot stop harboring bitterness or anger towards another person for something they did to us, then we are in chains to that issue. Power has truly been relinquished and we are in bondage to the person who hurt us or the situation that traumatized us. Until something breaks through the hardness of our hearts and our lives, we will continue down this empty future of victimization.
Healing is possible for all who seek it! The problem is not with its availability, but with our desire for the change. Deep down we like our sin. The old saying goes, “misery loves company.” This reminds me of the souls depicted in the 9 circles of Dante’s Inferno (hell). Hell on earth you might say is angerness, bitterness and unforgiveness. What are we left to do? Continue to hurt others because we have been hurt so much or break the cycle and seek out healing and freedom from the bondage we find ourselves. Its that simple.
This is of course easier said than done. It is difficult to let go of a way of life that we have intentionally formed for ourselves. Quite often, our vices and sins are a consequence of our own conscience decision to move away from the pain of our past. Rather than feel what needed to be felt, we move away altogether from the painful thoughts by shutting out those who hurt us so much. I think of a self identified lesbian, who has deliberately moved away from men so as never to be hurt by them again. So sad really that we further victimize ourselves in this way. It is tragic to think of the many who have created lives around the lies they learned by the wounded people who taught them.
Stage left: enter a powerful healing experience! It takes something profoundly pivotal to stir up our emotions. We discern a voice that is speaking just to us and our situation and suddenly our hearts are opened to a different way of living. At first, we are not entirely convinced that change is even possible, so we proceed with extreme caution and begin to slowly allow others into our world. Our perceptions of what is true begin to be shattered piece by piece and this for the healing seeker becomes both frightening and life giving all at once. Very often, a severe relapse will take place and we begin to question is healing even possible for me. However, once we accept that change and healing is possible, we give ourselves permission to enter back into the struggle and find as a result more healing awaits us. Thus the healing journey has begun and freedom is truly that much closer.
In the end, the top 3 reasons to attend a healing retreat are still the same: (1) freedom of heart, (2) freedom of mind and (3) freedom of spirit. You cannot find these wonderful gifts unless we become a healing seeker. Please give yourself the gift this Christmas of such!
God bless you on your journey of healing.
In Christ’s healing love,
Mark J. Houck