How To Heal a Wound That Won’t Heal

The Key to Healing Emotional Wounds

Do you have a wound that won’t heal?

“A wound that has been present for more than six weeks is considered a chronic wound and may need special treatment,” according to Dr. Prasad Kilaru, a plastic surgeon and director of the Washington Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine.

Have you ever had a cut that required stitches? Have you ever had a surgery of any kind? Deep cuts and surgical procedures leave wounds that often require stitches. Eventually the stitches are removed and the pain goes away. What do you do about wounds you can’t see? How do you begin to stitch emotional wounds embedded deep within the recesses of one’s heart?

beauty girl cry

Hidden wounds are memories that hurt

Hidden Wounds are Memories That Hurt

Hidden wounds are the recollections from your past that when you think about them, they still cause pain in your life. Some define them as memories of abandonment. Some have memories of abuse. Some even have memories of ridicule, criticism or hatred.

Hidden wounds come from prejudices in society. They come from family members (they are the ones that hurt the most). Sometimes they come from parents, our children, our siblings, and aunts and uncles. You can get wounded in the work place. They’re everywhere.

I’ve been a pastor for a long time and I’ve talked to people and I’ve learned two truths about life.

  1. Everyone has a hidden wound. You may be masking it but everybody has a hidden wound. An emotional scar from someone in the past who hurt you in a serious way.
  2. Hidden Wounds (emotional scars) take longer to heal than physical wounds.

Are you ready for some good news? The good news is this: Jesus wants to heal your hidden wounds.

The #1 Obstacle That’s Holding You Back (and What To Do About It)

Here’s something you don’t hear at most conferences and seminars: Behind every opportunity are obstacles.

In 1999, I was installed as pastor of the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago.  However, as is so often the case, this opportunity came disguised as a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.  I succeeded my father, Dr. Clarence E. Stowers, Sr. as pastor.  I inherited a traditional baptist church that had plateaued.

Basic RGB

Based on almost every metric available, I knew I had to do something fast or else our attendance would decline. The optimistic side of me was determined to turn our church around. Therefore, in 2000, I attended the Purpose Driven Church Conference and worked hard to formulate and cast a new vision for the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago.

I restructured our church, hired staff, and with fresh enthusiasm, we were off to a great start. I anticipated smooth sailing ahead.  What I didn’t anticipate is that everyone wants change until it affects them personally.  Why?  Growth is uncomfortable and requires change.

What To Do When Life Isn’t Fair

As a father, one of the most important things I have learned is that life is not fair.

Life does not always deliver equal portions to everyone. When my sons were younger, I remember trying to split a Baby Ruth candy bar in equal parts. Joshua, my youngest, began protesting because, in his opinion, his older brother had more peanuts. The first thing that came out of his mouth: “NOT FAIR! He has more peanuts than I do.”

That is exactly how life is. It is not divided into equal portions and that is when we scream: “Life is not fair!” Sometimes our portion of life does not seem right. Consequently, we are disappointed, angry, and if we are not careful, we become bitter. Bitterness is often a by-product of finding yourself stressed to your breaking point. All of us can recall moments of unfairness. We find ourselves saying “this should not be happening to me.”

Life Is Unfair

The fact is, you are going to experience pain in life through circumstances, from other people, sometimes intentionally, and sometimes unintentionally. You cannot keep yourself from painful moments. Although you cannot control your circumstances, you can control your response, your reaction, and how you choose to react to a particular circumstance or person that has hurt you. How do you respond when life is not fair?

The Absolute Worst Place to Place Confidence

Self-confidence is one of today’s most popular subjects. Conferences, seminars, workshops, and best selling authors tell us that the key to success is to be self-confident.  Consequently, we’re encouraged to live boldly, think big, and craft BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

Confidence

Confident people inspire confidence in others: their audience, their peers, their bosses, their customers, and their friends.  And gaining the confidence of others is one of the key ways in which a self-confident person finds success.  Having self-confidence is even finding its way into church life.  How so?  

Setbacks + Emotions + Reflection = Road to Recovery Part 2

We all experience some despair when setbacks occur. That’s quite normal.

It is one thing to rejoice, give thanks and praise when things go right. But it’s not as easy when things go wrong.  A couple of weeks ago, I shared how emotions can paralyze you and keep you from moving towards recovery.

recovery

Photo credit: Psychiatric News Alert

It’s important to take time to reflect, even grieve so that you can move on. The important thing is that taking the time to deal with your emotions is the first step.  The problem is that too often people get stuck in that emotional state. Instead of merely reflecting and then moving on they get stuck there. You can read Part 1 HERE.

What most people don’t realize is that rejoicing is a very deliberate step on the road to recovery from setbacks. “What’s there to rejoice about?” you grumble. If you think about it there’s lots to be grateful for.  

Setbacks + Emotions + Reflection = Road to Recovery Part 1

It is not easy to accept that things haven’t worked out as planned.

So how do you deal with it? To start, it’s okay to take some time to deal with the disappointment. Whether we like to admit it or not we are all emotional beings. We all experience some despair when setbacks occur. That’s quite normal.

Take some time to reflect, even grieve so that you can move on. The important thing is that taking the time to deal with your emotions is the first step. And step implies that you are moving forward, not staying where you are.

 "Road to recovery "

The problem is that too often people get stuck in that emotional state. Instead of merely reflecting and then moving on they get stuck there. They stew over the fact that things haven’t worked out. They focus on what hasn’t happened, what has been lost instead of trying to move forward. When you get stuck here that’s when bitterness sets in. Bitterness is easy. It doesn’t require thought, movement or progress. It just requires you to sit and stew. 

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves…Really?

Quick! What do the following statements have in common?

  1. “Spare the rod, spoil the child”
  2. “This too shall pass”
  3. “God helps those who help themselves”

Give up?  They cannot be found anywhere in the Bible.  If you don’t believe me, go ahead and find the verse that corresponds to the aforementioned statements. Trust me, you can’t.

help

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves…Really?

Although it sounds great, it’s not in the Bible.  No matter how good it sounds, if we demonstrate some effort to improve, God will give us a little push in that direction.  So we decide to make it by sheer willpower and discipline.  The problem is, we run out of steam.

This year, millions will make and break resolutions because they’re trying to solve a spiritual problem through earthly means.  The challenge we all face is that we want to be transformed.  However, we tend to look within ourselves for the solution.  The solution resides outside of ourselves.  The solution is God.

Transformation is a problem that we cannot solve.  That’s why God sent Jesus!  Apart from him, we can do absolutely nothing!  In Galatians 3:3, Paul reminds the Galatians that God has given them His Spirit and with this – combined with their faith, they can make it.

Who Does God Help?

God doesn’t help those with themselves.  God helps those who abide with Him and those who walk with Him in faith (John 15:1-5).  Our efforts were never the impetus for God’s transforming grace.  Nor will they be the impetus for our changed hearts.

The Bible says that we are justified by faith.  We don’t need willpower or self-effort as much as we need faith that God will accomplish in us and for us what we can’t do ourselves.  He is the source of what we long for and need.  Willpower and self-effort can only take us so far in our desire to change.

What’s The Point?

 Change is Possible

Focus is Required

Dependence on God is Absolutely Foundational

Sacrifices Leaders Make – Part 3

Sacrifice is being willing to give up something good for something better.  Life is full of boundless possibilities, but in order to transform a possibility into a reality we have to choose — sacrificing the many in order to attain the one.  My previous posts suggests, as a leader you sacrifice your time and energy.  In case you missed it, you can read it HERE and HERE.

ego case 1Nothing is gained without something relinquished.

Sacrifice has meaning only in the context of a goal, dream or mission. In pursuing these, we often face obstacles which require us to forfeit physical or emotional comfort in the service of something that matters more. Often, the greater the dream or vision, the greater the shared sacrifice required to attain it. Sacrifice is easier when we stay focused on what we are choosing rather than what we are giving up.  In addition to sacrificing time and energy, As a Leader you sacrifice your Ego

Sacrifices Leaders Make – Part 2

Successful leaders don’t rest on their laurels, because leadership is not a title on a business card.  Leadership is a living process – and that means growth, according to Ken Blanchard & Mark Miller in Great Leaders Grow.  Ask any leader “what it takes to become a great leader” and I guarantee you sacrifice is right at the top of every successful leader’s list.

My previous post suggests, as a leader you sacrifice your time.  In case you missed it, you can read it HERE.  I once heard someone say, “in order to go up, you must be willing to give up something.”  A true leader will sacrifice their personal agenda for the sake of an organization’s goals. In addition to sacrificing time, as a leader you sacrifice your energy.

draining energy

The task of being an effective leader requires diligent effort and sacrifice. The principles of servant hearted leadership encourage an aspiring leader to invest themselves in others. This means that you need to pour energy into your team and organization. As a result there will be many emotional, mental and physical demands on you.

When preparing for leadership, know that you will have to sacrifice your energy. To counter this, find ways in which you can keep your energy levels up so that you can remain effective as a leader. Physical fitness has great benefits and is one way in which you can keep your energy resources renewed. The important thing is that you be prepared. Don’t underestimate the sacrifice of energy that leadership requires.

What do you do to keep your energy levels up?

Slapped Anyone Lately?

Growing up watching the 3 Stooges provided hours of laughter. Their comedy is timeless and still makes me laugh. The Three Stooges will always be remembered as comedic geniuses and as one of the best comedy dream teams who made our day by slapping the laughter out of us. Honestly, the slaps look real to me 🙂

I chose this video to show that oftentimes we do something similar to guests each Sunday. Sometimes the way we treat our guests is equivalent to a slap in the face. And when that happens, guests forget everything else (awesome praise & worship, children’s ministry, & the message) – even the good that happened before the slap.

A slap in the face to a guest can be a number of things. It can be an insensitive comment from the pulpit, a moment of awkwardness, a harsh word from an usher, or a nasty glance from a member.

Since Easter is our “Spiritual Superbowl” let’s do everything within our power not to spiritually slap our guests. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Mars Hill, let’s make Easter Weekend memorable and not “spiritually slap” anyone.