“Thus, like Jesus, those who proclaim liberation are called not only to care for their own wounds and the wounds of others, but also to make their wounds into a major sources of healing power.” – Henri Nouwen. Yes, Jesus wants to take us from wound to connection.
Our previous blogs have touched on different types of core wounds, and maybe you see yourself resonating with one or more of these types of beliefs. Perhaps it started out with having to protect yourself from an abusive parent, and now you have isolated yourself to the point that it is now hard to connect in relationships. Maybe there was something traumatic that happened in your life that threatened your safety and now you feel as if you are unable to engage with the world around you.
Our core wounds keep us isolated from connecting with others and the world around us. Unhealed wounds send us signals in big, bright red letters to either fight, flight, or freeze. These responses are not just physical; They are also emotional and mental responses. Sometimes when our wounds are trying to heal themselves they create more hurt by breaking off or stunting connection. This is not something to feel guilty about because this response is just your wound trying to protect itself from being hurt again, but there comes a time when then the wound’s response has served its purpose of protection and it overstays its welcome.
It is like a cast for a broken bone. The cast is necessary to help the bone heal and recover so that your body is able to use it again. The ultimate goal is for function to be restored. Then the time comes when the cast’s purpose is fulfilled and needs to come off. If the cast stays on longer than it is needed the skin becomes irritated, the nerves become damaged, and the joint becomes stiffened. What originally was meant to help turned into something that caused harm. The cast’s job was meant to heal the bone for it to continue functioning along with the rest of the body, but now it has caused more harm than good.
This is the same for core wounds. The immediate fight, flight, or freeze response from core wounds may be necessary for a time, but when it begins to cause more harm than good it may be time to address them. As mentioned before, core wounds keep us from connecting with others and the world around us. But, what if those core wounds that once isolated and pulled you away could be used as a source of connection and healing? Carl Rogers makes the statement, “I have found that the very feeling which has seemed to me most private, most personal and hence most incomprehensible by others, has turned out to be an expression for which there is a resonance in many other people. It has led me to believe that what is most personal and unique in each one of us is probably the very element which would, if it were shared or expressed, speak most deeply to others”. Offering our vulnerability and unique stories to others gives us a way to connect on a deep level with one another. Henri Nouwen describes this vulnerability like this, “This is a painful and self-denying experience, but it is an experience that can indeed lead each of us out of our prisons of confusion and fear”. Allowing your healing process to include connection not only mends your own wounds but is able to touch the hearts of others as well.
We even see this call to connect in scripture. We are told that God not only comforts us during our struggles, but the body of Christ is also meant to connect and support one another. God recognizes that connection is crucial to human experience. Our God is able to take our hurts and wounds and use them for His glory, and using our wounds as connection with others is one way that He is able to do just that. He turns it into connection, healing for you, and maybe even healing for someone as well.
After the (metaphorical) cast comes off, and the bone has healed, there is a story to be told of where you have been and what you have conquered. There is not just “struggle” from our wounds; There is also a great healing power that springs forth from it as well.
Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 12:26 “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Hebrews 3:13 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
-Leah Willis – Work with Leah here!
References: Nouwen, H. J. M. (1972). The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. Doubleday Religion.