A dear friend of mine is walking through some deep healing. I love this person fiercely and I know that the pain she has endured has been debilitating. She is a brave soul. She could have chosen to bury her grief and “get over it”, but for the health of her marriage and parenting, she’s not hiding from her heart.
In my experience, she is exceptional. Most of us are not that courageous. We fear addressing our brokenness. And counseling or therapy are like cuss words that are not suitable for polite conversation. Or perhaps a secret disease that we shouldn’t talk about in public. Like catching herpes or something, we don’t feel we can talk openly about needing help emotionally. It’s as though there’s a shame attached to it. We don't want others to see that we don't have our stuff together. And particularly in the Church, we can feel a pressure to communicate to others that we are OK. We even hide from God. We sing praises to him and give Him all the good things, but we hold back the deep and ugly places of our hearts. We don't want anyone, including God, to think that we lack faith or that we are simply crazy. So we bury our pain in hopes that it will go away. But the wounds linger in the depths of our hearts.
We don’t fault a person for needing physical therapy after they have a car accident, so why do we feel like we have failed when we need help after an emotional trauma? Divorce. Miscarriage. Job loss. Rejection. Abuse. Robbery. Assault. These are all traumas to the soul, and yet we quick to tell ourselves that we should pull ourselves together and "get over it".
The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV) Wow. Everything we do - work, rest, and play, all comes from our hearts. The heart is the rudder that will change the course and direction of our lives. But if a heart has experienced a trauma, and it has never healed, how can anything in life thrive? How can our relationships, careers, and faith journeys grow in a positive way? How can our lives reflect Jesus when we shut our hearts down and bury our injuries?
We see the dangers of not dealing with our wounds in the life of King Saul. Both Saul and David were chosen by God to be king. They both had their strengths, they both led Israel to military victories, and both had every earthly possession they could want. And while David is known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), Saul is known as a jealous king who spent most of his reign hunting David down.
Jealousy is not born out of a whole, emotionally healthy heart. Jealousy arises from our insecurities. We look at another person and we want what they have. Like King Saul, we might possess all the wealth we could want, have all the power and autonomy we could dream of, and have succeeded in our chosen careers, but still, someone can come along and their very presence brings out our ugly emotions. David was just a shepherd who knew how to play an instrument, but after Goliath’s defeat, Saul was consumed with jealousy. David received the highest praise of Israel and this paralyzed Saul. His ugly emotions surfaced and he was powerless to control them. His crazy drove him to hunt David down. It didn’t matter what he owned or achieved, he wanted David dead.
David messed up in his life too. Like Saul, David wanted something that belonged to another. He wanted Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. He wanted her so badly that he sent Uriah to the front line so he would be killed. At this point in his career he could have had any woman he wanted (he was the king!) but his ugly emotions caused him to murder another man just so he could marry Bathsheba.
BUT…when David saw the error of his ways (2 Samuel 12), he was humble enough to confess and repent. His jealousy did not drive him. Instead his humility led him to repentance. I often wonder what David did for all those years as a shepherd. He would have been alone for hours and hours. He was known as a talented musician (1 Samuel 16:18) so perhaps he sat in the fields, playing and singing? Maybe he was talking with God about life? Maybe he was addressing his own hurts and disappointments with God? Maybe he was processing his frustrations and pain? And even though I am not sure what David did in the fields, it certainly appears that he did the work that was needed to become emotionally healthy. Despite setbacks in life (his brothers didn’t think much of him, he had to wait years to become king, and the king wanted him dead), David’s insecurities did not govern him.
Saul, on the other hand, became consumed with pride and jealousy. He was determined to kill David. He was so broken that this unhealthy obsession took over his life and he would not stop until David was dead.
One king had dealt with their emotional traumas, while the other did not. One became a king “after God’s own heart”, the other was rejected by God. Both had issues, but only one was brave enough to deal with them.
When God is leading you to address your brokenness, it’s not because you are crazy, it’s because He wants you to succeed in life. Like David, you may have sat on the sidelines for years. You may have been misunderstood by your siblings (1 Samuel 17:28), you may have been continually rejected by your leader, but choosing to operate out of emotional wholeness is the key to your success. Opening your heart to God and others is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Like my friend, you are the brave ones who are being prepared for success. You can be the king of one of the most powerful nations on the planet, but if you have not dealt with your past, your past will dominate you. You will be driven by insecurity.
Your heart is precious. Your heart is loved. And your heart will determine your future. God wants to give you success. Let Him have access to your heart. Let Him make the broken places beautiful! Let God’s truth soothe the torment in your soul. Grieve. Process. Embrace the pain so that healing can embrace you.