Last night I sent another response to my brother-in-law. He had written me several weeks ago and asked me five, rather in-depth questions.
I was trying to respond to his question with the significant changes or impacts I had experienced because of Celebrate Recovery over the last year. I think I gave him several distinct things I can see but I know that there are more. The problem is that what seems so clear one moment is faded weeks later when I try to recall it. I need to carry my journal with me and write this stuff down.
As I opened my copy of “Wild At Heart” by John Eldredge this morning I get this: “That is the way we are with our wound, especially men. We bury it deep and never take it out again. But take it out we must, or better, enter into it.”
It was about this time last year that the Boot Camp experience began for me. God had warned me before hand that he was going to open a large wound in me. Standing in line for lunch I looked back at the table where I had placed my belongings. I had chosen this seat so that I could spend a few moments with the guy that had worked so hard to get me here. That is when I see my stuff getting moved to another spot by none other than one of our pastors that had gone. He is a big man, a football coach, and he used to repossess cars to make money while he was in college. At that moment I could care less who he was, because you are not more important than me, and you are not moving my stuff to convenience yourself. This idea that I am worthy of importance is so foreign to me, and in total opposition to the way I was raised, for mom made sure that I understood that everyone is more important than me.
It is easy to defer to someone and typically falls under mere human decency, but when you have lived with a prisoners mentality all your life, a life in which you rarely saw anyone show you respect, you come to a point at which you will snap, and you may react with an in-human rage. That was me at that moment.
I refuse to recount all the things that went through my mind as I stood in line that day. I had been bullied all my life, and at some point I determined no more. The Spirit of the Lord started speaking to me immediately and said, “I warned you that I was going to open a wound in you, and you are not going to do any of those things you just thought. Now go and quietly sit down where he moved your stuff. I will take care of him.” I did.
Something I think I need to clarify. As I looked back at my belongings being moved, my friend looked at me and then spoke to the pastor. The pastor in turn looked back at me too, and made one of his sarcastic faces that told me tough nuts pal, you got moved.
Just moments after sitting the pastor begins to say something to me. I think he got three words out when I said, Don’t you say a word to me! He stopped immediately, but continued his conversation with my friend. Soon he was gone. Almost immediately my friend walked around the table to me and said, he did not know it was your stuff. To which I angrily replied, I would not have moved your stuff, and he too walked away.
Bullied all my life I had learned to put up a huge defense system to prevent incidents like this from happening anymore. Much of my defense system entailed keeping unsafe people at a distance. I sometimes wonder how God was able to get past all that. If I had not intentionally begun, years before, to find out what the character of God was really like he may not have. My efforts to understand his character demonstrated to me that He was jealous over me, and would have sent his only Son just to die for me that day. God reaffirmed to me that day that he wanted me healed, and when I calmed down, he told me what to say to the pastor. I had to tell this pastor that I loved him and affirm him, to his face, that he was my leader.
I shed a lot of tears that weekend, and still do as God reveals to me more of the areas of wounding. A thought comes to me as I write. I have been watching Saving Private Ryan, a very emotional movie for me. At one point, Wade, the medic, takes a deadly bullet wound through his lung. Clearly in pain and bleeding to death he asks the Captain, “are there any wounds that are bleeding more than the others?” I have been wounded so many times; perhaps God went after the one that may have been bleeding more than the others.
I sit in various groups and every one of them is filled with men that have been wounded in so many ways. There is only one hope for any of them, and it is in their submitting their lives to Jesus Christ. In Celebrate Recovery we make it very clear from the start that there is only one higher power, and his name is Jesus Christ. We don’t exclude anyone, but you can tell who the followers of Christ are, for as they stand before you, introducing themselves, they will most likely say, Hi, my name is …… I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, and I am celebrating recovery over ……… .
It is so easy to join the family of God and come into restoration. Start by telling God that you are powerless to fix this yourself, and that you would like for Jesus, the Son of God, to come into your life and take it over. He will and the healing with begin.