A couple of weeks ago, I had a few days that felt like I just could not win. There were two or three things that my heart was hopeful for, and one by one, they fell through — hard. The whole week felt like a punch I didn’t see coming until I was on the ground.
You know what I did? I went shopping. My heart was disappointed, and I opted for a little pick-me-up instead of a pity party. And you know what? I felt better. But only for about ten minutes. Then disappointment settled over me again, and it brought a friend — sadness. I was out of town and really didn’t want to delve into those emotions, so I drove back to the house and opened Friends on Netflix. (If you haven’t spent any time in 2015 binge watching Friends, step into the light, friend. It’s hysterical.) That worked, too. But only for the duration of the show. As the credits rolled across the screen, unwanted emotions rolled back into my heart.
I felt like I was taking the disappointing news much harder than I should have. My heart started sifting through tough questions. “Why am I having such a hard time working through today? What is causing this disappointment to sting so deeply? Why don’t I feel better yet?” And Jesus came into that moment, His sweet answer flooring me.
“Oh, child, you are medicating, but not healing.”
I felt that truth wash over my wounds. This was not about a single day of disappointments. This was about soul-deep issues I’d glossed over with shopping trips and Netflix marathons and a hundred other things, not just that day, but for an entire season. Each little disappointment was like a new cut on top of the initial wound, and I just kept putting new bandaids on top. I hadn’t stopped funneling things into my hurt long enough to see that it wasn’t getting better.
Medicating is easy. Temporary, but easy. It’s swiping a card, clicking play on a screen, sipping a drink, tapping out a text message. I’m not saying there’s not a time and place for those things. What I am saying is that they can sometimes function as bandaids on gaping wounds, covering a problem but not really doing anything about it.
Healing, though, is hard. Healing takes work. Persistent, painful, messy work. But grace meets you in the middle of the mess. There is something beautiful about working through brokenness instead of avoiding it.
Instead of sliding another bandaid over my old wounds, I’m learning to dig into them. Clean them out. Stitch them up.
I don’t know what you use to “medicate” your pain. It may not be as easily identifiable as the ones I’ve named, but if you search it out, I know you’ll find something. It’s human nature to seek out an easy fix, but it’s God-honoring & to chase after wholeness. Will you step into the hard work of healing? We all have some to do. There is always restoration to work toward & grace deeper than we could dive. This is where it starts. Put down the medicine. Step into the healing.