Recently, I went on a beautiful, peaceful week-long retreat in the mountains of Arizona. The retreat focused on holy yoga training, but with an emphasis on healing. One of the first questions we were asked as we arrived was, “How far in are you willing to go?” We were asked to imagine a doorway with Jesus on one side of it and ourselves on the other side. As He opened the door and looked at us face to face all He asked was, “How far in are you willing to go?”
As I sat that first night and pondered over this image, I let my imagination take over. I imagined a beautiful lush, green hillside full of wildflowers and vegetation. I imagined a small wooden door opening as I came face to face with Jesus. As I looked past Him, I saw a mess. Tables overturned, chairs on their sides, people that had hurt me that I never wanted to see again, and people I hurt that I was embarrassed to see again. Behind him were all of my hurts and burdens that I had carried for so many years, all of the crutches and habits I had used to mask or numb the hurts, and all of the masks I wore to tell the world that I was just fine.
Some of the mess had been cleaned up, but some that I thought were cleaned didn’t look so spectacular after looking a second or third time. They looked dingy and faded. Some of it still had pain attached and wasn’t cleaned up at all, but instead it looked glossed over. It reminded me of the cleaning job of a teenager. At first glance things looks clean, but they were still smudged and dirty underneath the surface. Perhaps to an untrained eye it appeared clean, but with closer inspection the fingerprints and caked on dirt was still there.
I could have stayed focused on all of that, but Jesus caught my attention and lifted my gaze to His eyes and then to over His shoulder. He whispered, “Look past the mess!” As my eyes lifted over the mess and the past, I looked toward the far end of the room that seemed miles away and I saw a picture window full of light. I wondered in my heart what that window opened up to show. I yearned to get to that window. I wanted nothing else in that moment than to be standing at that window looking out on whatever was beyond it. But I knew there was work to be done, heart and soul work, which is sometimes the hardest kind!
Throughout the week I walked past hurts and wounds that I thought were healed and whole, but I came to realize weren’t quite completely scarred over. They were still easily opened up with a word, a look, or a circumstance that brought me back to the pain, and sometimes a false identity lie of myself. Each time, Jesus would stop me and we would work out what the Truth of my identity was and each time the wound would get healed a little bit more.
By the end of the week, I went back to the hillside image and realized that I had walked the long distance through that messy room of abandonment and false identity to stand before the window that I had seen at the beginning of the week. Jesus stood with His hands on my shoulders and whispered, “Look! Behold the beauty and abundant life that is ahead of you!”
As I looked out the window, my eyes fell on the most gorgeous landscape full of life! I watched beautiful rivers glistening in the sunlight and I noticed trees full of fruit. I listened as wildlife frolicked and sang without a care in the world. As I looked out onto the land full of goodness, I felt free and full. I felt pure joy! I felt contentment! I was myself in my truest form. I was who I was created to be. I finally BELIEVED in my heart and in the marrow of my bones that I was a beloved daughter that was created in her Father’s image. All of the past hurts and burdens were gone. I had been brought back to my original design before all of life had happened and it was in that space that I found my true self.
To get there, it required trust and transparency, requiring no performance, only presence. I had to be willing to let go of everything, but hold onto only one thing, Jesus. It required handing Him my heart and asking Him to examine it in its entirety and trusting Him to give it back to me whole and healthy. I had to lay down the various masks I wore, even with myself, and let Him see me bare and vulnerable without any defenses or excuses. It required being still and listening, really listening. It was hard and scary, but it was so worth it. The more I did it, the easier it became. As the week went on, I gained momentum and every day I learned a little bit more about me and my Savior.
We all have areas of our lives that we want to change or characteristics about ourselves that we want to improve, but are we willing to come face to face with our Savior and say, “I’m all in! No matter where you take me or what you show me…I’m willing to follow you!”
So let me ask you…How far in are you willing to go? Will you follow where He leads you, even if it hurts for a little while? Are you willing to trust that on the other side of that mess is freedom? Would you be willing to examine parts of your life that you thought were healed and whole and let Him tell you whether they really are or not? Can you let Him take you back there time and time again until HE is satisfied with the healing? He desperately wants to set you free, will you let Him? How far in are you willing to go?
I have been graciously pointed to a few resources over the years. If you are just beginning your journey of healing let me offer these suggestions to you. Some are books and some are bible studies, but the most recent thing that I have found to be effective is mediation centered on God’s word. Check out the list below and know that I am praying for full and complete healing of each heart reading this blog.
Breaking Free by Beth Moore
Healing for Damaged Emotions by David A. Seamands
Experiencing God by Henry T. Blackaby
Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson (There is going to be a bible study at the Cypress campus starting in a few weeks based on this book. Check out registration on the BCF app)
www.cultivateconnection.ca - bible based meditation
Abide – meditation app found in the App store
All my love,