The Open-Wound

Last Updated: November 9, 2023By 5.5 min readCategories: Faith Talks

Thank goodness for therapists.

 

 

My therapist, B, very gently suggested in our session the other day when I was having a not-so-easy time, “we all fear the unknown because we, as humans, crave to know what we don’t know.” How true is that? Can you remember a time when existing in the unknown felt particularly painful? Well, my most recent time was last Wednesday, in therapy, creating a situation born out of my own fear and my past–a wound I compulsively picked at, mindlessly wiping the blood up each time, and wondering why the scab wouldn’t just heal over.

 

In AA, I learned about fear spiraling–tracing your deepest, darkest fear to its center. When you get to the center, things no longer feel as scary because once you’ve seen the very worst thing that can happen, often times it’s easier to comprehend what is actually happening vs. what we are superimposing onto our reality due to past trauma and anxiety. B says in therapy, they call it “riding the wave.” As in, you feel your way through the lows and the highs, but you fight the bodies invitation to react–instead you act as a spectator, considering the act before you, but not commenting on it.

 

I tend to take a hot shower whenever I start feeling out of control, overwhelmed, and/or any other emotion which leaves me feeling compulsive and like a rapidly growing unease (picture Alice as she suddenly starts to grow way too big for her house). Whatever you call it, the goal is the same: make you feel through your fear before you fear through it. When flight or fright has been activated with an overwhelming intensity repeatedly, it can be difficult to know if the feelings of doubt, confusion, dreariness, _____ insert other emotion here, come from your gut (that all-knowing, truth-telling hum) or your collaged fear + trauma which work in tandem to flip the hyper-intense can’t-handle-this-must-abort place.

 

 

How many times have you thought to yourself, maybe I just need a pause?

 

Maybe this yes needs to be a no!

 

Maybe, I need to ask a different question.

 

Maybe, I need to act instead of react.

 

Maybe, I need to sleep on it.

 

Maybe, I need to ask for help.

 

Maybe, I need to pray on it.

 

Maybe, I need to think about what I know vs. what I think I know.

 

Maybe, my doubt is actually the Devil.

 

When we act out of fear, we act from a scarred place.

 

Picture an open wound. Exposed too soon, it gathers dust and grit. You’re more prone to reopening the unhealed tissue perhaps even leading to an infection.

 

When we operate with fear in the driver’s seat, we operate as if we are an open wound.

 

How do we heal?

 

I love the quotes from The Law of Attraction!

 

We operate from a place of faith. God can help soothe us way better than we can. We can apply some antiseptic. Perhaps, we need to use a bandage and give the wound a few extra days of TLC. Perhaps, we are left with a scar. Perhaps, nothing at all, but the memory of what once was.

 

I once sat in an Al Anon meeting. The meeting ended at 9:00pm. At 8:50 the doors opened and a woman ran through. Upon sitting down, she raised her hand and asked to share. What she said has resonated with me since I first heard her words almost 10 years ago: “I decide when I want to start this day over again. I am deciding to begin again.

 

We may have spent all day living in fear, but perhaps a talk with a trusted confident, a walk outside in the sunshine, a yummy meal, and/or just a change of heart allows us to put down the heavy baggage of fear and pickup the light, humbling experience of faith.

 

 

Faith doesn’t make everything easy or okay, but it allows us to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and communicate from a healed place vs. a wounded place.

 

Ever hear that saying, the only way out is through? The only way we get to a similar place to that woman from my meeting is through being intentional about how we come at life. Her choice is attainable by every single one of us. Often times, our fear lies to us way louder than our truth ever speaks. Learn to tune into your truth even if that means dialing up the volume WAY loud. I remember my first day of college how loud and colorful and frankly embarrassing the move-in process was, but I easily figured out where I had to go, what I had to do, and I never forgot all of the boas and sparkly pom poms. (I went to Emerson College in Boston in case you’re curious). Come at your fear like a RA on move-in day: adamantly, excitedly, and with way more sparkle than you think necessary.

 

 

Another way to look at fear vs. faith is to look at the writing process.

 

We must reread our work before hitting publish.

 

We must make edits where needed.

 

If we need to issue a correction to a previous day’s work, we can do so knowing we know more now than we did then.

 

Trying to operate through life without faith is like baking a cake without the flour and eggs. The ingredients which hold the cake together are necessary likewise faith holds us up and without it we fall into our own devices which often lead us down dicey roads, extreme feelings of discomfort, and even self-soothing via any means necessary like drugs and alcohol.

 

We don’t get to decide what happens to us, but we do get to decide how we act. When we make the active choice to work on God’s time, our margin for error shrinks, our wounds heal, and we no longer act out from fear, but in from love with great care.

 

 

 

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