“I just need a band-aid – a butterfly bandage!” That was the sobbing plead being made by a 10-year-old daughter. She had been at a friend’s house playing and her mom had just washed and waxed the kitchen floor. The girls had an idea. What if we got pillowcases and slid the length of the kitchen floor? The first couple of times was great fun until Kelsey decided to go headfirst into the cabinet doors slicing her chin wide open. Needless to say, we were called and off we went to the hospital emergency room.
Often when relationship issues happen, we just want to apply a band-aid when deep seeded emotional trauma has happened, and stitches are needed. According to one psychologist, emotional trauma is anything that causes a personal injury. However, to ‘stitch’ things up often means additional suffering. My daughter knew that stitches would require a numbing shot and some facial sewing, and that scared her even more. So much so, she begged to take the less painful way of just a butterfly bandage. As loving parents, we had to explain that the wound was too deep and that it was in a difficult place as she would stretch it every time she spoke or ate something. Stitches requiring some additional and temporary pain were the best choice.
At a recent Influence Lab Webinar, we delved into relationships with its multiple layers and how pain occurs and can hit in vulnerable places. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard the emotions of all of us. We also learned that life’s hard-hit emotional traumas can’t be locked into simple solution boxes. They are complex and can’t be healed quickly. They require ongoing trust and care and stitches from professional assistance and God’s wisdom.
The first place to begin healing is to admit that we need stitches and not a band-aid.
A recent Barna Research poll showed that 58% of Bible believing Christians say they have emotional issues that affect relationships. I would wager it is higher and we just don’t want to admit those issues even to ourselves. Of those that admitted to relationship issues, 40% said they were depressed and or had anxiety often. Hollywood is ripe with emotionally unhealthy people. Loneliness is one of the top emotional issues that all of us, if honest, would admit to succumbing to at some time in life. Marriages and families suffer. The emotional strain of a Hollywood or media career on marriage in fact has its own Wikipedia page. The United Kingdom hired in 2018 its first Minister of Loneliness because the problem was so rampant. Loneliness and depression infects every country today including the United States. The Surgeon General says depression and loneliness costs Americans 70 billion dollars annually and COVID has made it worse. We are a world united in grief over lost loved ones, jobs, businesses and lifestyles. Never has there been a greater need for God’s infusion of healing power than now.
What is really fueling it?
Studies show that our addiction to social media is the number one cause for our growing loneliness globally. Social media is causing us to be more polarized and disconnected rather than connected. Research has shown that when we take steps to disconnect our lives improve.
The Church has been known to be a sanctuary but truly it needs to be seen as a hospital in today’s digital messages and confusion. It needs to be a place of trusted wisdom that can provide emotionally secure caretakers to bring God’s healing salve as never before.
Are we up for it?
It has to start with us getting healthy first. We have to turn off the constant flow of social media and other digital platforms. We have to choose to take that time and engage ourselves with God intimately so that His wisdom and words can flow out of us to others. God’s breathe of life can only be experienced when we engage with Him personally at least four times a week or more and it is why I wrote my devotional Hope4Today. Churches have to become more than Sunday social clubs where we check in on our social standing or walk through the traditions of our faith. We have to be electrified conduits of God’s voice providing His healing remedies. We will never know those remedies if we aren’t reading and connecting with Him in the Bible and in prayer. Then, we have to accept and be open to His Biblical wisdom and that with it may bring words that are painful to hear. You may need stitches not a band-aid. His words spoken to your soul will touch emotional nerves and convict us of deep seeded issues that need to be opened, cleaned up and stitched up for good. They may be festering wounds that we have tried to put a band-aid on before rather than taken the more painful path to full healing closure.
When God heals, wounds are healed for good.
We may need time to learn to trust Him and forgive because forgiving may require more pain than the original wound. We may need to deal with our own anger and bitterness first in order to choose God’s healing hands and not our own. My daughter didn’t want to choose the harder more painful healing path. But as a loving parent, I knew it was the best decision. As long as we stay a victim to emotional trauma, we actually become vulnerable to sinning ourselves. We put ourselves in a place of being haughty and thinking we are better than the one who may have caused us pain and suffering. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23).
Psychologists can be helpful with the science of what happens to us when emotional trauma occurs, but God goes further. He deals with our heart which often means we have to bypass our logical thinking and let our heart choose. When we are injured emotionally, we often harden our heart to forgiving fully (even forgiving ourselves) in an effort to stop the pain. God’s healing stitches of our heart reaches in deeper than just the psychological, it reaches into our eternal soul. God’s Word tells us to “build our house upon ‘The Rock’” so that when the storms of life prevail, we won’t be destroyed. Start by asking God to build your house (security) with His enduring strength. Then search out the many churches, ministries, and organizations today providing resources in your area that can assist with the repairing of your emotional trauma. If you are at the end of your rope, know that the national hotline for suicide is a phone call away.
Emotional trauma can be easily covered up, or at least we think we keep it hidden. We stuff it down inside us by overeating, take drugs, drinking alcohol and some even cut themselves hoping to distract themselves from their inner pain. In today’s media addicted culture, entertainment, pornography, video gaming, social media and other media distractions are often the number one choice to dull and avoid pain. It is like getting the numbing shot before the stitches but never getting stitched up and just putting a band-aid over it. The pain may go away for a time, but it always comes back. What is required is the Great Physicians miraculous hands. He is the only true One who can seal our soul wounds.
Paul writes this in Hebrews 12:13 (TPT), “So be made strong even in your weakness by lifting up your tired hands in prayer and worship. And strengthen your weak knees, for as you keep walking forward on God’s paths all your stumbling ways will be divinely healed!”
What will you choose today? Band-aid or the lasting stitches of God?