By Abigail D Fuller
Marriage & Family Therapist Associate, AMFT, MA
We’ve all heard the term “time heals all wounds”, but why then when your boss tells you that your work is inadequate, do you hear the faint whisper of a parent telling you your grades aren’t good enough? Or when you scroll through Instagram, do you feel that same chill of imperfection as you did at 15, navigating high school for the first time.
As a counselor, I have seen so many people walk into my office feeling defeated by the fact they are still being affected by things that happened years ago, or something they feel is “insignificant” and shouldn’t have this power over them. But pain is relative. In Samuel R. Chand’s book “Leadership Pain”, he shares about his experience growing up in India and seeing thousands of individuals suffering from the disease of leprosy who are often missing body parts. The common misconception with lepers is that their flesh is rotting away, however, this is not the case. The reason why these individuals are often missing toes, fingers, or their ears is because the disease inhibits the individual’s ability to feel pain (Chand, 2015). Imagine if you broke your leg, but you couldn’t feel pain to know it was broken? Imagine the continued toll this would have on your leg, impeding the healing process.
Pain isn’t our enemy. In Samuel Chand’s book, he addressed the idea that when Jesus heals lepers in the Bible, he is actually giving them the ability to feel and experience pain again. What if we choose to see experiencing pain as a gift? Knowing that the wrongs that have been done to us are a real cause for distress and a way for our bodies to tell us, “hey, something is not okay”. Pain isn’t the problem. The problem is our unwillingness to validate our pain or fear to face it (Chand, 2015).
In therapy, often I utilize EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) when working with individuals battling anxiety, depression, and the impacts of trauma and childhood wounds. In my time as a therapist, my clients, both young and old, have taught me the valuable lesson that “time does notheal all wounds”. Rather, vulnerability, bravery, and a desire to change.
According to the EMDR International Association, “Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create feelings of overwhelm, of being back in that moment, or of being ‘frozen in time.’ EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved.” (EMDR International Association, n.d.)
What would it be like to walk away from a yearly review knowing confidently who you are in Christ despite what your boss said? To put aside social media, and find joy in your present season of life? To silence the voice inside your head that says, “You are a failure” and instead, hear the words that “You are enough” or “You are worthy”.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NASB). Jesus has set us free from our sin and the sins of others. Let us see our pain as a deeper call towards healing. Whether you want to work through major traumatic life events or have a desire to address the daily causes of anxiety, fear, and negative self-talk. There is hope for our chains to be broken from our past wounds. Not by giving time, but by allowing yourself a place to process and piece together truth. It is here that find freedom from the past.
Let’s fight the good fight together. We are here for you.
Chand, S. R. (2015). Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth.Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc
EMDR International Association. (n.d.). What is EMDR Therapy?Retrieved from emdria.org: https://www.emdria.org/page/what_is_emdr_therapy