Resurrecting the Boy

*#&%!!@!!

Haven’t been able to get back to reading just for selfish purposes these days, but this morning have been going through “The Way of the Wild Heart” again when God picked it up and hit me over the back of the head with it.  I nearly cried:

Haven’t you had that experience, when suddenly some part of you feels very young?  Maybe somebody gets mad at you, threatens to leave you—just like what happened when you were a boy.  Maybe you’ve been asked to give a talk before a crowd, and something in you freezes.  A group of men are laughing and joking easily, but you can’t join in.  Something happens that was all too much like something that hurt you when you were young and in that moment, you don’t feel much like a man at all.  You feel like a boy inside.  The reason you feel this way is that some part of you IS still a boy.

This is why conventional counseling often fails to bring lasting healing.

For understanding does not equal healing.  Clarity does not equal restoration.  Many men understand their wounds, can talk about them with great clarity.  They knew what happened, what life was like with — or without — their father.  Yet, they remain unfinished men, haunted by their memories, crippled by the wounds.  Their addictions remain, their fears remain,  the lack of wholeness remains.  And by the way, it doesn’t take a major assault like sexual abuse to create a broken heart.  Many men assume they haven’t any real brokenness within because they haven’t endured the horrors they read about in the paper or watch on TV.  Depending on the age or circumstances, it can be an embarrassing moment like stuttering in front of the class, or a harsh word from your mother.

Remember now—the human heart was designed to grow up in a world of love and security, a world where we are known and prized each and every day—a world very, very different from the world anyone actually grows up in, living now so far from Eden.  The heart is a tender thing and easily broken, especially when we are young.  That is why Jesus offers to heal the brokenhearted:

The Spirit of the Soverign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.  (Isa. 61:1, NIV).

Understanding the proposition that a boy needs to grow up in a world made safe by his father—a world full of adventures and surprises and above all a father’s love—understanding this is not enough for our restoration.  Understanding that we might, in fact, have endured some painful things in our youth is not enough for our restoration.  We need a different kind of medicine.  We need God to come for the boy within.

Exactly now God comes to heal the human heart is a deep mystery, but it works something like this: He will often arrange for some event to make us feel just as we did when we were boys and our hearts were broken.  Feeling again what we felt then, or perhaps suddenly a memory surfaces, we have an opportunity not to push it away, or run to the refrigerator, or get angry at someone (however it is we typically handle these emotions).  Rather, we invite God to come to the broken place within us, come and find the orphaned boy within and embrace him.  We ask the Father to come and heal our broken hearts, rescue the boy and bring him home.  Perhaps this prayer can be a beginning:

O Father, yes—I need you.  I need your love, need you to come for the boy within.  Wherever he is hiding, whatever holds him down, come for him, Father.  I give you my permission, I renounce the ways I, too, have rejected him, pushed him away.  I want to see him restored.  Come and embrace him.  Let me know I am your Beloved Son.

I have this tendency to minimize the pain.  To tell myself that nothing is healed, nothing is solved to play the victim.  A real man, I keep saying, takes full responsibility for his actions, regardless the influence of his past.  But now I’m seeing that while that feeling is true, it’s also an excuse to never feel victimized again, even when it is sometimes necessary to go back to that time of victmization in order to bring God into the hurt and move forward.  At some point, to do that, you have to be honest about the things that wounded you (and perhaps continue to wound you) so that you can ask God to enter RIGHT THERE into the pain and help you move through it.  To not do this is to run the risk of continually churning up reactions to that old pain that we cannot understand, fears and weakness and addiction that keep us from being that which God would have us be.

I find it easier to go to the refrigerator, or to the movies, or to sit on the computer and draw, than I do to find that place of temporary victimhood.

I’m still trying to figure out how all this works, especially in light of yesterday.  I went to church in a bit of a hurry yesterday because we’ve had a visiting pastor, Dr. Bruce Ware, Professor of Christian Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  His topic, a break in our normal study, was “Beholding the God of Self-Sufficient Fullness.”  I was tired going into the service.  I have this habit now of staying up until around 1 in the morning, regardless of when I need to be up the next day, and I didn’t have enough sleep.  I was tired emotionally as well, dealing with the fact I’m financially poor and soon to be even poorer.  So as is now habit, I asked God to meet me at church, and we’d get together at His house.  I needed to hear from Him.

So Dr. Ware is marching along on how God does not NEED us, and I’m in and out of the message, when I hear: “The next verse should have a warning, like a pack of cigarettes.  Warning: this verse will be harmful to your pride.”  He reads from Isaiah and informs us that God not only sees us as nothing, but as less than nothing.

Now I KNOW what he meant.  He meant that we sometimes live under this delusion that God needs us in order to be God, or in order to meet some need that God may have.  He doesn’t.  In terms of meeting God’s needs, He doesn’t have any.  He is self-fulfilled.  He did go on to say that this did not mean that God did not find great WORTH in us, the proof of which is the cross.

See, I know that.

But that’s not what my heart heard.

My heart heard that I mean less than nothing to God.  Suddenly, another verse entered my tired little brain, about God giving more to those already blessed and to those who have little, he would take away even more.  Weak, tired, I let the lies wash over me and uncover every fear and anxiety that I was holding onto.  Some part of me that didn’t trust, some part of me that had been hurt and let down before felt that God was not only NOT going to meet my needs, but that He was going to let me fall even further into poverty and destitution—that old wound had come rushing to the surface and the Accuser was working it with skill, like Zorro lighting a cigarette with his bullwhip.  Now none of this has even the faintest handshake with spiritual reality, but that doesn’t matter.  Some part of the boy inside of me that didn’t trust his father translated a fragment of an idea into fear and terror, then loathing a God that would continue to punish me for being so much less than I should be. so He would want me to suffer even more.

The very definition of insanity.  But also, a very real illustration of this problem.  The landmines within us come from those broken places of so long ago, and that continuing to push that wounded little boy back into the past where “he belongs” isn’t doing ourselves any favors, and that God seeks to heal us often by going back to that little boy and embracing him fully.  In order to do that, the little boy has to be exposed in order to be embraced.  It’s that exposure that terrifies so many of us men.

So today, having read this and realizing that my study of the problems in my life that have led to this awareness of a broken masculinity is not sufficient on its own; that
“understanding does not equal healing…clarity does not equal restoration,” I find myself going back to that little boy who was so hurt so often lo these many years ago and asking the True Father to help me deal with those childish hurts of so long ago.

O Father, yes—I need you.  I need your love, need you to come for the boy within.  Wherever he is hiding, whatever holds him down, come for him, Father.  I give you my permission, I renounce the ways I, too, have rejected him, pushed him away.  I want to see him restored.  Come and embrace him.  Let me know I am your Beloved Son.

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~ by WriterRand on March 26, 2007.

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