Episode 76 – Processing and Healing from your Past Pains
In response to a listener’s email, Josh and Kit walkthrough, at a high level, some steps to process through and heal from our past wounds.
1. Acknowledge your wounds
2. Grieve the pain, the wound, the loss
5. Identifying lies and agreements and renouncing those
6. Deliverance from Demonic spirits and influences
7. Taking steps forward
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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.
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So we got another email from a listener who had listened to our podcast, a recent podcast we did on parenting, out of fear. And part of what brought it for her, she’s single, she doesn’t have kids. And so part of what it brought up for her was a realization that she’s got some past wounds related to her parents and the way that they parented her. And we won’t get into all the details of what she’s dealing with. But here’s what she wrote. She said, what I’m wrestling with and was wondering if you might speak to in a podcast at some point, is how to, as an adult, how do you process through some of that pain, disappointment and anger from the past? And she mentioned that she has a specific realization that that she can trace some of her current struggles with sexual sexual sins back to some of her experiences in childhood.
Josh: 01:14 So how do you process deal with literal wounds and pains, disappointments from your past? We do that all the time. Regeneration. So we were going to take up this podcast and give a quick survey through some of the steps, if we can call it that, towards healing from your past. So kit, welcome back. Thanks. Here we go again. We’re going to fly by and we’re going to talk about, we have about seven different categories. There’s probably more, there are volumes written about this, but here we go. Here. Here’s where you start. And I think that this, this a, the writer, the email has already done this. But here, here’s where you start. You start by acknowledging your wounds, acknowledging that there actually are wounds in the past. Yeah.
And that’s really important because honestly, when I meet with people and I know this from my own life, that we’re unaware, we know that there’s some things that we’re dealing with struggling with, coping with, and we don’t kind of know the root. And so we, we just really don’t realize that there are wounds. And so being able to acknowledge them and be like, Oh wow, when I tell you my story, there are parts when I stop and I go, Ooh, that’s it. That hurts. And so that’s really important to, to do that. And then also to feel free to talk about it because the second thing that people say is, Oh, I feel really bad talking about my parents like this. And it’s okay because all parents make mistakes. All parents wound their kids. And then as a part of our healing, as you know, people who are growing up and wanting to be mature in, in a, in our faith, it’s an important step. So it’s okay, we can honor our parents by saying, we know that they did this out of their brokenness. We have our own brokenness, but we need to be able to talk about it and it’s okay.
And I think as we walked through the, the other six areas, it’ll actually free people up to do a better job of honoring parents then denying the truth of, of where parents are. Others in our lives in the past actually did wound us. Yes. So parents are one category can be peers, it can be grandparents or neighbors. So a whole slew of people that we have relationships with where we can ended up end up with, with wounds in our past. I think the thing that happens for people is there’s kind of this idea that well I think it like what we grew up with was normal for us. And so there’s some times where we don’t realize we’re wounded. So I love what you said about kind of just paying attention to, I just had this experience and something kind of triggered me or I felt kind of hurt in some way. Like sometimes that can be a clue to our, to our past and like this, this right. Or this email included. Sometimes our current sin struggles that are going away can be an indication that their wounds from our past that we still haven’t dealt with. So even being willing to kind of explore that with the Lord with the help of a spiritual coach or mentor would be just great.
That makes me think about a recent experience I had where I was having a conversation with my husband and he said something in such a way that made me feel like he was abrupt or impatient. And, and I responded inordinately, like it was an over response. And I remember that I just sat with it a little bit and I remember my dad would really talk very disrespectfully to my mom and I would watch that and it would hurt me and it would bother me and I, but I, you know, I didn’t pry, I didn’t know that until I started to realize it was impacting me in right now in my life. So being able to sit with that process, that has been really, really helpful. Yeah. So that’s, that’s the first thing. Acknowledging the wounds, acknowledging the loss, the cost, the pain of the past. And
From there, and I’m not trying to give these as steps that you walk through. I think some of these can be circular. Sometimes you can experience something and then come back to it later. But another step is, is to grieve the wound. Grieve the pain, grieve the loss. The reality is that I think a lot of us, especially in the West, and maybe especially men, but I know this happens for women too. We acknowledge that something went wrong. We acknowledge that there was a, something painful in our past, but we don’t actually give ourselves room and permission to grieve it, to feel it, to let ourselves cry about it, to let ourselves get angry about it, to let ourselves walk through just the confusion of how could that person have done that to me. And what does that mean? I mean,
About, about where I am. Greetings, hugely important. And this is so important because we really need to be able to realize that all of us have hopes and dreams about what our relationship is going to be like with our mom or dad or you know, any number of things. And they’re going to fall short of our hopes and expectations. And so to be able to say, wow, I didn’t realize that I really had all these ideas in my mind about what it should be. And I have, I have to really
Grieve that, that it’s not only isn’t that, but that it was something far worse than I could’ve imagined. And I need to be able to be sad about that and to be able to say that really impacted me in the, and it’s, and it’s an authentic experience for me to realize that that really hurt me. And that really grieves me now as well as in the moment. Yeah. I remember times for me growing up where I remember some specific time where I was talking to a youth leader or a guy who did not know very well at all about my parents’ divorce. And I remember him saying to me, that must’ve really hurt. And my parents divorced when I was two or three. I mean, I didn’t remember it and I kind of just blew it off. I was like, Oh no, I get to, you know, get to visit my dad and I get to be with my mom.
I get the best of both worlds, but blonde. And he, he just didn’t buy it. He didn’t push, but he just kinda like, Hm. You know? And then years later I realized, just hope, how profoundly that, that experience impacted my life. And, and I began to grieve it. And man, I was kind of, I was just, was actually taking them back with how much pain I had stuffed inside and it was kind of coming out sideways in different areas of my life, including sexual sin. Grief is connected. It’s, I, I think there’s a string between grief and joy between grief and peace. And if we don’t, if we, if we try to avoid the grief because it’s too scary to feel the pain, I think it actually puts a cap on the, on the authentic joy. We can experience it. The authentic piece we can walk in. I think that’s right. God does not invite us to grieve just so we can be miserable. He invites us to grieves that we can experience true resurrection. He is the man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief and he’ll be with there with us as we, as we grieve.
So next. Forgiveness. Yeah, and man, we’ve done podcasts on this and we’ll do more teachings on this. It’s a big, big topic. There’s a lot, lots of misunderstanding about what forgiveness is, but we don’t look at our past just to point a finger and blame people. We actually, our ultimate goal is to get to a place where we forgive specific wounds [inaudible] for specific wounds and it’s not kind of just a blanket yet by forgive everybody for all the things I’ve done wrong. To me, it’s really, I forgive this person for this thing they did that they should not have done or this thing they failed to do that they really should’ve done. And I think it’s so important, like you said, that it’s a, it’s an ongoing process because I think we can feel bad about ourselves or bad about God or something when something comes up and you’re like, wait, I already dealt with this.
I am, I have spent years on this. What is wrong with me? And instead be like, Oh, okay, there is another layer or another aspect and it’s, and it’s fine and it’s normal to be able to be like, wow, there’s still something there. And so in that moment, be able to be like, wow, Lord, I really want to give this to you. Again, it’s not that I haven’t made the decision to forgive, but there are some residuals and I just want to continue to give it to you and then ask him to like, will you, will you help me not ruminate on this? Will you help me? Like, let go of these thoughts that I can kind of
And advertently just go back to. And so that’s a, that’s an ongoing thing that I think we struggle with. We think that there’s something wrong if we, if we have to do it again and again, and it’s okay.
Yeah, I heard, I heard somebody make this comparison once and I don’t know what to think of it entirely, but I like the sentiment of it. He said, you know, you make your marriage vows on one day, but every day you choose to live them out. And I think there, there can be a parallel to forgiveness, choose to forgive this person for they did. But now I just ran into a situation where what they did is still impacting me today and in Deliv that forgiveness out again, a fresh and new today. And I need God’s help to do so. And I, you know, I don’t know. I think we’ve got on our website, I did a teaching at a church last year on forgiveness. It’s a little bit more exhaustive. We also did a previous podcast really wanna encourage listeners to go back and look at those things.
We’ll have those in our show notes because w like, you know, three minutes on forgiveness is really not enough, especially when we’re talking about significant wounds and when things I want to make comment on too. Going back to grief, I said these aren’t, you know, necessarily in order, but grief really is important. Grieving is really an important part of forgiveness because I think what happens too often, especially perhaps in Christian circles, is we know that we’re supposed to forgive. And so we forgive without really paying attention to how deep the wound goes. And I’m reminded here of Jesus on the cross who refused the, the numbing wine and felt fully and was fully cognitive about cognizant about what was being done to him in that pain saying, father, forgive them. And not that we have to feel every ounce of the pain that we’ve been through. Again, that’s not what I mean by that, but, but rather, what am I really forgiving this person for? And if we’ve kind of medicated or, or glossed over what’s been done, I think then the forgiveness, you know, if, if, if forgiveness requires, you know, if we were wounded a mile deep and we gloss over it and are we really forgiving the full mile or forgiving, you know, just a couple feet down,
Allow yourself to feel sufficient pain. You don’t want to park there. You don’t want to, you know, just stay there. But allowing yourself to feel that significant pain is tied to how deep you’re going to be able to forgive
And, and that, and forget the thing about forgiveness. Don’t do it on your own. You really need the support of others around you. People who can pray with you. I mean, not to sound cliche, it’s, it’s, it’s not a cliche really. The presence of our forgiving God who forgives, who can forgive the whole world. He forgives us. His forgiveness flowing through us makes a difference. And I remember a prayer time where we were doing some significant forgiveness work and I reached a point, I was like, Lord, I don’t have it in me to do this. And so I just asked, I said, Lord, I’m going to take a step and I asked that as I take this step to forgive that you would fill my forgiveness, my little poultry, attempted forgiveness with the fullness of your forgiveness. And it was a significant moment for me. So again, check out the other resources and forgiveness. But a really, really important piece of this whole part of, of dealing with and healing from our past. Next up, confession. So kit, what about what, why is confession a part of this? What, what do we mean by that? Why do we include that in this list?
Well, I think you know, when we get in touch with how things have wounded us, we also get in touch with how we’ve acted out from that wound. And so as we’re forgiving people for what they did to us or didn’t do for us, then we can be like, and Lord, I ask for your forgiveness for the ways that I have acted out and you know, not trusted you or looked to other things too, to bring me some kind of comfort or healing in that place other than you. And it’s just a, again, it’s just an honest, I’m coming before God and saying all of this was related forgiveness. Confession, how I’m living my life in ways I don’t want to, and you don’t want me to, you know, Lord, I know that when I confess that to you, you’ll hold it, you’ll receive it, and you’ll, you’ll, you’ll begin to release me and free me.
Yeah. And it’s not a matter of like trying to earn something from God. Like, Hey, if I, I guess I need to confess my sin so God will heal me from my past. That’s not it at all. Really. It’s, it’s that sin. Sin is our faulty attempt at, it’s kind of the soul’s attempt or the hearts attempt or something, you know, the flesh, his attempt is probably better. We’re saying the flesh is attempt at healing wounds from our past or dealing with, with inadequacies in ourselves and [inaudible].
And this isn’t because God wants us to confess so he can punish us and yeah. Yeah. You, you know, more just like when we confess, then we’re like, Oh, okay. I, I’m aware of this. I’m awake to this. I’m getting in touch with this. This is something that I can ask God to free me from.
It’s a simple model of confession is in the presence of, of a trustworthy Christian brother or sister. If you’re, if you’re of the, of a denomination that has a priest or a confessor simply something like this. Father, I confess that I did fill in the blank w and it was wrong. So some people have defined confession as simply agreeing with God about the wrong you’ve done. And again, not because God wants to push your heads in it because God wants to cleanse us from it. He doesn’t want us carrying around the guilt and the shame of it, he wants to free us. So it’s actually a real gift to us. We probably do more another podcast on confession alone. It’s not, especially in the evangelical circles I’ve been in, it’s not a big point of conversation. It’s kind of an afterthought if anything, but it’s been really freeing for a lot of people.
Next up is identifying lies and agreements and then renouncing those. And so one of things that happens for us when we’ve been wounded in the past or when we’ve been experience an area of neglect in our past, we try to make sense of what’s happened through a young child like grid. And that’s a place where the enemy in the world like to come in and try to get us to agree with something that’s faulty. And so we’ve talked about agreements before, but it’s this kind of concept of I’m trying to interpret, I’m trying to understand what’s happening to me. And so I’m 11 malevolent idea is slid across the table to us and, and kind of, you know, we’re invited to sign her name on that line. So an example of that would be a young girl who is, whose, whose, whose father has left her mom.
And so she’s growing up without a dad in the house and, and really feeling like the pain of the dad not being there. Here’s the idea. Somewhere in her deep inner soul, you know, [inaudible] she’s aware of it deep in her soul here, here’s the idea. You’re not worth much. You’re not worth sticking around for. And without necessarily realizing what she’s doing. She kind of says, I guess that makes sense that that seems to fit my experience because otherwise my dad would be here. And so it makes it kind of this mental assent with that. But now she’s made an agreement and so she’s living under that line. Even she gets older, she would not knowing why necessarily finds herself kind of living out from underneath this declaration of her life, I’m not worth sticking around for. So she may be graspy in relationships or giving her her, her body away or or, or kind of trying to, to bend into relationships and losing herself in them all because she doesn’t think in and of herself. She’s worked it [inaudible]
And that was my story and my dad was never around. So not only was I taking that personally for myself, that I wasn’t worth it for him to be around, but neither was my mom, you know? And so there was this neediness that came, you know, this sense of I’m, I’ve been left and so I need to grasp, I need, they’re not going to be here on their own accord and come and take care of me or love me. So I’m going to have to go out and get it and I’m going to have to grasp for it and be needy for it. I wasn’t trying to tell you sir, I was just telling you there’s no story. Okay. You did it. I think it is. Yeah, it’s definitely not uncommon. I think sometimes these, these kinds of agreements can be subtle. And again, it’s, it helps to be in an environment with people who are helping to pay attention to those things, right? Absolutely. Of something like path through the wilderness that we offer spiritual coaching,
Our places to really begin and where the Lord can really begin to uncover some of those things. And once an unholy agreement or a lie that we’ve agreed with is exposed, it’s simply a matter of in prayer, in the name of Jesus, I renounce that lie. It’s kind of like ripping up that old sheet that you put your name on and saying, I don’t agree with this anymore.
And, and then Lord, so when that lie can be, you know, dug up and cast out then what’s the truth? Yeah. But truth, do you want to replace that with and really asking him to, you know, just have that take root in a person and, and, and, and he does. Again, it’s not a onetime quick and easy thing, but it, there, there can be, there can be dramatic, sure. Experiences. But then it also is something we revisit and it gets stronger and stronger. That truth over the lie. If you’ve, if you’ve lived with an agreement, unholy agreement for years and years and years, it can take some time to live out of that more. We can say about that too. But
Next up and this one some people might get a little squeamish with this one, but, but there’s also a deliverance from demonic powers and spirits. Again, not, not spoken of much in our, but definitely a reality that was revealed to us in scripture. Other cultures are seem to be much more dialed into the reality that there are dark spirits and that we do have something to do with them. We do have to contend with them in life. Yeah. And it’s certainly true when we, when S when someone else sins against us or when we sin, we can open doors to demonic spirits into our lives. And I’m not necessarily talking about possession. It may just be a kind of oppression. It may be a, some people call it demonization, but just this pesky spirit that might be whispering lies might be feeding ideas or paradigms. But, but certainly constricting with the freedom that God wants for us in our lives.
And I wonder if you know, sometimes when we think about that we think there, there may be, is this like dramatic acting out demonic acting out. But you know, I think that there’ve been people I’ve talked to that the depth of the darkness of the lies that have been whispered to them, you know, because of something they’ve experienced, like you’re dirty, you’re despicable is the self hatred. Like that’s dark, that’s evil, that is very destructive. And so being able to call that and say that is not true, that is not from God. That is a really you know, evil lie that the enemy’s trying to, you know, have you believe in, there is a force that, that, that is responsible for that and, and we can call it that. And we can say, you have no place here in my life and in my mind and in my heart and my soul.
Yeah. Interestingly, I do think that there are times where through confession or renouncing unholy agreements, sometimes that is enough to kind of remove the foothold that demon has in our lives. But other, other times they’re, they, you know, they don’t, they don’t like to follow the rules and they certainly like to stick around and kind of, I mean, they’re parasitic I think in nature. Yeah. But yeah, I think so. And we need discernment here and we need wisdom. I think there are times where we’re, you know, people kind of point to and say there’s a demon under every Bush. But that’s an error just as much as the air of saying, you know, no, it’s, it’s all just what I can see and what I can perceive. So we need spiritual discernment and wisdom. Again, this is a reason why it’s really helpful to find a, an environment like regeneration or a church that understands these things.
Who can help walk us through and identify like, there’s more going on here. You know, there’s more going on here in this moment. You’re just you and me. And yeah. And again, that can just be a matter of, in Jesus’ name, we command this foul spirit to go and to leave you alone. Yeah. More on that too. Maybe we can do another podcast on that. Again, we’re just flying through these things, but certainly an important category to get after. You know, one of the thing I should say about that, just if you’re wondering about that in your own life, one, get, get some experienced help with it, but yeah, three categories, accusation, lies and deception. I think those are three areas where the enemy loves to work. He is the father of lies. He’s the accuser of the brethren. And he is who is he?
Other accusation lies and deception. Lies and deception. The same thing. Yeah. So he’s the, he’s the, the father of lies and, and he’s the one who accuses to it. And we all have those thoughts that aren’t coming from, you know, us or God, they’re coming from another place. And so being aware of that’s really important, which is actually really, it’s really good news that we can be free of it and that we can, we can be, Oh, that’s what that is. Wow. Okay. Oh so much more I want to say about that. Let’s do another podcast on that because I think there’s, there’s a lot of life there for people. Last is the last one and now because the only other category, but the last category of time for is taking steps forward. Yeah. Healthier steps forward. You mentioned earlier you said, you know, once we identify a lie, then what’s the truth?
So likewise, like once I identify that I’d been living out of one of these old patterns, I’ve been living out under a lie or have been responding to lies that have been kind of whispered in my head or an old kind of an old identity, that’s not true about me. How could I step forward in a way that is an agreement with what God says is true about me? What is true about God? What’s true about other people? What are some risks that I can take to begin to grow in other areas too? Well, and you know, so we talk a lot about just what does it look like for us to open ourselves up to God’s presence. You know, so, and there’s so many ways we can do that, but that’s like, once we get free of some of these things, then there’s this, you know, space that can be filled with truth and comfort and beauty.
And so whatever it is for you to be able to, you know, like begin to determine what are some ways I want to spend time every morning, you know, really acknowledging that I’m continuing to let go of these things and acknowledging that I want a way to receive true. So I’ve talked about this before the exam and, and maybe we can even do an exam and sometime, you know, actually walk somebody through it. That’s great. Yeah. And, and cause a lot of times I’ll receive truth from God about who I am by looking at my life, looking at my day before and noticing things that I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t stopped and said, Lord, shine your light on my day yesterday. Show me what I experienced that was from you. And that can be, I mean that really can build my understanding of who I am, who my true self is and so many other spiritual disciplines.
I think we could add to that list that are kind of healthy steps forward. I also think about some specific ways like if you’ve been living under the lie that your, for example, your different from other men. You know, I know I’ve talked to a lot of men who something happened in their past and just kind of don’t see themselves as an manly man or as fitting in with the other men. Once that lies is uncovered and renounced. Once you’ve or as you discover it, what then are some steps that you can take towards identifying an identity and, and in identity with other men? So maybe it’s joining a men’s group and being honest about what’s going on in your life. Maybe it’s simply holding yourself a little bit differently when you’re in conversation with other men and kind of, it can even begin with just first acknowledging like, Oh, I’m feeling a little bit uncomfortable.
I’m tensing my body up. So right now I’m gonna try to relax my body as I’m talking to these other men and see what happens. I remember another example for me, I, I realized as I was going through some early recovery that I lived in a lot of fear from relationship with women and it was rooted in some lies and some agreements that I’d made and some wounds I’d experienced. And as I began to recognize that, I also began to recognize that, that some of the ways that I’d kept myself out of relationship with women was not from a healthy place. And so one of, one of the action steps for me was to be not, wait for some to know, you know, is this person gonna reject me? Will they want to be with me? And stepping across the room and saying, Hey, I’d like to spend some time with you. Would you be willing to spend the time with me in some way or another? And I experienced rejection when I did that. But it was also just such a, such a rich move to say, I can do this. I can live differently.
Yeah. I mean, friendships are really important here, aren’t they? You know, friendships that are, there are spiritual friendships that are healthy, that are, you know, that that will allow you the experience of, of being in a relationship where it’s, where it’s affirming of who you are and that those are really important. Those kinds of things are important in the, in the healing process and the moving forward process. Yeah. Yeah.
So those seven things acknowledging wounds, grieving the pain and the loss, forgiving our wounds, hers for specific wounds, identifying lies and agreements and, and renouncing them seeking deliverance where we need it from, from demonic strongholds or spirits. Confessing our sins, the things we’ve done wrong, and taking steps forward, spiritual practices that help us to practice living out the truth. About who we are and who God is and who other people are. So more we can say about all of those things, but we’re at a time for now. Thanks so much for the email with that question, if you’ve got questions, please email it to us. We’d love to respond to those in a podcast if we can get. Thanks for starting today. So Jesus, we just pray. We know we’ve just run through these things, but we also want to acknowledge at the end of this that the most important part of all of these, Lord, each of these seven things and all of the healing and processing we do of our pasts is really uniting places with you. We’d let you, I’m sorry, uniting places in us and from our past where we have been without you uniting those places with you. And so Lord, even now, would you come into some of those places for our listeners and for us that we could experience more of you and more healing, more life or the abundant life that you came to give us. We asked these things now with hope and you’re strong good name. Jesus.