Part of the process of getting healed is understanding what exactly is being healed. Remember, you are a three-parted being: “I am a spirit, I have a soul and I live in a body.” You cannot be wounded in your spirit, which is holy, complete and entire if you are a believer (and simply “dead” if you are not). And though we can be injured in our physical body, most of the time these injuries can be repaired by our natural defenses. So where do we really get wounded? In our soul: our mind, will and emotions. A major part of the healing process is to learn to identify our wounds, and where and how we were, and are, wounded.
What Are Wounds, and How Do We Get Wounded?
Wounds are areas of injury, damage or lack to our soul that cause us to alter our behavior in order to protect the area or prevent additional damage in that area. We all have God-given needs in our soul. We all need unconditional love, unconditional acceptance and unconditional value (honor). When an aspect of one of these needs is not met, we are wounded. Learning to get healed is critical because our unhealed wounds, over time, determine our beliefs, which in turn determine our behavior, including how we relate to God, others and ourselves.
Origination of Woundedness
When God originally created us in Adam, all of our needs were met because our spirit was in perfect communion with Him. Our soul drew its life from our spirit, which received life from God Himself. In turn, our physical body received everything it needed from our soul. When Adam and Eve’s spirits were separated from God and died, they lost that communion with God. Though their soulical needs were the same—unconditional love, acceptance and value—their avenue of reception no longer existed. Never before had a soul been left to its own devices to get its needs met. So their souls scavenged the resources that were available to them—their environment, each other, even their own soulical and physical resources. They did everything that was left in their power to try to get their needs met. But try as they might, they were not able to meet their God-given needs out of their soul-controlled resources. Wherever they attempted to do this, they were wounded, and flesh was formed. This orientation has been passed down from generation to generation, up to and including Jesus’ generation.
As part of the Resurrection package—receiving a regenerated spirit, eternal life and perfect communion with God—the soul could once again receive from God (via the spirit) everything it needed to get its needs met. So through Christ, if we have been regenerated, our God-given needs are once again met. Yet if we don’t know this, or if we don’t know how to receive His life into our soul, we will continue to rely on our soul-strength to get our needs met, rejecting the perfection of His life that is available to us in favor of that which we have soulish control over. Our mind, will and emotions have gotten so used to controlling how they get their needs met that even in the presence of complete satisfaction, our soul will choose its own course, even if only through habit. So even though all of our needs were met in Christ at His resurrection, we often continue to live out of our own soulical strength, and continue to live wounded lives.
Thank God that He will not let us live like this, and does whatever is necessary to expose those lies—that it is up to us to get our needs met, that we have to perform for His love, and that others can provide what He alone can.
How Do We Get Wounded?
We’ve inherited the vulnerability to wounds from our parents, who inherited it from their parents, who inherited it from their parents, etc., all the way back to Adam. What can we do about it? We need to understand that we’ve also contributed to our vulnerabilities, learn to recognize them, and do what we can (get healed and learn to depend on God) to keep from passing down to the next generation that which has been passed down to us.
Generational Wounds: The most prevalent generational vulnerability we have inherited is reflected in the illustration of the Two Trees in the Garden of Eden. Our desire to know and understand, to control our circumstances, our future, and others through knowledge, leaves us open to wounds in the deepest parts of our being. This is where the Law Mentality began. We form our beliefs in our mind and behave according to what we believe. In an effort to regain communion with God, Adam and Eve began to relate to God on an “Action Item” basis—something they could do, or avoid doing, that would please God. If they could just understand what God wanted them to do, and then do it, they could make God happy, and then they would in turn be blessed. However, God cannot be known through the power of the mind, but only by experience, which takes place only in the spirit. So the more Adam and Eve tried to know God, and each other, and to relate to their environment and their future, the more they met with disappointment, and were wounded. And because they didn’t know how to get healed, they passed these wounds on to their offspring. Think of it! The first parents in all creation were such poor parents that one of their sons murdered the other. It sure didn’t take long for their woundedness to affect their actions.
Family Wounds: These wounds are passed down from generation to generation, much like physical genetics, with variations being added along the way, often depending on the success or failure of any particular person or generation to get a level of their needs met. For instance, if a family had become successful financially, they would become dependent on that wealth to meet their needs. This would make them vulnerable to being wounded in different ways than for a less wealthy family. Children born into each of these families would inherit belief systems, vulnerabilities and the wounds that go along with them, often without questioning their origin.
An example of this is that we all have accepted traditions or laws we follow that our parents passed down from their parents, often based on family history and origin. For instance, if you met someone of Italian heritage, what images and expectations come to your mind? Or someone from Ireland, or Russia, or Zimbabwe? Let’s not kid ourselves that we don’t all come to the table with preconceptions.
Over time these generational inheritances add up to particular family vulnerabilities, often expressed as family sayings meant to control how needs are met within the family (though often unconsciously), such as “don’t air family laundry in public,” or laws that govern our behavior, like “big boys don’t cry.” Family rules are normal—we just need to bring them to the surface to see if they stand up objectively to truth.
Parental Wounds: Your parents entered into parenthood with a set of beliefs and behaviors that directly affect their ability to get their own needs met, let alone meet yours. Let’s face it, there have never, EVER, been perfect parents. (Even Jesus’ earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, neglected Him and had to go looking for Him in the temple when He was a boy.) And each of your parents has their own temperaments, physical attributes, worldview, etc., which affect their ability to parent. So we enter this world with a bunch of needs, placed into the care of needy parents, who probably believed that having kids would fill their needs. Their unmet needs became our new expectations, making us vulnerable to being controlled by them, in our search to get our needs met. It’s like “musical chairs” for our needs, except there is a single stool for 20 people, and its only leg is broken. God never meant for children to meet the needs of their parents, or even, surprisingly enough, vice versa. God never intended parents to take His place; the best they can do is teach (hopefully by example) where to go, to Whom to go, to experience healing and met needs.
Personal Wounds: When we are born into this world, we are not only contending with the vulnerabilities and wounds of previous generations all the way back to Adam and Eve, we are also exposed almost solely to those wounds and vulnerabilities engendered by our immediate families, especially our parents. We are born with unmet needs, and unless something is done about it, we face each new day needier than the day before, regardless of what we have accomplished or what kind of relationships we have formed. Some of the personal factors that affect the kinds of wounds we will be susceptible to are temperament, gender, birth order, physical characteristics, nationality, socio-economic strata, skills and talents, the era we live in (for instance, during war time), geographical residence (for instance, Midwest versus Middle East, urban versus rural) and religious beliefs. We interpret life, our circumstances, our self and our future through a filter that incorporates all these vulnerabilities, since it is our soul’s desire and need to protect us from being wounded.
As we learn to depend on the Lord to get those needs met, these filters are gradually brought into the light so that we can objectively look at them. We discover that beliefs are caught and not taught, and that most of what we believe, we really don’t agree with. As this occurs over time, and our wounds are healed, we become less and less vulnerable in those areas, which in turn sets us, and hopefully the next generation, free.
Methods of Identification
When we think of being wounded, what’s the first thing we think of? Ouch! Wounds are painful, and they most often get our attention by causing us pain in some way. In this respect pain is a very helpful thing. Though not all unpleasant experiences in our lives stem from being wounded (sometimes bad things just happen), there are three ways we can identify a wound that needs to be dealt with by God:
1. We have a disproportionately strong reaction to a circumstance, or something someone said or did, or even to a thought or feeling.
2. We have a reaction that lasts a disproportionately long period of time (generally, something that is still bothering us after 24-48 hours is probably a wound that God wants to heal).
3. We make plans or decisions in order to avoid a particular circumstance or person (there’s an unhealed wound in an area if it affects our behavior).
Likewise, we can tell we’ve been healed in these areas when something that used to bother us a lot no longer bothers us as much or for as long, nor keeps us from talking to that person (even though we still may not like them).
So what do we do about a wound? We start by talking to the Lord about it, rather than trying to get over it ourselves (we’ll go into greater detail later…). Remember that God wants to heal all of our wounds, though it will be according to His timetable and in His order. There may even be wounds that you have lived with all of your life, and have merely accepted as part of your character. You may have come to consider yourself as critical, or quiet, or lazy, or sweet, when these are really just behaviors you have used to protect your wounds. We must learn to depend on God to let us know, ‘cuz it may not be an unhealed wound at all, but our unchecked temperament or demonic interference, which need to be addressed differently (and we will address these at a later time as well).
Difference Between A Wound and An Unhealed Wound
Now, being wounded is no big thing; if you are going to live on this earth, you are going to be wounded! So being wounded isn’t a problem unless we let that wound fester and become infected. We want to learn how to go to the Father and get healed. We want to be able to do that as easily and quickly as we breathe. As soon as we begin to neglect a wound, we begin to be closed to God in that area; we are unable to be fully dependent on the Father in that area. So we want to take care of these things quickly; and we want to be able to rejoice in what He’s doing in our lives. We want to participate in the healing God is doing in our lives. God’s measure of success is based on our dependence on Him, not on how well or how much we’re doing. Are we depending on Him to heal us?
Examples of Wounds
In our mind, wounds will often manifest in an inability to concentrate, bad dreams and recurring, uncontrollable thoughts. In our will, wounds often manifest as the need to control everything, or the refusal (or inability) to make decisions. In the emotions, wounds are manifested through the need for stuffing emotions, denying that they exist, or by not shepherding them at all, and allowing them to splatter everywhere, letting everyone know how you feel. These will manifest themselves differently for each of us, which is why it’s so critical to let God do the revealing of our wounds.
Some manifestations of wounds are Rejection, Anger, Bitterness and Misconceptions (Believing Lies). The most common wound is Rejection (real or perceived), because it is one of the results of our attempts to control our environment, others, our selves and even God. Because we are living among people who are trying to get their needs met on their terms, we will be rejected. In fact, there are only two kinds of people in this world, those that are rejected and those that are rejected more. Because we behave according to what we believe, eventually our actions will line up and re-enforce these wounds and cause the circumstances that will motivate us to run to the Father to get healed.
We are going to be rejected by others whether they intend to or not. Remember that this is not about them—you cannot prevent others from rejecting you! And being afraid of rejection IS being wounded, since you give other people power over you by letting them control your actions and emotions through your fear of rejection.
We are also rejected by our selves, by what we believe, by what we think, by how we take care of ourselves. As we begin to learn the truth about who we are and what God thinks about us, we will all come up against the wound of self-rejection, which is most often used to control how close we let others and God get to us, and how much control we give to Him over our lives. The lie goes something like this: If we can reject our selves, we can beat God to the punch, and hopefully He won’t have to do it.
Our temperament may also make us more vulnerable to rejection. Since some of us have aspects of our temperaments that are more valued by society, it also stands to reason that some of us have aspects of our temperament that are less valued by society. Unless we can honestly and objectively evaluate our temperament, and discover that God does not value one person’s temperament more or less than another’s, we are vulnerable to rejection at our deepest soulical level. Temperamental vulnerability does not need to be healed, since the temperament God gave us is the one He wants us to have. It ain’t broke, so He ain’t gonna fix it. As we embrace our temperament “as is,” with its strengths and weaknesses, we also learn to accept and be healed of any rejection that comes our way.
“You’re Overreacting—It’s All In Your Head!”
Rejection can be just a matter of perception! If we are vulnerable to being wounded in an area, there may be circumstances and situations in which we just can’t win no matter what we say or do. But a “perceived” wound is just as injurious as a “real” wound. A perceived wound (an injury that was not intended, or even one that we create on our own) if left unattended, will still fester and become infected just as painfully as an intentional, specific or real wound. This is why one of God’s goals is to bring our thoughts into submission to His mind and learn to see things from His perspective. Without His spiritual objectivity, we believe lies, whether from the world system, our own imagination or through a demonic attack.
Soulical Wounds Affect the Body
God doesn’t intend that we escape being wounded, but that we know how to go to Him to get healed. The soul was not created to be self-healing. But because we don’t know how to do that (yet), our soul will cannibalize, suck the life out of whatever resources are available to it. And what is the closest “natural” resource to your soul? Your natural, physical body. And just as your soul was never meant to function under all this stress, your physical body was never able, and never will be able, to meet the needs of your soul. Over time, the soul’s attempts to get life out of the body will do just that—drain the life out of the body, causing fatigue and making the body vulnerable to disease and genetic defect.
We Can’t Heal Ourselves
“Getting Healed” is not a self-help program. We will not be following a set pattern that guarantees self-actualization. Attempting to heal ourselves is actually an attempt to fulfill in the flesh what God has begun in the Spirit, which is to conform and transform us into His Son.
What we will be doing is learning to cooperate with Him in the healing process He has already begun in each of our lives. Our relationship with God is a personal one, just as the process of our healing will be a personal one. Start by keeping it between you and God. Because it is a learning process, mistakes and missteps will be made. It is easier to rely on the Lord to encourage and direct you when the two of you are the only ones who know about it (this is not to say you shouldn’t share with others what God is doing in your life, but recognize that God is a jealous God, and is jealous over His works in you).
God heals us in a variety of different ways, so we don’t want to judge how much is being healed or how we’re doing in the learning process by a set standard, a specific timeframe, or what someone else may be experiencing. In fact, there will be times that we’ll know about a healing, but other times we won’t! Very often He will have drawn attention to an area or two where He is working toward healing a wound, yet keep other areas hidden from us where He may be doing an even deeper work. The best thing to do is let Him do His work, reminding ourselves of His love for us, and that He finishes what He starts.
Under the Old Covenant, healing was dependent upon the people meeting a certain set of conditions. Today, healing is part of our inheritance as sons of God, having been made available 2000 years ago at the Resurrection. We can boldly come before His throne, with nothing to achieve, prove or keep. Under the Old Covenant, God healed from the outward in. Now, by His Son, He heals us from the inside out, bringing us into complete wholeness. It is through this process that our thinking, feeling and choosing are reconciled, brought into alignment, with the Truth—what God says is true.
Adapted from Getting Healed by Dianne Thomas