Re:Launch Your Life – Heal

We kicked off our series at Gateway in Austin called “Re:launch Your Life.”

Life changed with Covid, but we can use the lessons we’ve learned to our advantage. Focusing on four areas of opportunity, we can heal, serve, belong, and grow. It’s time to discover the life that God always intended for you, to live for something greater than ourselves, it’s time to relaunch our life.

For many of us, during these last 18 months, our childhood wounds surfaced and addictions or struggles returned. In this new season, we can put good habits and patterns in our lives to support healing and growth. We can relaunch our lives by looking honestly at things revealed that God wants to heal.

Discussion Questions

Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.

Next Steps

Message Video:

Message Notes from John Burke:

So let me ask you a question as we all probably want to Relaunch our lives after this season. 

Can a soul be wounded?

Can we have wounded hearts that make us limp along emotionally, relationally and spiritually for a lifetime—all because we won’t admit the signs are there, or we won’t seek help healing it? 

The answer is YES! 

Look at a small sampling of what the scripture says about the heart—not the muscle pumping blood, but the Spiritual Center. That’s what the Bible means by heart.  Like the greatest commandment is to love God…with all your…heart.  Look at a few more.

  • Jesus says, Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:34)  
  • Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. (Prov. 3:5)
  • Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. (Ps. 119:11 NASB)
  • These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (Matt. 15:8)
  • For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chron. 16:9)

The heart is the spiritual center of who you are—it’s where you relate to God, it’s the place from which you can truly love people, it’s where your creativity, your emotion, your motivations come.  The heart is critical to understand. 

And it’s critical to realize that it too can be broken.  Just like your bones can be broken—I was living proof of that.  Just like

Your mind can be broken.  But you see it in psych wards where the mind breaks.

So the heart can be broken as well.  I’m not just talking about a romantic heartbreak. That’s just one example.

A father wound, a mother’s abuse or neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, getting bullied over and over, or just taking lots of little relational dings—we live in a world at war and no one escapes unharmed.

Now, the reason many of us struggle with relationships, or struggle to ever find joy, or to find deep, trusting friendships, or to stop addictive patterns, or even to relate to God in meaningful ways is because our hearts got wounded or broken somewhere along the way—and they never healed. But sometimes that’s really hard to see.  Instead, you see the signs or symptoms.

Let me tell you some of the Signs and Symptoms that made me realize—I had a wounded heart and I needed healing.  If you see some of these signs or symptoms, will you admit you probably have wounds that still need healing—and seek help (here through Restore, and our Recovery groups that are not just for additions, but healing any soul wounds).

Covid has been an intense few years.  Maybe the pressure increasing brought to the surface unhealed wounds in you.  Or maybe your heart got injured in this season.  The beginning of healing is honesty—just admitting something’s not right and asking God to show you why. Do you see the signs like I did?:

SIGNS OF A WOUNDED HEART

Loss of joy

Maybe you’ve never felt much joy from the Lord, or maybe you’ve started to lose that sense of wonder, awe, the goodness in life? I felt it come back as I healed—joy returned. That’s a sign of healing. But if you lack joy, probably a sign of some unhealed wounds.

Protecting yourself

Do avoid or dread being with people because (they’re so peoply?”)–they might drain you of the little emotional energy you have left? Start asking, “Why am I protecting myself, Lord? Am I protecting a wound?”  You may not immediately see, but keep asking God to show you the source of the wound you’re protecting.  Because Protecting yourself is a sign of a wounded heart that God wants to heal.

Deep sadness or fear

When a memory still feels sad, painful, terrifying…it’s a sure sign it’s still not healed.  If it’s not healed, it will get infected and infect your other relationships.  Is there a memory from your past that you just can’t go there? A person you block out? That’s an unhealed wound.  God wants to replace the grief or sadness or terror or hurt with a new memory. He will redeem and restore what was lost or broken. 

Defensiveness

If you’re defensive—you’re defending something. Probably a wound. If you have to be right, prove your never wrong, defend yourself–you’re not living in God’s Grace. You’re probably protecting a subconscious childhood wound that causes a panic if you’re not perfect, or wrong, or misunderstood.

But In Christ, you don’t need to argue your case, or defend yourself. We have an Advocate [Defense Attorney] who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ…the sacrifice that atones for our sins.1 John 2:1-2 Jesus is your defense lawyer. He’s declared you atoned, right, perfect in his sight—So until you feel no need to defend yourself, there’s a wound God wants to heal for you.

Easily offended or angered

When you carry unhealed wounds, it doesn’t take much of a jab to feel a lot of pain. Whenever people tend to over-react, road rage, blow up over a comment or criticism—it’s a sign of unhealed wounds to the heart.  If you easily lose it with your kids, or blow up at your spouse—or you blame them—if you didn’t [blank], I wouldn’t blow up.  But your in charge of your feelings—they are your responsibility. So when we are Easily offended, angered, or blaming others are signs of unhealed hearts.

Shame and self-condemnation

When there are unhealed wounds, we make agreements with lies that are not true.  If you find self-hatred, or ongoing condemning thoughts about how pathetic, useless, bad, helpless, or a failure you are—all those are evil. You’re not evil, but you are wounded (probably from childhood) and lies easily attach to wounds and FEEL true. 

When I had the 50 paper cuts, I started believing lies because my wounds reinforced the lies: “You’re a bad leader,” “God’s not guiding you anymore,” “The Holy Spirit is not guiding you any more.” All lies, but I started to agree with the lies because unhealed wounds made the lies FEEL true, and it undermined my leadership, hurt my closest relationships.  When we are wounded, we don’t see things accurately.  “God doesn’t love me.” “I’m uniquely horrible.” “I can never succeed.”  “I can never trust men.” “All women are liars.” I discovered this is exactly how evil works.  Evil uses wounded people, who believe lies Evil plants in that unhealed wound, and then evil easily manipulates Hurt people to hurt people. 

A father who never got his dad’s blessing—never felt good enough—he has his own wounds, deals with them by overworking to prove he’s worth something, then drinks to take off the edge (ie. mask the pain and fear in his heart). As a result, his kids sometimes poke that wound, and he explodes, he says and does things that wound his kids. And into those wounds, Evil reinforces those to steal, kill and destroy. 

Jesus said, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10.

When you allow God to heal your wounded heart, you can also combat lies, and change the story.  Restore is offering a workshop called Your Story Matters—to look at events, messages you carry, and a path forward. Recovery is just a biblical spiritual formation path to healing. I’ve done it, most of our staff have. Recovery has ZERO to do with addiction—Recovery comes from getting things right with God, yourself, and others–healing.

Take care of the healing, the addictions, sin patterns, control issues, anger, fearfulness or worry—it goes away. Go Gatewaychurch.com/Restore and take advantage of all that’s starting this month—and let’s Relaunch healed.

Ultimately, unhealed wounds rob us of the ability to love people. People have hurt us, the hurts make us guarded, so we are unable to love people well because that requires proximity and vulnerability—which unhealed hearts fear.  Do you see the signs of a wounded heart? Evil can use that to steal, kill, and destroy the life God wants to give.

In quoting the prophet Isaiah, Jesus said “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives….” Isaiah 61:1 

Do you see this? 

Jesus came to heal our broken hearts.  He didn’t come only to forgive us all our sins and set us free from all our addictions, but to get to the root and heal us, so we could experience His joy filling our hearts.

But here’s the deal—time does not heal, moving on does not heal, sucking it up and toughening up doesn’t heal—that hardens.  And a hardened heart is dangerous. You may say, “Well why doesn’t God just heal—if wants to heal?” Because the law of God is the law of love—and love MUST respect the free will of the person.

Jesus was going through Jericho, and two blind men cry out for him to have mercy.

Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 

Which seems like a dumb question, they’re blind—why would Jesus ask?  Because some people don’t really want to be healed—we can get comfortable Identifying with past wounds—their Identity is the victim. Others want an excuse to stay addicted, or to not deal with pride or sin patterns. Workaholics get props as do Religious Pharisees. We may fear losing status. So first, Jesus asks you “What do you want me to do for you?”  How would you answer him right now?

“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.  Matthew 20:32-34 

Those last two words are critical for why God waits for us to seek His healing—because he ultimately wants us to follow him.  That’s how we become healing agents—healing and restoring others. Well, why wouldn’t everyone do that? Three reasons Pride, Fear, and Guilt. 

What are barriers to healing?

Pride blocks healing.

For some of us, Pride says, “I’m not broken or wounded, I’m strong.” Or maybe it’s perfectionism, “I have to be good, strong, better than. Everyone needs me, I must help them.” But it’s Pride. There’s One Savior, you’re not it. We need to learn what God told Paul

[God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses. 2 Corinthians 12:9

God opposes our pride, but when we can admit our wounds and weaknesses, God can make us strong with in inner power that can actually heal others.  Don’t let Pride keep you from admitting that something’s wrong? Don’t spread more hurt—have the courage to seek healing.

Fear blocks healing.

Fear blocks healing: For some of us, what happened to us was so traumatic, so painful, every time we go there—it feels like opening a door to an abyss we will fall into and never come out of.  That’s a sure sign it’s not yet healed.  But you don’t have to face it alone.  God’s promise is He will go with you—there’s nothing to fear. 

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

If you’ll let him take you there, He will turn on the Light and the darkness will flee—he take all the fear out of it and heal that memory.  It’s helpful to have a Christian counselor or Sponsor from our Recovery group, or guidance from our Restore classes—these can help greatly.

I remember when God did this for a friend of mine—he was an atheist when he came here. Harvard trained lawyer. He became an atheist because his military father used to beat him severely as a child.  He believed the lie, “God doesn’t exist—or if he does, he doesn’t care about me.”  But as a father, he found the same hard heartedness of his father overtaking his heart—affecting his family.  He came to faith, and one day while praying He asked, “God show me where You were when that was happening.”  God gave him a mental picture of Adam curled up as a little boy—taking those blows—but around him was a clear blue bubble of protection. And he saw Jesus, nailed to the cross, with tears in his eyes—paying for the sins of his father.  That began a healing work in Adam’s heart that allowed him to forgive his father, and become a more loving, tender-hearted father instead of repeating his dad’s past—and it even filled him with a desire to reconcile with his dad—He become a wounded healer of the man who wounded him.  That’s how God overcomes evil heart by heart.

Sin-patterns block healing.

Sometimes we don’t let God heal the wounds—because we do rebellious, sinful things motivated by our wounds.  And to let God shine his light in our lives is going to light up our own dark patterns.

God says to Ezekiel: “Turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! 31 Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit…says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live! Ezekiel 18:30-32

Jesus died to forgive all of us—to forgive, heal, and restore us and those who sinned against us.  But we have to confess—or admit—turn from it, and let him remove it along with healing the wound.

Are you Ready to Relaunch your life?  

I’m gonna give you an assignment that I did, and if you will do it, God will begin the healing process.  It may take time—maybe months, years, but now is the time Relaunch. 

Spend time in solitude.

(carve out 1-2 hours) to just be quiet, alone, and uninterrupted praying and talking to God. Take that list of Signs of the Wound. Pray Psalm 139

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Ask God to search your heart and show you if there’s any unhealed wound from the past.  Ask, and sit quietly calming your mind and listening. After about 30 minutes. Write down what comes to mind.

Do the Grocery Store Test.

If nothing’s coming, do Grocery test—imagine you turned down the isle in the store, and there in front of you was [that person], but he/she didn’t see you—if your fist inclination would be to turn around before they saw you.  Don’t evaluate why, just write down that name. There’s a wound there—something needs healing.  Or it may be something you did that needs making amends so healing can come.

List every person or event that might possibly have wounded you.

 I say “might possibly” because our tendency is to over-spiritualize and say “I forgave that” or “that didn’t really hurt me” and so we ignore the many “paper cuts” still oozing infection. So no spiritual editing—put them all down. Might be institutions “Dell Computers” “Gateway church”, or “People leaving me.” “Hearing gossip about me.” “When my spouse said or did…” “What my dad said…”.  With that list in hand, go to either our Recovery ministry or Restore class—

Spoiler Alert: You must forgive

If you want to heal, you MUST forgive. To not forgive does not punish the transgressor—unforgiveness is like a chain that keeps your heart shackled to that painful past. It hurts you, not them. That’s why God’s wisdom says:

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:18-21

That other person may not want forgiveness—or accept it—but you forgive for your sake. To forgive is an act of obedience to God (who forgives you everything), so you can be free. You don’t need to hang on to anger for justice’ sake—Put the chains of Justice in the hands of the Righteous Judge. That person who wronged you will either turn to God for forgiveness so he can heal and change them—or they pay the cost of their own wrongdoing. But you can trust God with Justice and lean on him for the power to forgive as he forgave you. The result is your freedom!  Whatever it is that needs healing, let’s do it together as God’s family. Don’t do it alone we have all kinds of Restore and Recovery groups to support you. Listen to Cindy’s experience:

Free Consultation

If you're interested in a free 30-min consultation with me, simply fill out this form and I'll contact you!