In a book I have been reading lately the author discusses a psychological defense mechanism called dissociation. (I know that sounds boring, but bear with me a moment.)
Dissociation is the splitting off of a group of mental processes from the main body of consciousness.
The first example is from a story about a missionary who was mauled by a lion and lived. When David Livingston would retell his story, he would say that he felt no pain as the lion chewed on his flesh. Instead of pain his mind was transfixed on the amazing and vivid detail of the fur on the lion’s face. As a defense mechanism his mind disassociated from the pain because it was too much to bear.
The second example he gives is heart wrenching. A lady he was counseling said when she was a little girl her mind would disassociate when her grandfather would come in the middle of the night to sexually abuse her. She said she would sing lullabies or say nursery rhymes to herself to focus her attention elsewhere. Brutal!
Though dissociation can be helpful as a defense mechanism in moments of trauma, it is not a default mechanism for other situations. Sometimes we shut off or neglect certain aspects of our life because of past pain. The trouble is, Jesus came for the sick and not the healthy. Jesus, the lover of your soul, is deeply interested in your broken, bruised, painful, dissociated parts. He is a healer and is relentless in His desire to make you healthy and whole. You can fight Him off and continue to live a fragmented life, but it will be exhausting and frustrating under the weight of His passion for you.
If you will surrender those painful, dark areas of your past or your present, I can’t promise it will not be painful. In fact, it will probably be more painful and dark at first. But just as it takes time for the burning sun to warm the cold winter ground, in time Jesus will bring healing and warmth to those places. The pain will subside over time and give way to His comfort and peace.
I say this will some trepidation. I know some pain can be unbearable. But so far, in my life, I have seen the love of Jesus overcome the painful sting of suicide, cancerous death, and Spina Bifida. And I pray Jesus will show Himself strong on your behalf as you open the closed doors of your heart to His tender loving kindness.
Thank you for reading, and let me know if you would like to talk with a pastor about some past or present pain: email me