In the emotional realm when hurt and pain leaves us wounded and feeling vulnerable, Instead of enjoying the life and zeal of those around us, we often tend to become avoidant, steering clear of human interaction.
I call it Soul-Guarding.
Heather seems to be a nice and confident girl. She freely communicates through writing and texting, but in person she is completely withdrawn. Her non-verbals scream a clear message, “Stay away from me.” She intentionally rejects any display of warmth while in person, yet later through writing she will open up.
Jessica is shy, yet friendly, until you engage her more personally. Then she coils up and walls off like Fort Knox. No way are you getting inside of her defense system.
I’ve come to learn that emotional and spiritual pain is often misunderstood and hard to detect. We may think someone is rude or anti-social, when the reality is we may be coming too close to their wound and they are guarding their souls. Exposure equals pain.
That probing question, an invite for friendship or even a casual hello feels like a fearful and threatening intrusion to the one who is isolating, trying to recover from an emotional wound. Injured souls are afraid and threatened with the presence of someone who may come close enough to see through their defense system into their pain, even when it’s done with compassion. Although the Body of Christ is exactly what we need to heal, the truth is, when we’re hurting we often curl up into an impenetrable ball of steel and isolate, keeping ourselves safely out of “harm’s way.”
In many cases this protective posture probably serves to only increase the pain since God has given us relationships as a way of becoming whole. Guarding the wound and withdrawing from others is seldom the way to find healing.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (Italics mine) The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. NIV
When we are willing to let our guard down and selectively and wisely allow someone into our pain and hurt, we are on our way to healing and wholeness. The prayers, counsel and encouragement we find as a result of sharing are powerful keys to freedom and healing. God has made us to need each other- an indisputable fact no matter how uncomfortable it may feel to open up and become transparent! When we share the burden of our soul with another, we will find release and rest from the anxiety that secrecy and fear create. But we also fulfill the heart of Christ, who desires us to walk with each other in this life.
Gal 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens , and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” NIV