Most of us have been misinterpreting life and what God is doing for a long time. “I think I’m just trying to get God to make my life work easier,” a client of mine confessed, but he could have been speaking for most of us. We’re asking the wrong questions. Most of us are asking, “God, why did you let this happen to me?” Or, “God, why won’t you just ________” (fill in the blank—help me succeed, get my kids to straighten out, fix my marriage—you know what you’ve been whining about). But to enter into a journey of initiation with God requires a new set of questions: What are you trying to teach me here? What issues in my heart are you trying to raise through this? What is it you want me to see? What are you asking me to let go of? In truth, God has been trying to initiate you for a long time. What is in the way is how you’ve mishandled your wound and the life you’ve constructed as a result.
“Men are taught over and over when they are boys that a wound that hurts is shameful,” notes Robert Bly in Iron John. Like a man who’s broken his leg in a marathon, he finishes the race even if he has to crawl and he doesn’t say a word about it. A man’s not supposed to get hurt; he’s certainly not supposed to let it really matter. We’ve seen too many movies where the good guy takes an arrow, just breaks it off, and keeps on fighting; or maybe he gets shot but is still able to leap across a canyon and get the bad guys. And so most men minimize their wound. King David (a guy who’s hardly a pushover) didn’t act like that at all. “I am poor and needy,” he confessed openly, “and my heart is wounded within me” (Ps. 109:22).
Or perhaps they’ll admit it happened, but deny it was a wound because they deserved it. Suck it up, as the saying goes. The only thing more tragic than the tragedy that happens to us is the way we handle it.
And that’s the memo.
By John Eldredge from Wild at Heart