I recognize this girl. Perhaps you do as well.
Every now and again, she shows up on the front curb of my heart, marks off her thirty-six inches of personal space, and refuses to budge from her spot . . . not even for the garbage truck. She’ll risk a little stink in order to stay there . . . stay stuck. There’s something about the sidelines that appeal to her. It’s safer on the curb, less risk and less trouble. Life is hard, cruel at times, knocking her out of the game and keeping her mired in the pain.
Life on hold instead of life lived forward. This is how the hurt never heals.
She doesn’t see it that way; she can’t, because she’s yet to take the first step in a new direction. No one blames her. They’ve stood by and watched the world take out its frustration on her body, mind, and soul. Heartache has numbed her desire, crushed her spirit, and pressed her to the curb. What used to be no longer is, a realization clearly seen and deeply felt there, along the sidelines, while the world journeys on without her. She grieves for yesterday, for what might have been had that soul-eating “something” not arrived to rob her of her progress. And so she stops moving forward, at least for today, and tells herself that tomorrow she’ll get in the game; tomorrow she’ll do the hard work of soul-survivorship.
Life on hold instead of life lived forward. This is how the hurt never heals. This is how the hurt never even has the opportunity to heal. A life resigned to the sidelines is a life resigned to less—to an existence shackled to pain rather than an existence shaped by its prod.
Yes, I recognize this girl—her tears, her frustration, her resignation, and her fears. Maybe you recognize her as well. Maybe she is you. Maybe you’ve been wounded by life . . . by a game-changing punch to the gut that has mocked your strength, rocked your faith, and kicked you to the curb. Life’s been cruel, leaving you with scars that continue to throb their witness. You carry around in your flesh a tumor or two, a soul-eating something that continues to devour your health at a rapid rate. You don’t identify it as a cancer—a disease that occurs when abnormal body cells replicate uncontrollably, thereby replacing the healthy ones. Still and yet, a hidden malignancy exists, and left untreated, it threatens to hold you captive to the one person you thought you’d never be—
A boy, a girl, . . . a man, a woman resigned to the curb—life on hold instead of life lived forward. A life where the hurt never heals.
God wants more for you, for you to live forward with hope and with movement. He hasn’t created you for life on the sidelines, despite the many sorrows and sufferings that have, understandably, pushed you to the curb for a season. Instead, he invites you, even as he has invited me, to take hold of his hand and to find your place on the road of faith—the journey of trust that leads you onward toward wholeness.
This is why I wrote Beyond Cancer’s Scars, an invitation for the wounded—those who suffer from all manner of ills and aches and soul-eating “somethings”—to step courageously away from the curb and to enter the fray to lay claim to a stronger spirit in Jesus Christ.
Life lived forward instead of life on hold. This is how our hurt begins to heal. One beautiful, courageous, and intentional step at a time. If you are someone who is living life on hold, then I invite you to take hold of my hand and, together, we will take hold of the heart and hands of Jesus Christ and start living forward. Time to get in the game, friends. Life is so much better with you in it. As always . . .
Peace for the journey,