While I was growing up, I experienced my fair share of hurt but I never considered myself to be wounded. The day I got my school results set my life on a new course. I was 16 and I did well. The achievement gave me a rushing sense of self-worth. It felt like I’d taken a harmless drug and I liked the effects. I liked them very much.
As the years went on, I continued to seek success. I loved the feeling of significance that it produced in me. Without even realising it, I had become a ‘success junkie’. Promotions, winning contracts, positions in church, recognition in Christian circles: they all gave me the ‘shot in the arm’ that I needed to feel good about me. And worst of all, because I was succeeding I thought I was sorted.
Exposing my lie
But I had issues: I craved attention and always looked for affirmation from family & friends. I cared very much what others thought of me and I was often anxious around important people. Big job titles and even being called ‘Pastor’ made me feel important.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the most secret parts.” Jeremiah 17:9-10
This scripture tells us that one of the heart’s greatest capabilities is deceit. Just as the heart is able to love and be loved, the heart is able to deceive and be deceived. Put simply, your heart can – and probably does – lie to you.
My heart told me I was fine but that was a lie, and a big problem. If our foundations are shaky, everything we build is at risk. If I need people’s praises to build me up then their criticism will be able to tear me down. God wants our validity to come from Him alone. That is the only way we can be stable and secure. And unless we are healed, that is very, very hard.
Facing the truth
After ten years in ministry, I was having lunch one day with a prophet. As we ate, she asked me a question: “Do you think you were rejected when you were growing up?” I sat and thought. I had always known that my parents loved me so I responded, “No.”
I sat in silence for a few moments then she asked me again. This time I broke down and wept. I cried for nearly half an hour as the Spirit of Truth shined His light into my heart. That was the beginning of my journey of healing. It started when I faced the truth that I didn’t feel good enough. Without my job titles or positions, I did not feel that I was enough. The ultimate transformation was extraordinary but it began with truth.
What’s buried within?
You might have made it to adult life without anyone noticing your buried pain. You may have an excellent education, an impressive job, a great ministry or a successful business. But if your heart isn’t completely healed, you will never be able to live life to the full. Perhaps you’re painfully aware of the wounds within but you don’t know how to be free.
“You desire truth in the inward parts.” Psalm 51:6
God is the God of truth. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth. He desires truth from us: truth in our innermost being, truth in the secret places of our hearts. God wants to reveal the issues that are bound up in inside, hampering our lives. Jesus came to expose our inner most thoughts so that we can be free from all hindrances.
“A sword will pierce through your own soul… that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:35
When we face the truth and acknowledge it deep within, it becomes the key to our healing and freedom (John 8:32). Ask God to start a wonderful new work within you.
Take a step
If you want this to be a year of lasting success, allow the Lord to set you free from inner issues. Whether you’re a leader or a new believer, I encourage you to come to Healed for Life. Visit www.jonaughton.com/healed-for-life/ for details. Or start the year with my book 30 Day Detox for your Soul: https://www.jonaughton.com/books/. You will be amazed at what God will do.
I wish you a very Happy New Year!