When I was 23, I was interviewing for a job at a large church outside of Washington D.C. The interview was going well and it looked like I was going to get the job. At the end of my final interview, Katie and I sat with a group of 12 people around a table and we’re grilled for 3 hours on everything anyone could think of.
Finally, the interview was coming to a close and the person in charge asked if anyone had final questions.
The lead pastor who had been there the whole time but had yet to say anything spoke, “I have one.” He said. He looked at me and said, “Josh, what is your deepest hurt?”
I’ll be honest, the question caught me off guard.
Who talks about hurts and wounds in an interview?
As I fumbled through my answer, not because I didn’t have one, but because I had never shared it. When I finished, he looked at me and said something I’ll never forget: “I’m afraid of someone who can’t identify their deepest hurt, who can’t talk about how Jesus has redeemed that and how they are moving forward because I don’t know when that hurt will rear its ugly head in a situation.”
That was the end of the interview.
Fast forward a few months and Katie and I are meeting with a Christian counselor. He talked with us about how our past affects our present and future in ways we often don’t realize.
We replayed an argument that we had and he asked each of us what from our past did that argument remind us of, what people, places, etc. Amazingly, that argument reminded us of a lot and the brokenness of our past and upbringing. He looked at Katie and said, “When you hear Josh say that, it is reminding you of this. That is the tape that plays in your head.” The same was true for me.
That tape may say, “You aren’t good enough, smart enough, capable enough, beautiful enough.” It might say, “You always screw up, you aren’t good for anything, you aren’t organized enough, strong enough.”
So, when we hear someone say something and it is close to what we heard growing up, we react not to the person in front of us but to the person or situation from our past.
Often, you will find that these feelings center around our desire for control, power, approval and comfort.
This is often where our deepest hurt is found. Often, but not always, it will center on your relationship with your Father so I often encourage people look there first. Something about it has a way of affecting so much of our life.
Once you uncover it, talk through it with someone close to you. Ask them if they see that in you. Do they agree? What evidence do they see in your life of this hurt?
You may need to have a conversation with the people you have hurt but also where this hurt stems from. This will be the hardest road you walk but is also the only way to swing the relational pendulum into the joy and peace that God has for you. Don’t run from this, do the hard work. Even if the person who hurt you scoffs at you or treats this like a small thing, keep digging into it.
I know it is hard to do this, I know that we dislike hurt and pain from our past, but we will never truly be free from our past until we face it. Know that in the cross, Jesus redeemed your past, present and future. He is there and has been there and will use for his glory, but we have to walk through it with him first.
Until this happens, you will play your life out of this hurt.
One of the problems we have and it goes unspoken in our lives is that we are so accustomed to this hurt we don’t even realize it. We are the girl who can’t stop buying something she can’t afford. We are the guy who can’t be kind or give a hug. We are the person who keeps everyone at arms length, we are the over-achiever. Slowly, our hurt becomes a part of our personality and who we are. It is incredibly deceptive, but that isn’t freedom, that is bondage in your sin.