Hidden hurts

When I broke my arm, I got a baby blue cast. Anyone who saw me, saw my cast. They knew I was injured. Friends—and even strangers—would ask, “What happened?” or “How can I help?”


But not all my injuries have been so obvious. Actually, the longest-running and deepest injuries have been virtually invisible. And with invisible injuries, you’re less likely to get offers of help.

So I perked up when Pastor Mark announced yesterday that his sermon would be on “Healing Your Hidden Hurts.”

My mind did a quick search: what secret hurts am I still nursing that need healing?

I didn’t have to think long. I knew the one. It was relatively fresh with a friend. I’ve been working on it with God for a few months now since it first happened.

Was now the time to cut the cast off and start exercising the relationship again?

I came home and did the quick 10 minute test to identify my Apology Language that Pastor Mark had told us about. Maybe that’s what had been tripping me up—waiting on an apology that speaks to me.

I learned I’m most receptive to apologies that express regret. Ones that acknowledge the emotional pain they caused. They don’t have to be elaborate or promise restitution, but they need to take ownership of the wrong.

But when those apologies don’t come—and often they don’t—forgiveness still needs to.

I thought more about our sermon: inhale what you need and exhale what you don’t. Don’t hold your breath (i.e., don’t hold a grudge). Release what you don’t need.

  • I don’t need resentment.
  • I don’t bad feelings.
  • I don’t need a distanced relationship.

So I’m exhaling. Again. I’m releasing the hurt back into God’s hands, and he can do with it what he wants to. I can’t keep holding on to it myself.

Do I feel vulnerable without it? Well, yes. Cutting the cast off my broken part leaves me susceptible again to new hurts. No one will see I have a tender spot and be wary around it.

But until we remove our casts, baring our hearts, we can’t return to a full life again.

And a whole-hearted life is what Christ came to give us . . .

  • a spirit of abundance,
  • of deep breaths,
  • and of healed hurts—visible and invisible ones.

* * *

See what your primary Apology Language is among these five:

  • Express Regret
  • Accept Responsibility
  • Make Restitution
  • Genuinely Repent
  • Request Forgiveness

When have you held on to a hidden hurt too long? What helped you finally release it? Please share in the comments.

13 thoughts on “Hidden hurts

  1. Linda@Creekside

    Ah … there’s no pretty blue cast for those soul wounds, is there. They seem to linger way too long, we seem to nurse them along, quietly, desperately.

    Until we choose to release them and set them free. Even if no apologies have been forthcoming.

    Lisa – I think you’ll like this interview with Jen Thomas, one of the authors of that fabulous apology book

    Love to you, my friend, this first week of spring. I am so grateful that our paths continue to weave in and out of each other’s lives … the tapestry is lovely, isn’t it …

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for the link to that book, Linda. It’s such interesting material. I will add the book to my to-read list. I didn’t realize it had been republished as “When Sorry Isn’t Enough.”

      I’m thinking now that I need to get Jeff to take the test so I’ll know how to better apologize to him, and let him know what my findings were. He’s a great apologizer as is though–he must have stumbled upon my language already. 🙂

      Yes, I also am grateful for our crossed paths–you teach me much and encourage me greatly.

  2. Beth

    So true, Lisa! There are many hidden hurts and broken places in our hearts that need healing, but like you’ve said, because they do not seem to directly point to the wound, we keep on marching. I’m so glad you’re working through the hurts of a relationship and sharing about that here. So many keep those confessions to themselves and the truth is … “We all stumble in many ways …” Thank you for your authenticity here, my friend. It’s always such a treat to visit! BTW, I love that book and am going in my forgiveness series toward those distinctions in our apology languages at some point. I’m glad you’ve found it helpful!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your series has been SO helpful, Beth. I always read it, even when I don’t comment. Learning how to better forgive is a huge spiritual discipline that we all have to practice over and over. Personally I know I still have much work to do in learning to forgive quicker and more completely so I appreciate others who help me see through my flimsy excuses. 🙂

  3. Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith

    Thank you, Lisa, for talking about hidden hurts. Those are the worst. Nothing but grace works. And even that needs forgiveness as a catalyst. And even forgiveness is powered by grace. Healing is slow but it surely happens if we cling to Jesus during the process. Thanks for the link to the apology language test. Learning new things of myself along the way. May God bless you as you bless others!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “Nothing but grace works.”
      Exactly, Mari-Anna. We need grace to start the forgiveness; we need grace to follow through with it; we need grace to be forgiven ourselves. So thankful that our Father is faithful to provide it all!

  4. Barbara H.

    I hadn’t heard of the Apology languages. I just took the quiz and got “Accept Responsibility.” That’s pretty right on: I want the person to realize what they did and why it was wrong.

    The thing I struggle with is when to call someone on what they did. The Bible does talk about love covering a multitude of sins, so sometimes I think I should just let it go. But I am not confrontational, and there are times it would be better to talk it out than to let it keep coming up in my own heart. But whether I let it go or feel the need to bring it up, I need to deal with it in one of those ways. My natural tendency is to let it fester. :-/ I was jolted recently to realize that carrying a grudge is really unforgiveness – that was an eye-opener.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I was surprised “Accept responsibility” wasn’t higher on my list because that’s important to me too. I got a chance to exercise that last night when I needed to apologize to Jeff. 🙂

      I’m like you in not wanting to call somebody out if I think they’ve wronged me. I’d rather just keep quiet and try to handle it by myself without making a fuss about it. And sometimes that IS the right thing to do, but often it’s not. For any of the parties involved. Hard stuff.

  5. Joanne Viola

    Such wonderful & helpful thoughts here. There are those we could wait forever on for an apology & it would not come. Such was the case recently in my own life. After 4 years, I decided to make a phone call (after feeling the Lord compel me), meet for breakfast & make amends. No apology still came. As a matter of fact, she admitted that she would never have called or gotten in touch with me apart from me making the 1st move. But I have discovered, I have never regretted the times I reached out. I have felt a release & a freedom to move on. God moved me so that I would find healing & freedom. Wonderful & wise thoughts!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Wow–that’s awesome that you made that first move to call after 4 years. Good for you, Joanne! I’ve found it often gets harder and harder to do something like that, the more time slips by. But how wonderful that now you can be set free from it, even though the apology still didn’t come. Thanks for sharing this!

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