A friend who counsels through healing prayer shared the story with me of working with a middle-aged woman who had a form of dissociation. We might call it multiple personality disorder; it is an effect of significant childhood trauma. In simple (and probably inadequate) terms, dissociation is when the part of the brain that is wounded sequesters itself, creating a separate personality and resulting in something like another person inside your head.
This woman being treated by my friend had a six-year-old living in her head who had been hiding there for decades, ever since the trauma occurred in her life. My friend said that as he prayed with this woman, the six-year-old child would come in and out. It was as if he was talking to two different people. This wasn’t a demon; this was a dissociated or fractured part of this person’s personality.
In the course of the prayer, a problem surfaced. As it turns out, the adult had come to Christ in recent years, but because that happened after she was six, the child didn’t know Jesus. This was a point of contention. The adult would tell the child, “You need to find Jesus so we can get together.” That sounded reasonable enough to an adult mind, but not to a wounded child. The six-year-old was afraid; there had already been so much hurt and distrust. Even between the adult and child living in the same body there were hurt feelings and resentments.
What eventually broke the stalemate? The adult decided to act like an adult. Instead of telling the child, “You need to go meet Jesus,” the adult embraced the child and the two of them walked toward Jesus together. My friend says it was like watching a six year old girl get saved. When she accepted Jesus, he spontaneously integrated them. But to get there, the more mature side of this person had to go after the healing.
Good healing, good evangelism, good church, good faith, starts with a decision to go after it. It starts with a choice to act like an adult and walk the unredeemed parts of myself out of the darkness and toward Jesus.
I wonder if there are some parts of you that need to challenge other parts of you to get up and go after God? Is there is a conversation inside of you waiting to happen so you can move through the broken places to the next rise?
A while back, I wrote the following in my journal on a day when I was challenging myself on the shallowness of my personal Bible reading. I wrote: “It is tempting to read the Bible only for what it might reveal to me today about myself or my circumstances. I begin looking for nuggets of hope or support. I read into the lives of the Israelites — harassed by the Babylonians — slivers of truth for my middle-class life today. I compare apples with automobiles, bowing to the tempting belief that some of the most profound moments in history are really just bits of advice for my day. The Word of God becomes a fortune cookie, and my part is to believe that whatever snappy phrase I can uncover is my destiny.
“But what if that isn’t God’s best for my relationship with him? What if, instead, I’m to be looking for the life of God rather than my own?
“Lord, forgive me for treating your Word like a fortune cookie and for allowing it to suffice only for how it can improve my immediate circumstances. And Lord, pour through me today your cleansing and renewing power. While I’m praying for folks and listening to stories, I need your power to cleanse me. Make me kinder, gentler, more loving, forgiving, pleasing to you. Bend my character toward your will. Kill all the unsaved parts of me. Jesus … circumcise my heart.”
This is what it means to seek after the life of God, and to bring it into my life so that my faith becomes an expression of Jesus being lived out in me. It means seeking out and embracing the unsaved parts of me, so I can walk them into the redemption of Jesus.