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Our Wounds Came with Us into Quarantine

We all have wounds, unhealed wounds. Hopefully, we've been working on them, trying to get the "glass out of our arm" and get healthy.

But that takes a while, often years. And even when we think we've made great progress, we might feel a twinge out of the blue, especially in stressful situations.

This is a pretty stressful situation, no? Stuck in our homes, unsure when it will all end, and what life will look like on the other side.

Have you been feeling twinges from old wounds? Me, too.

One of mine, as I've written about before, is the wound of being called lazy, which led to the unconscious vow that I would make sure no one could ever call me that, which led to being a workaholic.

I've done a lot of work around this, though, deciding on healthy guiding principles to replace the unhealthy vow, and living out of those. So the wound is healed, right?

Well, I thought so. But here it came roaring back. Despite me telling others that they must slow down, must make self-care a priority, despite being coached to do so myself ... I've been getting those twinges and reacting to them. When you combine both the feelings of powerlessness of the overall situation -- I am neither a doctor, nor a nurse, nor an epidemiologist -- with the emotional and spiritual needs everyone has -- I am a pastor, and have the fairly rare skill set of experience doing online church ... well, it means that it is easy for me to slip back into answering the call of the wound.

Here's what it looks like: it's evening, I've put in a productive day, and it's time to relax. The wound screeches: Don't post on Facebook about the show you're watching! Don't post that picture of sitting in your backyard! People will think you're lazy! They'll think you really should be at work! Get back to your computer and do more work, and let everyone know! 

I can do the work that needs to be done, and have a balanced life. And right now, one of the most important things I can do is model taking time to rest, and spend happy time with my family. I can substitute a healthy guiding principle for the unhealthy vow.

What are your wounds, those unhealed bits that when bumped against, cause you to react? How is being in this time of uncertainty, and being either cooped up with others, or all alone, causing them to flare up?

If you have a wound about being ignored or abandoned, you may feel anxious if you are more isolated.

If you have a wound about there not being enough food or other resources, you may be feeling panicky.

If you have a wound around people laying too many expectations on you, you may be assuming demands that are not there.

Identify the wound. Identify a vow you have made, and replace it with a guiding principle that is in alignment with your core values:

I lead a life of balance, giving time and energy to my family, my work, and myself. 

Talk to the people in your life who are emotionally mature themselves. I am lucky to be surrounded by strong leaders in the church I serve, who check in with me, openly sharing about the things they struggle with, and asking me things like, "Are you taking your day off? Are you getting enough sleep?"

We are all in this together. Let us extend grace to each other, and check inward with ourselves. We are not going to be at our best all the time right now. How could we be? We have demands on us, many of them unlike any others we've faced before.

So let us extend grace also to ourselves. 


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