The Sacred Space of Inner Healing

blog healing listening sacred Aug 07, 2019

Many years ago, when I was in the toughest part of my counseling experience, an image emerged in my imagination that perfectly illustrated the difficult dynamic I felt. Picture a dark room and at the center is a banquet table with a black tablecloth on it. On the table are scattered items that represent the various memories and stories from your past. 

Each week, in a one hour session, my counselor and I would pick up one of the memories, look at it, take it apart, put it back together in the most profound way, and then set it back down. Sometimes, however, the taking apart and putting back together did not fit into one hour. With the session over, I was left holding the opened memory with these words floating in my mind,…

My counselor was very skilled. In fact, he was known to his colleagues as the “velvet knife.” And he lived up to that moniker. Each week he did his best to leave me in such a state that I could continue to function in my life. And I did function. Even as I was undone.

But those of you who have experienced this kind of counseling, or any other type of deep healing process know what I am talking about. You are in the process of healing, and sometimes you have to hang out for a bit while the loose ends are not tied up.

Many years later, I was listening to someone share about an ongoing and unfinished work of healing and another image flashed in my mind. This time it was a little more graphic than a banquet table.

This image was more like an operating room. Normally a surgeon opens up the patient in order to take out the diseased organ, and then neatly sews up the wound. But, sometimes, in the surgery of inner healing, the person is emotionally cut open stem-to-stern. The Master Physician is doing the work of removing, repairing and healing. 

Unfortunately, when doing emotion and soul work, you sometimes need to get up off the table, cut open, and attend to your regular life. At least that is what it can feel like. Inner healing usually takes longer than a two-hour surgery to remove your appendix.

I share these two images with you because I want you to know that if you are in an ongoing healing process, I respect and hold that with you. You are in a sacred space. There is no need to rush. Your ongoing feelings of inner pain and unrest are to be expected. It is human to feel the distress of the transformational process. It means you are not in denial and that is good. Let yourself be held in this sacred space.

Yes, we expect the grace of God to bring you to healing, but we do not know the timing. So as we wait, it is good to remember that, at some point, you will have made it through. We hold on to hope, in the fullest sense of that word, while we wait for healing to occur. 

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. (Hebrews 11:1, The Message)


If you are in a place of ongoing inner healing:

  • How can you honor and respect where you are?
  • What does waiting look like for you in this season?
  • What are some ways your “faith roots” can sink even deeper into God in the midst?

If you are walking alongside someone who is in a place of ongoing inner healing:

  • How can you honor and respect where they are?
  • How can Hebrews 11:1 inform how you pray for them?
  • How might you be a listening (non-fixing) ear as they process their not-yet state?

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash