Wasteland Kings

I will be working through what’s called my inventory for the next six weeks or so. The basic idea is to write down all of the major hurts, habits, and hangups of your life. It’s a major step in my recovery process.

While this is not what I would call a fun part of the process, it’s a necessary part. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the life I want without it.

Going back and dredging up things from the past is not a casual exercise. It takes some time, mental effort, and emotional energy. It can lead to freedom and healing though.

It can do this in three different ways. For starters, looking at old wounds can help us experience healing. Many emotional hurts are like bullet wounds.

They can stop bleeding and scab up, but the bullet is still in there causing a problem.

I’ve had this happen to my body on a small scale. A surgeon accidentally left a stitch in my body after an operation. I thought the stitch was supposed to be there so I didn’t mess with it.

My body had two reactions to the stitch. It started to grow a scab and new skin around it and the area became infected. The same thing happens with emotional wounds.

The wounded part of our hearts remain infected and the other parts of our hearts keep growing around it. It hurts to peal back what’s grown up around the bullets in our hearts. We can’t get them out any other way though.

They will continue to create infection and this infection will spread into the other parts of our hearts. They say hurt people hurt other people. The pain and infection in my heart has created a great deal of dysfunction in my relationships.

Digging into my heart and opening up to God’s healing is the only solution that’s worked.

The second way inventory brings healing is confession. All of us have done something or a collection of things we think must be hidden. We assume everyone in our lives will reject us if they found out about this act or actions.

This fear is so powerful it tells us God might not forgive us for that sin. In the past, I would wonder if God loves and forgives everyone but me. This painful doubt and fear crippled my ability to experience God’s unconditional love for me.

The truth is God loves us no matter what we’ve done and what we will do. I did not start to grasp the unconditional nature of this love until I confessed my porn addiction to my church small group. My knowledge and experience of this love has grown each time I confess something terrible to fellow believers.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when WE WERE DEAD IN OUR TRESPASSES, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 (my emphasis added)

During your spiritual death, God sought you out to be WITH Christ. He didn’t wait for you to clean up your act and make up for your past mistakes. He put you in a relationship with Christ the moment you accepted the offer of salvation.

It’s one thing to understand this in our minds and something else to grasp in our hearts. Hebrews 3:13 points out how the deceitfulness of sin hardens our hearts. Confession to God’s children and experiencing His unconditional love reflected through them softens our hardened hearts.

It teaches our hearts that there is something more powerful than the shame and guilt we feel.

The third way inventory helps us experience healing is through pattern recognition. The inventory of Regen requires delving into our responses to the hurts, habits, and hangups. It also asks us to investigate the desires, values, and motivations which caused the sin or resulted from the wounds.

Investigating the responses and motivations of many different scenarios brings to light the patterns of our hearts. One pattern which emerged for me is my desire to be special. I feel a need to be special even if this leads me to doing something immoral.

I’ve already started to see how this desire to be special has impacted past and current relationships in a bad way. It will continue to create dysfunction if I don’t bring it to the light. Shoving it back in the closet with the hope of dealing with it later will lead to more hurts, habits, and hangups.

Like recovery itself, the inventory step can be overwhelming. It’s more than possible with God though. He gives me the strength to go through recovery one breath at a time, one day at a time, one step at a time.

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Matthew Rial

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