Wild at Heart is a book that I’ve loved incorporating with my male clients since I started practicing as a therapist. In my previous post, I mentioned that the author, John Eldredge, is a Christian therapist who does a great job of being able to speak to men with all different types of backgrounds from a mental health standpoint. Wild at Heart walk through an adventure into discovering, or rediscovering, their purpose by looking at their wounds as well as the desires of every man’s heart.
We have covered, “The Question,” and, “The Wound,” which lead to this post on, “Healing the Wound,” and what Eldredge describes as, “A Battle to Fight.” Up next, I’ll finish up this series with, “A Beauty to Rescue,” and, “The Adventure to Live,” which you can find as a live link when that blog is uploaded (or jump back to the beginning for a refresher).
Healing the Wound
Healing the wound can be a very hard and tough process. However, it comes down to one thing: finding our strength in God. As Eldredge writes, there are no exact formulas with God. The way God heals our wound is a deeply personal process that is different for every man and involves restoring our hearts.
Over the many years of counseling men, Eldredge has found a few themes and lays out 4 steps to being able to heal your wounds.
- Step one begins with surrendering ourselves to Christ. As Men, we must ask Christ to heal all of the broken places within us and allow him to unite our brokenness to heal our hearts. This means we must go into our wounds with Christ, we cannot ask from afar. We must enter into our wound and face it head on.
- Step two involves grieving our wound. As Eldredge writes, we have to realize that it wasn’t our fault and it did matter. Grief is a form of validation that says the wound mattered and affected you to your core.
- Step three is letting God love us. This is not as easy as it sounds because we must let God get really close to us. It is not just a mental acknowledgement that God loves us; it’s that we let our hearts turn to him and stay in his love.
- Step four is forgiveness. The time has come for us to forgive all those who have wounded us. Forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and then discovering that you were the prisoner the whole time. You have been a prisoner to your wound for too long, and it’s time to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling, but an act of the will. Forgiveness says, “It was wrong, it mattered, and I release you.”
A Battle to Fight
The first desire of a man’s heart is the battle to fight. Every man’s battle is very different, but we all have our own battles to fight. Every man is a warrior at heart yet every man must choose to fight. As men we can not start to fight our battles until we address our wounds, but once our wounds are addressed the warrior with in us can be unleashed.
Our battles have everything to do with what we are passionate about and they are on different terrains. Those terrains could be at home, at work, in our neighborhoods, or even in the world. I have had many clients come in and figure out that just like their fathers, they had become absent at home and it was wrecking their marriage. Their battle ground was now their home where they were having to fight for the marriage and mend broken bridges with their wife and kids.
After working with one client for a few months we had uncovered his wound and he had worked through the four steps of healing that. After doing that work one day he came in and told me very excitedly that he knew what his battle was. He had grown up in the intercity and a rough neighborhood and he was passionate about helping kids in his neighborhood stay out of trouble. His battle ground was now his neighborhood that was overrun with gang violence. He took the opportunity to run for a local office where he could work with the city on making his neighborhood a safer place.
The battle to fight looks different for every man depending on what you are passionate about and what is going on around you. Like the first example it could be within your home with your family or the latter man who’s battle was his neighborhood. It will not be an easy battle, but whatever your battle is, God is waiting for you to action. He will be with you through whatever your battle is, but you have to be willing to take up your battle first instead of standing by the side.
If you are reading this post and you feel like something is moving inside then it’s likely that some of Eldredges’s content resonates with you. If any of this struck a nerve and you feel like you need someone to talk to and figure all of this out, then please don’t waste another moment and reach out to me here. I’d be happy to help you identify these things by mapping out your options and charting your path.
Written by therapist Alex Parlette
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