OK. Confession time.
A little over a year and a half ago, I interviewed to take my boss’ job when he left our company. He and I had been connected at the hip for more than two years and I was incredibly fortunate and grateful that he had subsequently endorsed me and advocated on my behalf to take his position.
Additionally, throughout the hiring process, I had eight hour-long interviews and I believed I had hit grand slams with each of them. I had even asked each interviewer to make me their top candidate, to which a majority agreed. I felt incredibly confident that the position was mine to lose.
But when the decision was ultimately made, I didn’t get it.
And I was completely devastated.
I mean, like, it thoroughly wounded me.
I don’t pour my heart and soul into many things, but I had poured my heart and soul into this.
And not getting the position was like a dagger in my heart.
I’m not trying to be super melodramatic here for effect. This is what I felt on the inside.
And it was difficult to not feel it on a moment-by-moment basis. Even worse, it was difficult to not live out of wound and the pain that was there.
I’m not sure if you have ever lived out of a wound, but let me tell you that it is a place of death.
And it makes you all of the things you were never intended to be.
The truth is that the easiest thing in the world to do is ignore the wound and let it fester, but it will ultimately become the source from which you begin to live your life. The toxicity will spread and manifest in how you see people and situations, how you relate with others, and in the words you use and the actions you take.
A neglected and infected wound is toxic and leads to death.
And I am ashamed to say … that was me.
The other day, I was talking on the phone to a friend with whom I talk every day. While I came into 2017 resolved to mentally move forward, there was still a lot of hostility in my words that came from my deep wound.
That’s when my friend said something that made me completely stop in my tracks. He was like, “Outside of work, you have so much peace. But at work, you really have a lot of anger.”
I knew he was right.
While I had been trying to mentally move forward, I had buried my deep pain and covered my wound and was living out of it. And while it had been full of death and was completely toxic, I had never taken time to face it, to introspect, to pray over it and open myself to get the healing that I so desperately needed.
I had just tried to ignore it and move on, but it was there the whole time, killing me.
It’s easy to get into a place where one selectively introspects. We all have blind spots. And if I had not been pushed by my friend, I would never have been forced to look inward, to ask where this death was coming from, to face the wound and what caused it and what continued to perpetuate it.
I have a wound and I have been living out of it for over a year. And guess what?
It will not heal until I humbly face it and ask the Spirit of God to do the inner work that only the Spirit can do — to heal my toxic wound and replace it with love, contentment, and joy.
That’s where my prayer and attention is focused now. And it’s amazing how liberated I feel and how unburdened I have become.
I can’t overstate how important it is for each of us to have people in our lives that we allow to speak truth to us. Sometimes, even with our best intentions, we are woefully myopic and painfully selective.
But it goes beyond having someone who will speak truth to us. Even though it may hurt our ego and any sense of pride in our lives, for real, lasting healing we have to put down our defenses and peacefully listen to the truth we are hearing about ourselves.
For it is only in a posture of humility and invitation that we can receive the kind of truth that can pierce our ego and pride and allow the necessary work to be done to make us whole and healed from the inside out.