The Third Thorn

As I mentioned in a previous post, God showed me that there were “thorns” in my heart that were symbolic of things that were done or said to me that I had neglected to deal with adequately at a previous time. These things had grown in to symbolic thorns that caused me continual pain and fed my system a constant stream of poison and infection. This is the story of the Third Thorn.

This Thorn was one of the largest ones, and it was centered in the lower portion of my heart, in between the left and right ventricles. It was pulsing with every beat of my heart, sending its poison through my system as a normal course of daily living.

Its name was Acceptance.

I realized that I had craved the knowledge that I was good enough and acceptable from an early age. I never received that at home; my parents did the best they could with what they had to work with, but it left them “operating in the red,” as accountants call it. They never received affirming words or acceptance for themselves as children or adults, and so to give something when the account was overdrawn was simply not possible.

I think I’m hardwired as a bit of an overachiever, and while some of that trait is natural to me, some of it was also to try and get my parents’ attention and affirmation that I really was accepted and okay.

As a young woman, I sought out acceptance. And when it came in the form of interest from guys in high school and college, I was flattered. I needed it. I craved it. And I nailed my self-worth to their interest. Maybe if I was beautiful to them, I could believe that I was beautiful and acceptable to my parents. And eventually, to God.

This led me in to a huge trap of sexual compromise. Not that I actively engaged in intercourse —I was still a virgin— but that I made intimate mistakes out of my emotional deficits. I permitted guys to use me for their pleasure, latched myself to them with a soul tie, and hung my hat of self-value and acceptance on their pursuit of me. And of course, when the relationships ended (because they were really just one-sided), I was devastated. More so than I should have been, but I was unaware of this underlying need and motivation to be accepted, and when the guy pulled away, a piece of my emotional framework pulled away with him.

Pastors and counselors will tell us today that it’s common for someone to transfer attributes (both negative and positive) from our earthly dads to our Heavenly Dad. And as a trained pastor, I understand this. What I didn’t understand was that I had done this very thing in the area of acceptance.

Because I hadn’t attained my parents’ approval and acceptance before becoming a Christ-Follower and I was constantly trying to DO things in order to try to attain it, when I came to understand God as my Heavenly Father, I subconsciously transferred feelings of inadequacy and an inability measure up to Him. My overachieving nature went in to hyperdrive and I worked hard for God. Not consciously, because if you had asked me what I was doing, I would have said that my love for Him was manifesting itself in physical ways by serving and doing. And part of that was true.

But the greater part was this crazy hamster-wheel I was on —running, running, running, but never getting anywhere. Doing, doing, doing —but never feeling accepted or acceptable to God. Hearing things like, “God doesn’t love you any less when you don’t have your devotions in the morning,” and thinking, “What a load of crap that is! He loves me far more when I do my devotions and pray every morning than when I don’t!”

I simply didn’t get it.

Out of that non-understanding and misunderstanding, I rejected the idea that I had anything to offer of quality or beauty. That God could use me in anything more than a “worker bee” mode, or that He would ever want to. The idea that He created me as one who was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-16) was absolute nonsense to me. Yes, He created me, but my body was anything but wonderful and amazing. And the idea that I had beauty to offer? Gifts to offer that weren’t the labour of my hands? Nope. Not possible.

And so as I confessed my secrets to my husband one evening and we talked about these underlying needs we have, God revealed to me that this Thorn of Acceptance had to come out. It was time. I had searched everywhere in an attempt to fill that void…everywhere except with Him.

And so I released my parents from their accountability in this matter. I released the guys I had made mistakes with. And I released myself. I confessed that I had tried to fix things on my own, and God released me from that accountability.

Then the Thorn came out. Its hole was large, ugly, and blackened from the sinful ways in which I tried to fill it, but in my spirit, I saw God cleanse the hole that the Thorn had filled, and then His fingers closed it.

The experience was hard, and I laid on my husband’s chest and sobbed. But when it was over, I had the most glorious sense of God’s presence and of His peace. The fact is that I am accepted. I am beautiful. I do have gifts to offer —things to give that come from the beauty He’s put in my heart, not just from the labour of my hands.

This new reality is still working on me and in me, and there are times when I am not sure how to act or respond within this new paradigm. But God is blazing the path with me and showing me each step of the way what He expects of me.

And for that, I’m incredibly thankful.

His and his,

This entry was posted on 170710H Jul 2008 and is filed under Forgiveness, Path to Healing, Thorns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • Jonathan

    Good stuff cori. I found your site because I’ve lost my passion and love for God and life. I’m working on it then I felt him say there is a thorn in my heart that needs to be removed. I don’t know what it is, when or how Ill do this? Just trust. I wanna enjoy my life again and get it over with.