For When He Pushes Past my Resistance and Holds Me Close (Word of the Week)

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November 9, 2014 by Beth Hess

isaiah40_11-blogsizeI did not expect anger to be the first feeling to find its way past the numbness.

As the pumice stone of grace and truth crossed against my calloused soul, I had some understanding that sensation would someday return. I even suspected it might be uncomfortable. Painful perhaps.

Even so, I caught myself surprised when a series of relatively innocuous events left me in a rage of seething words. An avalanche of sharp edges thrown carelessly towards anyone who dared move past me. A day that left me shaking — literally, yes. But emotionally as well.

A bitterness that bubbled and boiled until hot tears burst forth. I could contain them no longer. Words and weeping flooded out simultaneously. Hurts I didn’t even know I was hiding. I didn’t edit. I didn’t numb. I let myself feel it all.

Addiction recovery is surgery without anesthesia. A deep, deep digging out of the things of life you’ve been trying to avoid by masking them. Numbing them. Stuffing them.

And when you stop masking, numbing, and stuffing, everything is magnified. Like a southerner’s first Minnesota winter, your blood is thin and your skin is raw. Vulnerable.  Exposed.

And that is a scary, scary place to be.

If flight is no longer a self-preservation technique, fight takes over.

There is an approach in psychology for children prone to rage called Holding Therapy. To wrap oneself firmly around the angry one until they settle and learn to trust and attach to their holder. It is not without controversy, and it is not my intent to dispute that here. Because my only frame of reference is that God uses it with me.

I shout and flail my limbs about, unwilling to surrender my right to be angry. I want to keep any more pain at a distance. The outrage inside is raw enough. I cannot risk anything or anyone getting close enough to pour salt in the wounds.

But my Jesus takes His chances. He is not discouraged by my flying fists or foul words. He holds. Oh, how he holds. Firmly. Tenderly. Without weariness. Without rebuke.

He takes care of his people like a shepherd. 
He gathers them like lambs in his arms 
and carries them close to him. (Isaiah 40:11)

As He gathers me in His arms, my spirit, indeed settles. And then it starts to sing. Softly at first. And pleading by the end.

Hold Me Jesus

Well, sometimes my life
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small 

So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace
  (Rich Mullins)

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I return each Sabbath for a fresh Word of the Week. For the God-breathed pages to come alive in a phrase or two on which to spend a 7-day feast. To meditate upon. To use as a jumping off point for whatever other words God would have me hear during the week. I would love for you to join the Word of the Week (WOW) discussion by adding your selected verse to the comments … or reflections on any scripture reading. 

Linking with Unforced Rhythms — a wonderful community of writers who gather each Monday to share with you HERE.

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27 thoughts on “For When He Pushes Past my Resistance and Holds Me Close (Word of the Week)

  1. Kristin Hill Taylor says:

    Perhaps you linked up this post today specifically because I needed to hear it. I didn’t need to hear it yesterday as much as I needed it today, this morning, right now. So, thank you for sharing this. 🙂

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  2. ambercadenas says:

    What a huge step of surrender, Beth, to allow yourself to feel anger – to feel, period.

    I read this yesterday, in a book about loss… I think it absolutely applies to recovery as well:

    “Anger, like denial or bargaining or binges, is simply another way of deflecting pain, holding it off, fighting back at it. We refuse to let the pain in and experience it for the hell it is. But the pain of loss is unrelenting. It stalks and chases until it catches us. It is as persistent as wind on the prairies, as constant as cold in the Antarctic, as erosive as a spring flood. It will not be denied and there is no escape from it. In the end denial, bargaining, binges, and anger are mere attempts to deflect what will eventually conquer us all. Pain will have its day because loss is undeniably, devastatingly real.” – Jerry Sittser, A grace disguised

    Which leads us to face what lies beneath it all. And there, begin to find our way to healing and wholeness.

    I love you, and I am so glad you are finding yourself held so close.

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    • Beth Hess says:

      Thank you for adding this quote to my heart and mind. I do feel the underlying sadness starting to make its way to the top. When I stop feeling angry, I realize I’m just mad that there is something not working the way I want it to. Certainly that is the deeper place God is leading me to. But this, too, I know can only be traveled by going through. I can only pray the tears will be a graceful balm to the wounds yet left to fully irrigate before healing can have its day.

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  3. Beth, this is full of strong consolation. Thank you for the song – can never go wrong with Rich, yes? – and for the word picture of being held. I agree with Katie that we are often not taught what to do with our anger, but it sounds like you are learning. Bravely. … As always, I applaud your unflinching honesty, friend.

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    • Beth Hess says:

      Not so sure it feels brave on this side of it, friend. That “hot inside my soul” line from the song is ringing very true these days. But it does help to get it out, and I am more than grateful for the welcoming avenue of your friendship and Unforced Rhythms.

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      • And beneath anger sometimes comes grief. A very wise man told me that anger was a way of keeping the grief at bay. And sometimes I have seen people stay angry because that too can be numbing. It’s a long walk. Anger was a gift because the pain was too much, so I was able to walk a further down the road until the tears came. The Lord be very with you in this journey.

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      • Beth Hess says:

        This is a good word, Katie. I think you are probably right about the grief that is still to come. So very thankful for your prayers of blessing over it.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    This is so true. I remember when I went off sugar how much I had to feel all the feelings. Thank you for your sweet reminder about how Jesus holds us tenderly and firmly.

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  5. jandwblog says:

    So poignant. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. This resonates deeply with me. Anger is an emotion I am currently struggling with, but for different reasons. God bless you.

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  7. Sharon says:

    I have sometimes been caught off guard by how quickly anger can rise and rage in my life. Mostly it surprises me because I am not usually a person with a quick temper. But, when it raises its ugly head, I am stunned by its ferocity. But, the thing that surprises me the most is how much I enjoy venting its ugly venom. THAT is what scares me. The enjoyment of letting go of being nice and letting my inner person rage. Sigh.

    I am also so very glad that Jesus dares to come near in those moments. And though my flailing endures for a while, I am finally consoled by the One who says to me so gently, “Let it go.”

    Thanks for this honest and uplifting post.

    GOD BLESS!

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  8. While my addiction may have been quite different than yours, I understand your anger and I love that you share such raw emotions here. The truth of your heart and that is where freedom starts, in truth. Truth of His Word, truth of our hearts, because our hearts will deceive us, I am so blessed by this post. Having let go of my addiction of bitterness and un-forgiveness now for many years, I can assure you it will be a long road ahead BUT HE is the God who walks with us! 31 Days of writing centered around 31 Days of Redemption. I would love for you to take a browse through them, I shared my story of hope and redemption. You are an overcomer by the word of your testimony and by the Blood of the Lamb! Cheering you on with a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before!

    Laura Mitchell
    http://www.livinginfreedomeveryday.blogspot.com

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  9. Jolene says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I also love the song “Hold Me Jesus.” I am so thankful that he doesn’t let go even when I am fighting Him.

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  10. Leah says:

    Thank you for putting into words what it is like to recover from addiction. Praying for your raw feelings today.

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  11. JoNell says:

    Thank you again, Beth! I’m praying for myself–for courage, for self-compassion–and feeling a lot of foreboding about giving up my long time numbing behaviors. They’ve been lifelong companions, after all, and in a perverse way have served me well! Thanks for reminding me that Jesus will hold me close.

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  12. Have you found a community to help you with your recovery? Overeaters Anonymous for instance? Thank you for your honesty. Anger is a hard emotion to walk through because we’re not taught how to deal with it. I too have found the Lord holding me when these strong emotions sock in…And they don’t always make sense, do they? The Lord be with you as you continue on this journey.

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