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Proud Flesh

November 10, 2010
I am no dare devil.
Growing up, I played it safe or what I call “smart”. I steered clear from danger for the most part. Don’t get me wrong. My mother was on a first name basis with the nurses in the emergency room, but that had more to do with my crazy brothers than it did me. Besides, I already knew what would happen if you chased a bull, jumped off the roof, attempted to drive a car before your 4th birthday or shot the windows out of Daddy’s truck. Those were all great lessons I learned from the sidelines, thankfully.

 

I pretty much made it through the first 20 years of my life with no major wounds….no broken bones, no stitches, nada. My only claim to fame in the scar department was the one chicken pox scar right above my eyebrow. And I knew that was no winner when I was in 5th grade and showed it to my friend who showed me hers just like it in the same exact spot. Even the ONE scar I had managed to acquire wasn’t unique to me…and really, on the coolness scale, I’m pretty sure a chicken pox scar has to rank somewhere below the bottom spot.

Fast Forward.

It’s my 23rd birthday and it’s starting to sprinkle. I’m on my way home from college and it is sprinkling just enough to make a nice little mixture of dust and water on my windshield. As I was fumbling with windshield wipers, the intersection snuck up on me. So did the 18-Wheeler. Needless to say, about 27 seconds later I was standing in the middle of the intersection staring at my bloody hands, mangled car, and a messed up truck who’s driver had a broken arm.

Only Jesus can explain how I walked away with a few cuts on my hand, glass in my hair, bruised collar bone from the seat belt and a teeny tiny piece of glass in my wrist. Only He can explain because it was His hand at work.

 The next day, no one would have ever guessed I had just had a run in with a Big Mack. There was nothing to show for it….except for that darn piece of glass in my wrist. I tried and tried to get it out because it was irritating me. I finally gave up. A couple of months later, a nice little raised scar formed. I showed it to my husband and he said “That’s proud flesh. It is flesh that has grown up around the piece of glass.”

 Of course he’s no doctor, so I would not be satisfied until the next time I was in the doctor’s office and asked him about it. Yes. He confirmed it. It was how my body had decided to protect itself from a foreign object/invasion. The technical term was granulation tissue which is what some people call “proud flesh” he told me. It’s fine and not worth having it surgically removed. He said that eventually it would probably work it’s way out. Nothing to be concerned over. Whew! Crisis averted!

 I quit worrying and started wearing it as a badge of honor and every time I would relate the story of the car wreck someone, I had the scar to prove it. Granted, they would have to look REALLY close and squint as I shoved my wrist in their face. I was always sure to inform them that a piece of glass was in there also. It was kind of like a battle scar to me. A war wound. I had battled a big ole truck and won and here’s my awesome itty bitty little scar to show for it.

But every now and then over the years it would “fester” up. It would start hurting, itching and getting red, driving me nuts. Again, I questioned another doctor about why it did that and other times it would be barely visible. She said detoxing would do that. She said anytime you are detoxing, on purpose or not, the toxins in your body have to escape and they do that in many ways, including weak points in your body. She said a really good detox would probably expel it completely.

That explanation satisfied me, so again, I quit worrying about it.

  Then sometime during my last pregnancy, it disappeared. The glass had come out at some point and I never noticed. (I am sure it had something to do with the fact that my wrist was about the only part of my body I was not focusing on at that time).

But, much to my dismay, when the glass went away, so did the scar. Well, there’s still a microscopic imperfection in the skin, but not even noticeable… even if I shoved it into your face to view with a magnifying glass. Dang it. I admit I was a little bummed. Now, I have nothing to show for one of the most traumatic moments of my life. *sigh*

 Not long after I noticed that the scar was MIA, I was doing my morning devotional and came across the scripture:

 “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. “…Psalms 147:3

 Ahhhh…yes, THOSE wounds. The wounds of the broken heart. The wounds of a crushed spirit. We’ve ALL had those, haven’t we? And then I began to realize that I did have scars. Inward scars from old wounds.

 You see, the scars will always be there… the only reference that I have found to scars in the Bible was when Jesus used them prove to Thomas who he was…Jesus had kept the scars…. They are reminders. Jesus used his scars as a reminder and proof of what happened on Calvary. Other than that, God doesn’t seem to be too concerned with scars that are left. He said he would heal our wounds, but he never promised that there would not be scars. You are healed, but there will always be a mark…perhaps as a reminder of the healing that God has done…

And then it dawned on me…Jesus heals the broken heart and the crushed spirit, but our “proud flesh” sometimes builds a wall around those stones that have been hurled our way and embedded themselves in our soul. At first, after they’ve broken the skin and invaded us, it hurts….and we want it gone…but as it settles in, we began to protect it…

 Yes, Jesus, heal my wounds, please…. but you’ll have to do it with the object that caused the wound still there, so I’ll just wrap this proud flesh around it….so Jesus begins to heal, and by all appearances the wound is closed up. The scar is there.

 But, the fascinating thing about scars is that they don’t hurt unless you start messing with them or if there is still a foreign objected embedded in them.

 Just like fleshly wounds, spiritual wounds can be caused by a number of thing…. And they differ greatly among us….but they are wounds and scars nonetheless. Your inward wounds may have been caused by the death of a loved one, growing up in a broken home, the effects of drugs, alcohol, etc., a parent that let you down, a mentor that didn’t live up to what they claimed to be, an unfaithful spouse, a friend’s betrayal, physical/sexual abuse, verbal abuse, the hurtful lies someone may have told about you, neglect, and an endless list of other issues… and what is left are the little invaders like hatred, self-pity, envy, a loss of self worth, and mistrust, among others. And those are what we tend to build that proud flesh around…

And we claim we are “over it”….we’ve “moved on”…“we‘re healed“…. when really, we’ve never gotten rid of the little stinker festering inside…

and every once in a while or maybe quite often, it starts to bug us, itching or hurting and irritating, as if to say “remember me? I’m still here!”

And we go through the pain all over again. It may not be as intense as the initial wound, but pain is there and it remind us…. sometimes daily…of the “thing” we are holding on to…. And we get a strange sense of satisfaction…

“But, I took it to Jesus a long time ago, and he healed me….he really did.”

Yes, but you built that “proud flesh” around the “thing” and didn’t allow Him in to get it out…

 The term “Proud flesh” sounded so funny to me when I heard it the first time…but, in the context of spiritual wounds, it’s actually quite appropriate. It’s our flesh that won’t let it go when God does a healing….

And in that devotion, I realized that there were scars that I had on the inside that still had “things” that had settled way down deep, preventing me from a complete healing….

And for some crazy reason, the same thing that made me reluctant to let go of that glass in my wrist was the same thing that made me reluctant to let go of the those foreign objects in my spiritual scars…. Pride. I felt warrior-like with that glass in my arm, granted it wasn’t a bullet, but it was all I had.

How many times do we allow those scars to dominate our lives when they should be only a passing reminder? We’ve gotten so used to them that we’re comfortable in the misery it brings… we forget what it’s like to live pain free.

And we live in poor pitiful me misery. But once you hold on to one thing, it’s easier to have several scars that have never completely healed. And when all those scars begin to fester at one time, we get depressed, and whine about how “life is not fair” and “look at my scars….boo hoo“…. And “I need Jesus to help me because I’m not sure how much more I can take.” …….when all along, what is hindering our healing is us.

Perhaps it’s time for a detox. I have found that the some of the best detox plans for our flesh involve us having to STOP putting toxins in our bodies and START putting in good stuff … Why couldn’t that work our spiritual life? Oh, it’s no fun at first and when the toxins start coming to the surface, it’s plain icky, gross and painful. It is NEVER pretty. But, it is the only way to expel the fragments of glass and stone and ammunition that have violated us for so long.

The really amazing thing about the piece of glass I had harbored in my body for over 10 years is that it was so small that I couldn’t see it or feel it leave. All those years, I had pictured a huge shard of glass down in my skin. Come to find out, it was a piece smaller than your typical splinter.

I dare you to start expelling the little trespassers. I can guarantee you they are not nearly as big as they once were or how you’ve pictured them to be…then and only then, will your healing be complete…

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3 Comments
  1. Beautiful post!

  2. Mom permalink

    I am so proud of you Jill! I love you, Mom

  3. Jill, this was great! you really do bless my heart. As i am reading this is think,”Wow, i know this girl!” with pride! keep the stories coming. love ya’, Sue

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