I am a recovering self-injurer.
It started when I was little with hitting myself in the head, and then I progressed to cutting in high school. I've been in and out of therapy several times to deal with this issue, but I never wanted to stop. It was the only thing keeping me sane. Then when I gave myself to God about ten years ago, my attitude about SI changed. I knew there was more to life that slicing up my skin, and that there was hope.
I wish I could say I haven't cut in ten years, but that would be a lie. During this whole recovery process I've relapsed several times. Sometimes I feel like I'll never be completely healed.
Last week Kary Oberbrunner talked about self-injury over at Throw Mountains. He has a book coming out soon called Your Secret Name where he talks about discovering who God created us to be, which is expressed through this idea of a "secret name." His website includes a free test that helps you discover what your secret name is.
According to the test, my secret name is Free.
Wait, what? Free? Me? You gotta be kidding!
But then I remember what Jesus said: "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36) So, wait, you mean I'm already free? So why do I still feel imprisoned? Is it because I keep forgetting that I'm free? Or maybe I can't believe that I'm free?
It's true that I have a hard time comprehending grace, because I always thought of atonement as something you had to do on your own. But that's not how God works. He's offering me grace for free. Well, maybe not totally free, because it cost Jesus His life. But since Jesus already did the dirty work, that means all I have to do is accept that gift of grace.
Now don't think that I'm suggesting a quick easy fix for self-injury. SI is like alcoholism or anything other addiction--recovery is one day at a time. But I do think it's time I start remembering that I am free man, even though I sometimes can't understand it.
The Work Done, The Work Yet To Do
8 hours ago