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The deep dive that leads to healing

Susan’s father had a temper. When, as a 5 year-old, she provoked him, he would explode, yelling and threatening. What was she to do? She would run to her room and hide in her closet. When her father came looking for her and found her hugging her little stuffed bear, in his rage he shook her threw…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Susan’s father had a temper. When, as a 5 year-old, she provoked him, he would explode, yelling and threatening. What was she to do? She would run to her room and hide in her closet. When her father came looking for her and found her hugging her little stuffed bear, in his rage he shook her threw her to the floor.

Susan loved her father. But for some reason, she found it difficult to connect to other men. And the two things were related. She had locked the memory far away in the recesses of her mind, but even in that hidden place, it impacted her behavior.

When we’ve asked our 20-something applicants the question, “Have you ever been physically abused?”, over half of them have said, “yes.”

It’s a shocking statistic. It shows Karen and I, as coaches of 62 of them, that we have some work to do.

I like to tell new racers that there are three major tasks before them on the World Race:

1. To heal
2. To grow
3. To serve

As a coach and discipler, one of the things I love about the race is that we don’t have to dance around the question of “do you trust me to help you heal and grow?”

Back in the real world, that is a dance and conversation that can take years. But racers sign up because they want to heal and grow and serve, so on a debrief, our time is usually crammed full of one-on-one appointments.

The main task a racer may initially face is unearthing the part of them that needs healing. We humans are born survivalists – we make the best of messy childhoods. If we were emotionally or physically abused, we may lock the event away down deep, in the recesses of our memory, unaware of how it blocks us. The only clue we may have is that we struggle to connect in our relationships. But that’s just a symptom.

To uncover the extent of a person’s wounding and to help them get unblocked usually takes a deep dive. We have to go to those places that are hidden.

If a person senses they need healing and is ready to take the deep dive, who knows what you’ll find? Issues of betrayal and abuse when you were in a vulnerable place in life can get buried so far down that you are unaware of them.

Only the deep dive positions you to address the broken places. It requires trust and no small amount of courage. When a racer shows up ready to “go there,” it requires probing questions about painful events and then a conversation where lies are addressed, forgiveness given, and prayers appropriating spiritual authority are prayed. It can be tough stuff. Tears are inevitable.

Many of us can’t see how broken and stuck we are. Or we can’t summon up the courage to take the deep dive that would help heal us. When someone is ready to take that deep dive that leads to healing, it can be a wonderful thing.

If you’re a racer getting ready to launch, let me encourage you to examine yourself and ask God to show you any places where he wants to set you free still. Make the decision to take the deep dive with someone you trust. Your year will go so much better if you can find release from the the power of those secrets.

And anyone else out there sensing the gap between the life you’re living and the abundant life Jesus promised, my encouragement is that you ask God if there are places that you’ve walled off from him that he wants to touch.

Then, if he says “yes,” I pray you summon up the courage to take the deep dive that will bring healing and freedom. It’s painful, but so worth it.

Comments (7)

  • This is a good word Seth. I’ve found from personal experience and in others that “healing” is a journey more than an event…even with courage and the redeeming power of the Holy Spirit. I admire what you are doing with the WR team and am confident many will emerge with tools to nurture emotional well being.

    Blessings friend…

  • Imelda Perez (Team Shekinah)

    Seth, thank you for writing this. It’s exactly what God needed me to hear today. I’ve been meditating on Psalm 139:23 as I allow the Lord to prep me for launch this September and for mission. It hasn’t been by any means easy.

    I got excited as I reflected on the prophesy one of the trainers spoke over me at camp in July. “dive deep”…she saw me on a beach, sitting and waiting on the Lord and being filled, and then being called out onto the waters — which is scary to me — and letting Jesus take me to dive deep. Dive deep, she repeated.

    You can imagine how it just felt reading your words and having the Spirit stir within me.

    I’m blessed to partake in the Gospel life with people like you.

  • Thank you so much for posting this! I truly hope this year will be one of healing, growth and intimate service for me. Although painful, I look forward to “going there”. God has surrounded me with people who can offer wisdom, comfort, encouragement AND accountability. Praise God for His hand in creating my newest family and the work He will do in and through us this year.

  • Thank you so much for this, Seth. It comes at the perfect time for Bruce and me as we head off to our first on-the-field debrief.

  • I tell people all the time that Training Camp was the most intense thing I ever did in my entire life (In a lot of ways, it was more intense than the Race was). I don’t know if I could ever re-live it, but it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I remember walking around, physically feeling like I was wrapping my arms around myself to keep all my insides from falling out. That’s kind of a gross picture, but that was the extent that my fear had on me. I was so afraid to trust the people around me to see all I had held in, but letting them into that was all the difference.

    I wish that what happened to me at World Race Training Camp could happen to friends and family of mine. I would love to bring that model on a bigger scale to people everywhere, because being FREE and receiving healing are the things that have made me love Jesus more than anything else I know.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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