Dealing with the Effects of a Dislocated Heart

Posted: June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

On Thanksgiving Monday of 2010, I awoke in the morning with plans of playing with the kids, then playing some flag football in the afternoon, and then head back home for 2-3 hours of connected time with God & culture in reading and study before supper time.  Well I got 2/3’s of the way through that list until the final play of our flag football game.  One hard throw at the end of the game resulted in a pinky finger being dislocated in two spots!  Needless to say it didn’t really feel very good, and I definitely knew something was wrong right away.  After close to 2 ½ hours @ the hospital, the doctor informed me of the situation…snapped things back into place (literally!), and I was on my way (although God did provide me the opportunity to be a witness to a young girl who was in for self injury…but that’s a post for another day!).

If you’ve ever experienced a dislocation, you know that it can hurt pretty good…and not just for a few days, but the pain, discomfort and healing can take months to fully subside.  I can draw a parallel to the pain and discomfort of that dislocation and the waiting around to hear from the doctor, to a time in my life where I just knew ‘something wasn’t right’…that I was ‘dislocated’ from where God wanted me to be.  In my early mid-20’s I went through a wandering time away from God and my relationship with Him.  Like my x-ray pic, I was going in the right direction, but then suddenly I found myself right off alignment from God’s path for my life.  Eventually He helped me get back in alignment with Him (through many friends, accountability & counseling), and it’s been an incredible journey ever since.

Now that’s a real brief story of my dislocation from God, and re-location back in unison with Him…but not all dislocations are bad.  The pain of a dislocation is a trigger our body uses to send warning that something is not right, and needs attention.  The dislocation I suffered at that football game was pretty severe, but it could have been worse.  The kind I suffered usually results in tendon and/or ligament rupture, but this dislocation, if you had to endure one, was the kind you want!  Had there been no real pain, I simply would have chalked it up to a sprain, then went along likely done even more damage to the finger.  It’s like experiencing tension in life…when everything is going smooth we can cost through life neglecting our ‘daily routine life maintenance’.  But when tension comes our way, we can either view it as a nuisance, or as an opportunity to tend to things that are in need of repair, healing and change.  I’ve identified 3 main areas, based on my own experience, to avoid disconnection with- dislocation with God, Family, and Community.  If you find yourself frailing in any of these areas, it might be a good time for a check up…lest you become dislocated in all three (I feel a future sermon/teaching series here!). 

My own journey of dislocation from God also resulted in dislocation from my family and friends, as was the case throughout most of my first 29 years growing up in a dysfunctional family system.  But by His grace, God also provided an intense time of self-discovery of who I am, both in Christ, and who I used to be (and no longer wished to live as).  I began to develop what Chip Ingram describes in his book Holy Ambition as a “Dislocated Heart.”  Things began to change as I drifted away from the disconnected and dysfunctional world I used to know, and began to drift closer in my connection with Christ and His Holy Spirit at work in me.  I knew I wasn’t where I was supposed to be, and that led to God pulling me out of my comfort zone and into a purposeful way of living as an agent of change for His glory.  Check out this excerpt from Holy Ambition;

A dislocated heart is a God-given concern that propels us out of our comfort zone. It is a passionate concern for God’s people and God’s agenda that supersedes our own personal comfort and prosperity. It’s caring about things elsewhere when circumstances don’t dictate that you have to. It is the kind of heart the apostle Paul demonstrated in Romans 9, when he grieved over his Israelite kinsmen who didn’t know Christ. It is the kind of heart we see modeled best in our Savior, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant. . . . And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6–8).”

So here we are, June 21, 2011, and I’m (and my family) are yet again in the midst of experiencing the effects of dislocation as we pack up our home and prepare to say good-bye to our friends and adopted family in Abbotsford.  Some of the pain of disconnecting from the life, community and roots we’ve established here have already begun to release a ‘hystamine’, swelling effect into our hearts.  As we inch closer to the moving date, roll out onto the highway, and arrive in Ontario, I’m sure the pain of dislocation from 4 years of memories will further set in.  But in the midst of this, there is hope!  You see I’ve been feeling a sense of dislocation…that something just wasn’t right, for quite some time now.  Sometimes we notice the warning indicators right away (presence of sin, self, neglect), and many times…well it takes a while to get our attention that change may be necessary!  But this road of change for our family, starting with my final day @ Northview back in November, and culminating to another cross-country move fast approaching, as brought not only some discomfort, but also some great life lessons.  I’m a better husband, father…and I think, person, than I was 8 months ago.  I think my capacity for leadership in my home, my spiritual life, and as a ministry leader has grown tremendously.  The blessing of being much more available and accessible to my wife and children in itself was huge for us.  As well, many other areas of relationship issues, hurts, and stuff I was holding onto has been released to the Lord and He has brought healing, understanding…and in the areas where there’s still some discomfort and questions, my capacity to trust and wait has also greatly increased!

So if you feel you may be experiencing the effects of a dislocated heart…take a deep breath…there’s hope along the way for those who trust in the Lord Jesus, our true Redeemer!  Having a dislocated heart doesn’t always mean you necessarily are going through a huge life transition or issue…it’s sometime more subtle than that. It often means stepping outside our comfort zones and allowing God do something great within our hearts…before we worry about doing things for Him!  I’ve learned many times in life that God rarely (if ever) does something great through us until He does some significant transformation within us!

Are you dislocated?  If you’re not sure, it might be time to see the doctor…but not that ones that wear white lab coats or wander around hospitals.  I’m talking about the Great physician…Healer…Restorer…and Transformer of hearts and lives.  Is it time to make a one-on-one appointment with Jesus?  You may not feel like you have the time, but trust me, it was the best appointment I’ve made in years!!!

  1. jess says:

    wow so good just what i needed to read today! thanks! 🙂

  2. Marni says:

    This verse came to mind as I read this post.
    They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Ps. 107:30

  3. Amen Marni…even though the Lord knows that sometimes we need a season in the deep end, He also knows that we’re more than glad when the tossing waves cease, and we can rest in calmer waters!

    Thanks for the verse…say hi to the family from us…only 1 week until moving day for us 😦

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