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Don’t Touch Me, I’ve been Hurt

Fix your thoughts… (Phil. 4:8 TLP) [1]

Stay your mind on Me…. (Isaiah 26:3 NAS)

Live in vital union with Him… (Col. 2:6 TLP)

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me…. (Ps. 94:19 NAS)

Do you know what a Mastiff dog looks like? They are generally large animals (some weighing almost 200 pounds) with very sensitive faces and very nice personalities. According to the internet, a mastiff is a… “gentle giant whose stature smacks of dignity and grandeur.” They are courageous, loving and sweet, dependable, and excellent guard dogs. We would like having a Mastiff.

Well, “Brownie,” our unclaimed friend across the street, has the face of a Mastiff but the body of a golden Lab. He wandered into our neighborhood and felt safe, so he decided to stay. Pat and Flo feed him daily, but they have never been able to touch him.

I started giving him treats, throwing them on the ground at a distance, and he would cautiously approach and eat. I finally have proven to him that I’m not going to touch him so he will eat little Milkbones out of my hand, but if I lift my hand ever so slightly as though to touch him, he retreats rapidly. He takes the bone from my fingers so gently. But he needs someone to love him. Someone to pet him. But someone somewhere, abused Brownie so badly that he has “retreated” from love and touching and he tells you so with those beautiful eyes: “Don’t touch me, I’ve been hurt.” He has a tag but we can’t get close enough to read it, and even if we could, would we return him to the owner who was so cruel to him that he avoids humans at all costs?

He’s lonesome. He howls in the early night, sleeps alone at the edge of the street most of the day, and has tried his best to get our dog Wesley to be his friend, but Wes has rejected him. I wish I could explain to Wes that Brownie desperately needs someone to be nice to him but I can’t. Wes is jealous of the attention I give to our big dog friend.

How many people are in your circle of “acquaintances” who say the same thing (though perhaps in different ways), “Don’t touch me. I’ve been hurt.” Someone, somewhere abused this person so badly that they have “retreated” from love and touching. Safer to hide than to risk more abuse, more pain, more rejection.

How do you deal with these intense emotions? How do we tenderly lead these hurting people to freedom? God has given us His answer, but too many of us refuse to leave the safety we feel behind our walls or the uncomfortable comfort we feel as we wrap ourselves in our pain and will not follow His wisdom in dealing with our hurt.

Years ago I began a study of the verses on the mind that give us our answer. I turn first to Joshua 1:8-9. That leads to Psalm 1:1-3, and then I follow the running references that I have marked. They tell me what He has instructed me to do about fears whether they have been a part of my life for a long time or whether they are threatening my life now. These verses provide me steps that give me the freedom to “tear down this wall,” open the shutters, rip down the heavy curtains that hide me, and open my closed windows to His peace, His comfort, and His love. I need all of this so desperately because I, too, can say, “I’ve been hurt.”

When you listen to those terrible, painful thoughts that come from Satan, [2] your enemy with his one goal being to destroy you, when you let your mind dwell for hours on the hurt that you have known, when you go to sleep thinking about how frightened you have been, when you tell others in great detail how you have been abused, violated, mistreated – living it all over again and again, this keeps your pain at the high-risk level all day long. Small wonder you have nightmares. Small wonder you walk in your sleep. Small wonder your stress controls you most of the day and you shatter quickly into tiny fragments at a moment’s notice.

LGI has a booklet, “A Study of the Mind” that you can order. Just call Caryn toll-free at 888-395-5433 and ask her to send you one. They are $1.75 each. You may want to get several and give them to your friends who are in the same boat with you. But when all of you stop furiously paddling, that boat ride will be over, you’ll fall out of the boat, get dunked and realize you can be washed clean of your past. It doesn’t happen over night, but you can choose to start right now.

I’m going to keep giving treats to Brownie, loving him, letting him feel safe when I’m kneeling in front of him holding out a Milkbone, and one of these days I’ll rub my hand softy on his head, “You’re such a nice dog. Good dog. Nice boy.” And one of these days you’ll let someone touch you and say, “You are such a neat person. I love you.”

Like the butterfly I find

I can no longer stay behind

walls I built for my own protection.

I struggle to be free

breaking the walls I thought were me

To soar in God’s dimension.

[1] Taylor’s Living Paraphrase

[2] Read: Lifetime Guarantee: Bill Gillham for further teaching.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.