Those closest to me know I’ve deemed Summer 2016 as “The Summer of Healing.” I’ve slowly been coming out of the fog of poor physical health and as my physical health continued to improve over the last 2 years, little by little I became aware of some emotional, psychological and spiritual health issues that needed addressing.
Because of the stresses of life there was only so much emotional healing I could deal with at any given time. I was in survival mode and could only handle a small drip of emotional revelation and healing at a time. Like a cactus that would die from a flood, God was gracious to only allow sprinkles of revelation, for the flood would surely have been my demise.
Well, this summer, the floodgates opened. Boy has it been a doozy of a gully washer….yet unbelievably freeing and prosperous. I was ready. And it was time.
There have been times in my life where pain (both physical and emotional) and darkness were so oppressive I thought I’d be crushed by it. Yet, there was always this presence that kept me cocooned and in a protective shell that would allow me to get to the brink for my own good, but never let me fall.
That presence was a Person. It is the most powerful person of all time: Jesus Christ. I believe in one God. One God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I believe the One True God, in three forms, created the Heavens and the Earth with such detail and such complexity that we’ve spent generations trying to figure it all out. I believe that the One True God is so powerful that He speaks and it is so.
God’s professed Word calls things into being and cuts to the core of the human existence and all it’s connected to. This One True God has such capacity that He can govern the sun, moon, and stars that act as an eternal clock and still be mindful and very present in my own personal healing. That is a God I long to worship. If I’m going to have faith in a god, then He better have that kind of power or I’m going to lose interest and go find something else.
The truth about the One True God is true whether I actually believe it or not. He is who He is whether my perception of Him is accurate or not. And pain perverts perception. I have carried such pain in my body, bones, and mind since the age of 12, that SO many of my perceptions were perverted. Not only were perceptions and beliefs about God skewed, but my interpretations of experiences and others were skewed and perverted. It’s a perfect storm and that’s true for each of us.
I just couldn’t see clearly, no matter how hard I tried. As I reflect on that time, I can now see that certain prayers that I have prayed for 20 years have taken tremendous time to unfold because God was working something so much bigger inside of me. I can now see that certain strongholds in my life were being attacked by my God in a full on assault from several directions in order to uproot the sin, shame, guilt, and maladaptive patterns that grew and developed out of false beliefs.
Years of sermons, conversations with friends and family, therapy sessions (with various therapists and pastors), Bible Studies, books, prayers, etc. have converged at the Summer of Healing and brought me something I hoped for but grew doubtful would actually happen in this lifetime: FREEDOM & rest.
Freedom & rest from pain, sin, worry, doubt, fear, guilt, depression, despair, and shame that have had a nasty grip on me. I will still experience these things as long as I dwell in the flesh and live in a fallen world, but they will no longer have the same profound effect on me. I can feel that truth in my bones now more clearly than I can feel the pain that was there even as recently as a few months ago. When it finally lifted, it LIFTED.
Today, I walk a little lighter. I laugh a little harder. I still cry (because I’m a cryer and some things never change!), but there’s something different behind the tears: The FREEDOM and the Light and Redemption of Jesus Christ. It’s always been there, but I’m experiencing it in a whole new way.
If you have lived through trauma and pain and still carry it around but are ready to be free of it: YOU CAN BE FREE.
If you know you’ve been called to face some things, you can face them and pursue the healing and: YOU CAN BE FREE.
If you’re scared to face those things and don’t totally even know how to get started, you’re not alone, you can do this and: YOU CAN BE FREE.
If you’re ready, I suggest a 4 pronged approach that is based solely on what worked for me, so while you can take the basic principles, you’ll have to make adjustments in ways that are right for you.
Seek First the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. Whether you believe in God or not…
- Be in a Christ-centered, Bible based church on Sunday mornings
- Read your Bible more days than not
- Be in a Christ-centered, Bible based, prayer-centric small group for support & community
Pray in ALL things…Whether you believe in God or not
[In this case, start simple and pray every day: God, if you are in fact real, and if you do have a specific identity and a specific name, show yourself to me]
- Before you ever pray for someone else, pray for yourself first:
- “Lord, open my eyes. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear CLEARLY, not from my pain or misconceptions, but from Your perspective.” God, in His good and sovereign power, is quite literally the ONLY one who can work all things for the good of EVERYONE, without conscious or unconscious agendas–quite literally for the GOOD of all people. I don’t know about you, but I KNOW I can’t do that.
- Be open to the idea that you likely don’t have the full story.
- Humble yourself before the Lord and say, “Lord, find any offensive way within me and lead me in the way everlasting that I might see things from your perspective and not from my own limited view.”
- Pray that your faith would be built in unshakable ways.
- If the One True God of the universe can create complex and awesome systems of nature, He can work in the intricate details of your life. It is by faith that we begin to live our days according to this powerful truth. Faith is where the power is.
If you’re a human, you have issues. Find a good therapist, possibly several over the course of time. And while friends/family are a good and helpful piece of the puzzle, they are NOT trained professionals.
Stress, unmet expectations, sin, addiction, poor parenting (NONE of us are or have perfect parents), etc. all have deep psychological and emotional effects on us.
- Be open to the idea of the input and guidance of a professional. I PROMISE it’s not as scary as it may seem and often people get in there and actually love it. I resisted at first and quickly became a junky!
Have an open mind & don’t be opposed to the idea of medication.
- NO DOUBT we live in a time of too many pills–BUT too many people go a LIFETIME marred by depression or anxiety that quite literally a small dose of something will literally change their life & relationships. I’ve seen it over and over. I’ve seen 30 year olds up to 65/70 year olds finally get proper medication and the change is instant. Pray about it and trust the person recommending it.
Don’t wait too long to go. One therapist said it like this: “Don’t wait until the fire is on the 18th floor.”
- I loved that analogy so much. THINK about how much LESS is burned up when we catch the fire on the 3rd floor as opposed to the 18th floor. That goes for marriage counseling as well. MANY marriages and families could be saved if they got to good therapy before the entire marriage was burned up.
- Over and over again, the Lord has brought me nuggets of truth and healing from books. Often, I only read small chunks at a time and chew on them, pray about them, go to the Bible about them, and talk about them with trusted friends, advisors, and therapists.
Therapy Side Bar: There are so many amazing therapists these days. Try to find a few through trusted resources. I have found that different therapists, sometimes a male, sometimes a female, have been a good for me at different stages in life. That’s why I like to have a few in my bucket. Some come from Christian backgrounds, some don’t. It’s up to us in our own walk to reflect anything someone says against the Scriptures and decide what we think the Lord is calling us to. The Lord uses all kinds of people to minister to our hearts–even those who do not necessarily identify with being Christian.
You’ll want the right personality fit with a therapist. I’m not saying they should be “just like” you–on the contrary, we tend to learn tremendously from those who aren’t just like us–but there needs to be the right chemistry. Any good counselor knows the importance of good therapeutic chemistry and will always encourage you to find the right fit for you, even if it isn’t them. And they should even offer you a few potential referrals if you want to try someone else. The process isn’t about them, it’s about what’s right for you.
Keep in Mind
- Understand that things take time. Be gracious with yourself and others–God is. In the Kingdom of God, you’re never out of time. Don’t give up–Freedom and Jesus are worth it.
- Understand that part of the flow is two steps forward, three steps back. Don’t fight the wave, roll with it.
- Understand that it is the very darkest right before the dawn. If you hit a wall that seems to last a little longer than it maybe should, it’s time to dig your heels in and muster up the determination to follow through. That is quite usually the very breaking point.
- Understand that if that wall is the place where you feel like that you’ve done everything you can and you’re bewildered, exhausted, and feel like you can’t take another step–that’s precisely where you’re supposed to be. It is in those moments where we are at our wits end and powerless that we begin to fully and completely surrender to the One True God who vehemently pursues us and all that entangles us. That is the place where we live out Exodus 14:13-14–Stand Firm and see the salvation of the Lord. I [The Lord your God] will fight for you today, all you have to do is be silent. You will never see the Egyptians [insert profound struggle] again.
- Wait patiently and joyfully. Once we pass the wall, the hard work is done and all we have to do is wait. Our attitude and what we do while we wait upon the Lord speaks volumes of our heart and the condition of our minds. There are times in my life where I can’t hopefully, patiently, and joyfully wait on the Lord and that means I still have stuff to deal with.
- A Scriptural image of this is the Cross–Right before Christ took His last breath, He uttered, “IT IS FINISHED.” Yet we still sit here today. Was He wrong about that? No! At that moment in time, IT WAS FINISHED FOR ALL THE PAST AND ALL THE FUTURE, but the eternal plan is still unfolding and the King of Kings is still calling His Eternal Family unto Himself.
Have questions on how to begin to develop your team of people to lift you up, support you, and guide you on your path? Schedule a call and we can begin to brainstorm. You may be surprised how the Lord has already brought that team around you.