The Courage to Heal

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Over the past few weeks I have been sharing posts here on from my online small group entitled, "The Courage to Heal."  Even though the post below is one I wrote several years ago, when my loss was more recent, I though it was an important and appropriate post to share again. No one wants to experience grief and going through it is difficult. It takes courage to allow God to heal us as the process is not easy. However, with God by our side, no mountain is too high. No valley is too low. And, there is nothing that cannot be conquered with Him. Below are ten things that I have learned over the past few years.  I pray they are helpful to you should you also have a heart than needs to mend.

1. Allow yourself to grieve
Don’t suppress your feelings. If you do, they’ll only rear their heads at another time and place and not 
always in the most convenient way! It takes courage to allow yourself to feel, and suppressed feelings can lead to the negative effects of stress. I’ve learned that we need to go through our grief and not around it. Fortunately, God knows our pain and He’ll walk with us every step of the way. 

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, 
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” Psalm 23:4

2. Time doesn't heal, but healing takes time
This varies for each person, so don’t judge the time it is taking you to feel better by how others have healed from tragedy, loss or rejection. You will have good days and bad days, but remember, God will heal you.


“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; 
wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

3. Pray & go to God’s word
Pray for healing, strength, comfort, wisdom…all of the above! Sometimes all we can pray are the two words, “help me.” Also, grief often manifests itself through nightmares or restlessness and I have found that by reading God’s word and praying right before bed, my sleep is more restful. Then, when I wake, I have more strength to face the new day. In addition, though it may be difficult, pray for the person or persons who have hurt you. Ask God to draw them near to Him, to forgive them and to heal them.


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

4. Forgive the person who hurt or rejected you 
This is a biggy, and often a very difficult thing to do. But, by praying for them and forgiving them, you will be unlocking your heart to love again.


“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance 
against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

5. Stop asking “Why Me?”
It is natural to ask God why bad things happen, but, you most likely will never receive an answer to that particular question. So much time and energy is wasted when we focus on asking the “why’s” and the “what if’s”. Rather than frustrating ourselves with questions like that, ask the more courageous one and change your inquiry to, “What are you teaching me through this?” or “How do you want me to grow because of this?” 

"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." 1 Corinthians 13:12

6. Be wary of self-help sites online or advice that only wants to blame you… 

"Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense 
that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8

However…

7. Ask God to check your heart 
Is there anything that needs to be confessed to Him? Have you had a poor reaction to the situation? Is there something that might have caused or contributed to it that can be corrected? Often we are rejected for no fault of our own. But sometimes we are partially to blame. Either way, God can and will ease our pain when we come to Him with an open and willing spirit.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 
Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24

8. Take a break
Get your mind off your pain. Go for a walk, visit with friends, do a fun activity. This won’t take away the hurt you are feeling, but it will give you an outlet for your stress and give your heart a chance to rest from the ache. Remember, you will feel better. You will heal. God has promised it.


“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, 
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, 
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” I Peter 5:10

9. Focus on God, not your pain
He will bring you through this. Even though it doesn't feel like it, your pain is only temporary. Remember, God understands, for He was rejected, too.


“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

10. Help someone else and or serve Him
When we are grieving, often the last thing we want to do is something for someone else. Pain is a personal thing that seems to want to be kept isolated and alone. However, when we look up from our sorrow and reach out to help someone else, it is amazing how our own hearts begin to heal. Our joy returns when we help to bring joy to someone else.


“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. 
They weep as they go to plant their seed, 
but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Psalm 126:5-6

Courageously trusting Him,
Joan

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12 comments

  1. These are such great tips. God has healed me from several rough and painful things in my past, and while I didn't have this list, I can definitely see how each of these points was part of it.

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    1. Thanks, Heather! We can always count on God to heal our hurting hearts when we turn to Him! I am so thankful that He has taught me (and is still teaching me) the things on this list! Blessings, Joan

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  2. Joan - these are all great tips. every single one of them is essential to the healing process. I especially love #2 -- Time doesn't heal, but healing takes time .. there is no formula for how long it should or shouldn't take a person to heal from something... I love the point you make here and throughout the post.
    thank you for sharing today at #LLMLinkup we are sort of neighbors.

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    1. Hi Debbie! Yes, I think that it is easy to kick ourselves or think that something is wrong if we don't heal at the same pace as someone else. The fact is, though, that we were all made uniquely by God! The time differs as do the methods. One thing we can always count on is God's love for us! He wants to heal us and He will when we lean into HIm! Blessings, Joan

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  3. Joan, first of all I love that you describe yourself as an extroverted introvert. I relate! This was a great post on healing, and I especially appreciate number 4. Though it's really hard to forgive, God grows us so much as we seek to do just that. Its not an automatic accomplishment, but rather a process of healing. Thank you for sharing! Visiting from the #livefree Thursday linkup. Happy Thursday! Megs
    http://sunnyand80.org

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    1. Yes, it can be so difficult to forgive...but, what we find is that God frees our heart in the process! Whew! What a relief forgiveness is to our hearts! I look at it as giving the situation and person who has hurt us into God's hands, trusting Him to work in the situation. I know that He has as plan and I trust Him completely! Blessings, Joan

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  4. Giving ourselves permission to grieve our losses is so important. I love this post, Joan. Healing does take time and it never comes fast enough for our taste, but it will come eventually. Thanks for your encouraging advice here.

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    1. I so agree, Lisa! Grieving isn't "fun" but it is so necessary as we express our feelings on our journey to healing!

      Blessings!

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  5. This is a wonderful post, Joan! I have been guilty of running past my grief. I'm one of those keep it moving ladies. But, it always comes back to haunt me. I love your statement." I’ve learned that we need to go through our grief and not around it." You are soo right.

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    1. Hi! We probably all have been guilty of that at one time or another... I just glad that God taught me this lesson when He did. I feel so much better now, letting myself take the time I needed to grieve. God really does heal us! I'm proof! :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I, too, know grief so very well. It's not fun at all...and when you get judged by other people's timelines, it hurts. There's no blueprint or way around it--you can heal (maybe slowly, but still healing) when you enter and walk through the pain. Not over it, around it, beneath it, but through it. Love from your #livefree sister

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    1. Hi Rochelle!

      You're so right. There's no blueprint - we are all different and we all heal at a different rate. What is important is to allow ourselves to move through it. And, with God by our side, healing will come!

      Blessings, Joan

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