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Tag: healing

Layers of Healing

Sometimes I think and write in layers. Please indulge me while I take you on a journey down three layers of a story.

Layer one: We have been battling fleas all summer. First, we noticed the problem with our cat. She received a flea treatment at the vet, but we still couldn’t seem to get a handle on our household flea problem. We tried to treat our dog, Dash, at home using organic products, followed by a flea shampoo, followed by a flea collar. All of it was to no avail. He scratched on. Finally, I noticed that he was developing bare patches on his hind quarters, and I scheduled a vet appointment.

I put off taking him to the vet, because his first trip to the vet as a puppy did not go well. He hid in every corner, under every piece of furniture he could find, and made a puddle on the waiting room floor. The vet kindly encouraged us to “socialize” him so that he would be less anxious in public spaces.

We apparently failed at this endeavor, because his second vet trip was not much better than the first. When he realized that we were going to put him in the truck, he decided that absolutely would not happen. We pulled on his leash and encouraged him, but it was no use. His strategy was to make himself like a pile of concrete: flat and heavy on the ground. Finally, my oldest son just picked him up and placed him in the back of the truck. Like a stubborn toddler, he made his body go rigid and wouldn’t sit down. We repositioned him the best we could and shut the door.

Our playful and loyal pup, Dash

All the way there, we petted him and spoke gently to him. Our trip into the vet’s office was much like the endeavor of trying to get him in the truck. A little pulling, a little encouraging, and then finally picking him up at times to get him into the areas he needed to go.

If only I could speak dog language. “Buddy,” I would say, “Don’t you know that we want to help you? You will feel so much better when you get some medicine. The vet is here to help you, not to hurt you.” From his perspective though, we were taking him out of his comfort zone, in a strange vehicle, to a strange place, to a man who poked him with a needle. I’m sure it didn’t seem very helpful.

Sometimes the way towards healing is uncomfortable.

Layer 2: As a counselor, I encounter a similar theme. Often, when meeting with a new client, I hear a familiar refrain that goes something like this: “It was hard for me to make an appointment. I like to be independent and try not to need others. It feels like weakness to need therapy.”

Oh, this could not be a more American idea. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make life happen.” Successful people are independent. Depending on others is a sign of weakness.

This, plain and simple, is a lie. We are built, by our Creator, for community. We were never mean to be alone or to do life alone. Asking for help takes humility, and it can be scary, but it is almost always the way towards true healing.

Like Dash, sometimes it takes an injury or a nudge from someone we love to get us out of our comfort zone and on the healing journey.

Layer 3: This summer I’ve been reading through the Gospels, and what stands out to me is how many people Jesus healed. He did teach and preach, but consistently he was seeking out and being sought out to perform healings. He healed people from blindness, leprosy, paralysis, bleeding disorders, shriveled hands, and even from demonic possession. These miracles in and of themselves were enough to draw people to him, but that wasn’t the entirety of his purpose. He desired to heal their souls.

Jesus didn’t heal those who thought they had it all together. No, he found the ones who knew they couldn’t get better on their own. He loved the down and out. The outcasts. The poor in spirit. Those who needed help.

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:17 CSB

Like those going to therapy for the first time, most of us find it uncomfortable to seek help. It’s extremely vulnerable and humbling to admit we are struggling. Like my dog Dash, sometimes we may not even know the extent of our own injuries and how much we really need intervention.

So, yes, this blog is a PSA for doctors, vets, and therapists. If you need an intervention, please go seek help. Even more than that though, I want to remind you that there is a Savior always ready to come to your rescue. He delights to save and care for His own. You can call on him anytime, anywhere. In God’s kingdom, humility and confession are not marks of shame, but symbols of righteousness.

Independence should not be our goal. Dependence on Christ is where real freedom and healing is found.

May you have the courage to ask Him for what you need.

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Fun, Praise, and Christmas: with Cynthia Simpson

We can all use some good news these days, so I was pleased and grateful to have one of my favorite people on the podcast, Cynthia Simpson, who, as an Enneagram 7, is chock full of fun and joy. Cynthia was my first guest ever on the podcast, and I invited her back to share a praise report about what the Lord has done in the life of her son, Nolan. If you missed the first part of her story, you can hear it in Episode 3, Pressing In During Hard Seasons.

We also chat about what we’re finding fun this Christmas season, favorite Christmas traditions, and how Cynthia is practicing soul-care in her day-to-day life as a mother of 3 boys. This is a fun and uplifting episode, and you are going to come away from listening with a smile on your face.

Merry Christmas everyone, and may you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus!

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Healing is Not Linear

Last summer, I attended a training seminar that included a yoga breakout session. The yoga instructor asked each member of the audience to choose a phrase or “intention” to meditate on as we participated in the yoga exercises. One of the example intentions she offered was “healing is not linear.”

Often the path of healing has many twists, turns, hills, and obtacles

I’m sure this was not an original phrase, but it was new to me. Immediately, I latched onto the phrase, mulling it about in my mind – “healing is not linear.” In other words, healing does not follow a straight path. It is not accomplished in a series of pre-assigned steps. It is not a 45 degree climb straight from injury to health or from trauma to recovery. Healing is often much more complicated than that. In fact, it more predictably looks like a game of Mother May I – two steps forward, one step back, one giant leap forward, three baby steps back, one bunny hop forward…. you get the idea.

In the book, How to Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder, authors Locke and Le Grange liken the recovery process to hiking up a sand dune. They advocate working hard, not stopping or counting the victory until reaching the top of the hill. This is a word picture that I find myself often using with clients who are in the midst of a healing journey. When walking up a sand dune, it is not wise to set up camp partway up the hill. Soon, you will find yourself sliding back down, losing traction against gravity. No, it is a long, hard, zig zag pattern of a journey, over many ridges, to reach the pinnacle of recovery.

Healing may even include different supporters along the journey. Maybe you started out with one group of supporters, but along the way, you picked up new cheerleaders. Maybe you found a mentor, an encourager, someone who just “got you,” that helped you over ridges along your path to healing. Just like physical therapy is a painful, but necessary part of a post-surgery recovery, so is a loyal friend who is willing to encourage accountability on a path of healing in our lives.

Perhaps your own healing has not come in the way or in the timing that you had hoped. Possibly, you expected that your healing path (physical, mental, emotional or spiritual) would come more easily. Maybe you’ve found yourself discouraged at the amount of time it’s taken, the prognosis given, or your own inability to “move forward.” Healing is not a destination. It doesn’t happen in a particular time frame. It’s a journey that requires grace and forgiveness, even of ourselves.

Pause: Take a deep breath and exhale. Read II Corinthians 4:16-18. What does this passage speak to you about healing? What are the promises presented in this passage? How does that change your perspective on affliction and healing?

Renew: Think about a time that you have been on a healing journey. What was that path like for you? How long did it take, and what were the elements that helped you along the way?

Next: Do you know someone who is currently healing either physically or emotionally? Think and pray about ways that you can encourage and show them support this week.

May we give ourselves grace as we allow ourselves and the others around us to heal.

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