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Tag: seeking

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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Hide and Seek

Have you ever played hide and seek with a toddler? Hide and seek is to a two year old what peek-a-boo is to an infant: a game full of inexpressible joy and surprise. As an adult, the game is rewarding simply because playing with a small child generates loads of grins and giggles.

It’s not exactly a game of strategy when playing hide and seek with a little one. Honestly, the first dilemma is that a toddler has not yet learned the art of being quiet. They often give themselves away with scuffling, sniffles, giggles, or whispers. Sometimes they even announce their location, squealing “Here I am!” The game is often a simple one because toddlers tend to pick the same hiding spot over and over again. If it worked the first time, then surely it will work again, right? No, for small children, the game is not about logic or strategy: it’s an enjoyable game where they can be found by a caregiver who loves them!

“Come find me, Mommy! Here I am!”

From a parent’s perspective, there is a little more strategy involved. When playing with a toddler, an important tactic is to hide in a painfully obvious place. It is important to make just a little noise or leave a part of your body partially exposed to make it easier for the child to find you. After all, the point is not to be standing in plain sight, nor is it to be completely hidden. The object of the game is to be found! It’s the moment of being discovered that brings shouts of joy, hugs, and contagious giggles.

Have you ever wondered if maybe God interacts with us in a similar way? I once heard my college pastor preach a sermon about this very idea. Granted, many years have elapsed, and I don’t remember his exact words. Still, the concept has remained in my mind over the years. God delights in hiding and letting us seek Him. He never hides in inaccessible places, because He promises to never leave us. He delights to leave a toe sticking out under a door, so to speak, so that we can more easily find Him.

For instance, have you ever gone through a season where you felt you met the Lord in a very real and tangible way? Maybe His Word came alive to you. Maybe He gave you comfort at a time you needed it. Maybe He fulfilled a promise or provided for you in an unexpected and aptly-timed manner. Maybe you felt an intimacy with your Savior that you had been missing previously. Aren’t those moments priceless? If only we could sustain those spiritual mountaintop experiences!

Just like a child who has discovered his father hiding behind the couch, we are delighted and astounded to find our Father hiding in plain sight! Because we are very often like toddlers ourselves, we may look in the same place over and over again. If we found Him there once, we might find Him there again! Both thankfully, and frustratingly, our God is not that predictable. I believe He enjoys surprising us, and our experiences with Him cannot be duplicated. He longs for us to seek Him and promises that if we earnestly seek Him that we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). He may choose a new hiding place, but we will be just as delighted each time we discover a new aspect of His character. In this way, we continue to be enchanted and delighted by our ever-loving and ever-mysterious Heavenly Father.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

Pause: Find a quiet and comfortable place to read Psalm 105. In what ways did the Lord “show” Himself to the Israelites? If you have the time, make a list.

Renew: How has the Lord revealed Himself to you? Can you make a list from your own life, just as David could list the ways that the Lord showed up for the Israelites in Psalm 105?

Next: I just love Lauren Daigle’s song, Salt and Light. There’s a line in the song that says, “Let my eyes see your Kingdom shine all around.” In the same way, keep your eyes open to see where the Lord and His Kingdom are at work around you this week.

May you seek the Lord and discover new aspects of His majesty.

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