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.
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.
Pause, Renew, Next!