How Healing Happens, Part 3
If you have suffered from a long-lasting illness or injury, or a series of illnesses, you know how frustrating it is to do the “right” things over and over again without seeing much improvement. Healing takes time. Doctors like to say this. It should give the patient hope. And sometimes it does. But the process brings up so many unanswerable questions and you really do start to wonder if it’s really worth it.
I was stuck in one of these cycles a few months after my initial diagnosis and my chiropractor challenged me to sit down and evaluate this: What is your Why? Because “to feel better” is not a sustainable motivator when the healing process makes you feel worse before you feel better.
This is true whether you are looking for healing in physical OR mental/emotional areas of life. Whether you are seeing a counselor and processing through your emotional pain, or doing therapy for a muscle injury, or detoxing from food or chemical addictions – in order to heal, you have to re-experience pain. It’s part of the process; God knows why. I’m sure there’s some scientific or spiritual reason that I haven’t researched.
Anyone who is currently on a super-exciting New Year’s resolution-driven cleanse will tell you that they have been swamped with things like brain fog (at which, after typing those words, my brain suddenly fogged over, in case you were wondering), joint pain, skin breakouts, gas and bloating, fatigue, headaches, irritability and extreme food cravings. Oh, boy, sign me up for THAT!
So…in the middle of new or exacerbated issues, we naturally want to give up. We know we need to heal, but this doesn’t feel like healing. More like the opposite of healing. We discover the root of our anger but we’re lashing out more instead of growing kinder. We decided to work on that old knee injury but instead of feeling better the pain has flared worse.
I found a quiet bench in the botanical garden near our home and sat down with my journal. Like the good 21st century Generation X-er that I am, I texted my mom pictures of where I was and what I was doing and that’s probably why I remember my exact location.
Step by step, I answered the questions: What is my calling? Why does my body need to heal to live out that calling?
I’ve been working through the question about my calling for some time now. Going from a place where I could do anything and everything to the verge of adrenal burnout will force you to evaluate a lot of things. What can I do that only I can do? What has he made clear to me? That is what God has called me to. Nothing more. Nothing less.
But why do I need to heal to live out that calling? The answer may seem obvious, but for me it came in layers.
My greatest passion as an individual is to be fully free. To walk in absolute freedom with Christ – nothing holding me down. And this is my why. At the very root of why I must heal, is the reality that I am still stuck in a jail cell that isn’t letting me be free in Christ. The cell’s name is Fear. Fear of what could happen if something happened to me. Fear of being irreplaceable. Fear of not being able to do all the great things I want to do for God. Fear that maybe those great things are not such big deal to God.
My why, in six steps, because, nerd alert.
- I cannot fully speak to the freedom found in Christ if I am bound in any way, even physically (Not that I must be 100% whole to be free but I’m still governed by this physical battle and I have to walk the healing journey to break free.)
- I am not able to carry out my roles in my family in my current state of health.
- I have no margin to share with or lead others if I am at all consumed by my ill health and being in survival mode.
- I do not want to pass on a legacy of bondage.
- I am not living a life I love with such sickness and weakness from my insides out.
- I must walk in this journey of healing if my soul is to be free and my faith to be strong.
I have to add a disclaimer, to make sure nobody walks away from this thinking I believe that “If you’re not healthy, you can’t be free.” Because I don’t. I believe that God allows people at times to always suffer and not fully heal, and that even with a terminal diagnosis, we can walk in complete freedom in Christ. God can bring peace to help us overcome the pain of any physical sickness.
But for me personally, a chronic hypochondriac afraid of what the world would do without my services, I know I cannot try to walk through life without pursuing healing through the path God shows me. To stay in the state of constant fatigue, horrific skin flareups, complete lack of drive and overwhelming anxiety would mean to stay in spiritual bondage as well. As my team of practitioners and I peel back the layers of health problems in my body, I know God fully intends to peel back the layers of fear and bondage with it all. Because he’s already begun.
This is Part 3 of a 6-part series on How Healing Happens. I’m currently in the middle of a search for a diagnosis and healing solutions for some autoimmune and gut health concerns, and along with that, a journey to freedom. I believe we all have something we need God’s healing for and that Christ has come to set us free. I’m not an expert and I don’t have all the answers. I’m just responding to God’s leading to share what he’s teaching me in the middle of the mess. Thanks for joining me!