One of the hardest things to learn along the pathway of healing from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression is that life and vitality come slow. Living in a press-button, have-it-now kind of world has made us impatient and less able to trust the slow work of healing. We have come to want answers and want them now. Our faith waivers at the first sign of backsliding and we jump out too soon. Our fears overcome us and we jump into what we know (and are used to) before allowing the process to fully take its course.
Healing, however, takes time.
It is something that happens when we commit to putting in the work – over a period of time – while putting our faith in the Great Physician.
I recently saw this quote, “Do the thing and you shall have the power.” The quote made me think about the process of healing. It dawned on me the truth within the words. For this is a fact I have come to know and experience through my own recovery journey.
About seven years ago I began my journey of healing.
I had been dealing with intrusive thoughts – ones that came on me and I couldn’t push away. They were scary! The thoughts would tell me that I was responsible for doing things I had not done and then blame me and convince me that I was a horrible person because the thought even entered into my mind. Seemingly harmless every-day task would trigger me into a downward spiral. Unloading the dishwasher and washing dishes, walking into bathrooms in public places, even cuddling with my own children sent me into a place that felt like hell itself. I was clueless to that which was occurring in my brain. I knew something was wrong, but sharing my brain with another individual was a scary reality. I knew, however, that it was what I needed to do. For, the truth was, my life was on the line. So I took a step of faith and reached out for help.
Unbeknownst to me this would begin the long and difficult journey to the healing I desperately needed.
For four years, I would go through intensive counseling which was a combination of talk therapy and a process known as EMDR. Through this, I became aware of that which I was encountering. The very real side effects of post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD). This is a very real disease that individuals encounter after enduring severe trauma in their life. And something that – if left neglected – will ruin an individuals life.
A lot of difficult pieces of my life were brought to the forefront of my mind here. And, through this, the hard work of digging beneath the interior layers began. Here the roots (of what was happening inside my brain) were brought to the surface. Without getting too science-minded on you, this is a process where we are able to bring what happens – in a very small part of the brain – the amygdala (the fight or flight center of our brain) to the prefrontal cortex – also known as the area of the brain where we are able to see things from a cognitive perspective and work through the feelings stored in the amygdala.
It was here that the hollow dirt surrounding – that which was visible – was removed. In it’s place the fertile Truth was working its way into the hallows that made up my root system and slowly new life began to grow. Sometimes answers came quickly, sometimes they did not. But continuing the work was necessary for helping me find the freedom from the wrecking-ball inside my head.
Though I spent a lot of time wondering if freedom would ever come my way, I did not quit. Sometimes I would walk. Sometimes I ran. Mostly, however, I found myself limping through the journey believing that though I was weak, my God was strong. And in it, I gave myself fully to Him and asked Him to carry me.
Today I am FREE!
This journey, in and of itself would be enough for me to say that I have no doubt that doing the work will allow us to find healing. But is this one example, proof enough? Maybe not. So let me say this, I have seen this same result time and again working with my daughter. For, she has overcome severe vision deficits, brain damage, intestinal damage, a multitude of articulation errors, reading, writing, and more as a result of “doing the work.” And so, we continue to do the work. And, in faith, we pray that the efforts we put forth will be just what she needs to overcome every single obstacle along the way.
I once struggled immensely with God, wondering why He wasn’t healing her, after all I knew He was more than capable. What I didn’t realize was God was healing her through the actions we were taking along the way – it just took time. For faith with action is what propels us into a place where God can and does work. Over and over again in the Scripture, we see people fighting their ways through the crowds to simply get their friend or child to Jesus. Or, we see the individual themselves doing everything possible to just be in His presence or to simply touch his clothing, believing that in doing so they, too, would know healing.
And guess what? They did.
Every single encounter with Him where the individual is in need of help and they fight their way to Him, finds healing. For their faith in Him, gave them enough of a push to allow them to go to Him. Actions accompanied by belief brought about healing time and again. Did it happen easily? No. Each individual had to fight their way through vast crowds. Did it happen overnight? It always seems like it when we see it actually take place, but in many instances individuals who took action and went to Him, had been dealing with illness for long periods of time. We see this as we read these different encounters. Then there are those instances where individuals sought Jesus for another, and the individual had seemingly died. But, it was not so. The act of others asking Jesus to come, propelled Him to go – this, I believe is very powerful to see as well.
So what are we to do with this information? Fight! Don’t give up. Keep praying, keep seeking answers. Push yourself through the crowds (that which is deemed normal in society is how I interpret this) and reach for Jesus and His ways. The Bible confirms this truth – of taking action – by saying, “for as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).
Healing, can happen! But the work must, also, be done.
What about you? What things are you hoping and praying for? Where are you desiring healing in your life to occur? Do you need to ask for help? Is the fight too big for you, alone? Who might you go to for support? If your answer is yes to any of these, then I urge you to ask for help and build your army around you.
And remember this truth, too, from God’s Word.
When Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, they encountered battle after battle. But, you know what is amazing? The Israelites won every battle put in front of them when Moses’s counterpart was there holding up His arms. It wasn’t easy. And I won’t say that your journey will be easy either. But I do know this, you’ll get further and gain more ground when you have partners in your camp holding up your arms. In addition, when you seek the wisdom of God in the process and allow Him to lead your decisions over leaning on your own understandings of healing and how it works, you will gain ground in the war you are personally fighting. I encourage you to not quit and remember that healing takes time. Have faith, do the thing, and you, too, shall have the power.
Till next time,