What Fast-Tracks Inner Healing?

Our inner healing often takes a season, just like physical healing. God, in his great mercy, only goes as fast as we can handle. Certainly our unwillingness or wrong motivations can slow it down, but if we’re willing and our motivations are right, is there anything we can do to speed it up? Is there something we can do to fast-track our inner healing as much as possible?

It turns out there is, and it’s illustrated best by buffalo and cattle. This analogy may seem way off-topic, but hang with me and I’ll bring it home.

When a herd of cattle on the plain see a thunderstorm coming, they run away from it. They are naturally afraid of it, and they quite logically run the other way.

Buffalo, on the other way, run toward the storm. They don’t fear the thunderstorm any less cattle do, but they’re just smarter about how to deal with it. They run directly through it. Since they are running the opposite direction the storm is moving, they minimize their time in the storm. Pretty smart, huh? They exit the storm as quickly as possible and get to the freshly watered, tender grass and clear weather on the other side.

The cattle, meanwhile, can’t outrun the storm. And by running away from it (that is, the same direction it’s moving), they actually maximize their time in the storm. The storm passes them by very slowly. They spend a lot more time it in, and get a lot more wet, cold, and uncomfortable than the buffalo.

What about us? John Sandford, the founder of Elijah House, which is one of the key ministries that taught the Church how to do inner healing, said, “We must embrace the fireball of pain.”

What?!? Sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s a buffalo strategy. God doesn’t need us to re-live the pain and re-traumatize us all over again, but we need to get in touch with it so God can open it up enough to heal it. He’s the great physician, and any surgeon has to open the wound in order to heal it.

When we embrace the pain, when we trust him enough to go there, we fast-track our healing. Be a buffalo.

I can testify that embracing the pain, letting God open me up like a Christmas turkey, really hurt. But it was over really fast, and I made progress in one or two sessions that could’ve otherwise taken years. And this was for big-deal stuff, life-wrenching stuff, like a marriage falling apart. I feel so much better now than before being healed. The freedom I gained was so worth it!

Does this resonate? Can you think of a time where you either embraced the pain or in vain ran from it? Which worked better for you? Are you still running? Share your story in the comments or shoot us an email. And please give this a share if you think it would help someone else. You can click on the Facebook button below (or the other social media buttons) to share really easy and fast.

What Blocks Inner Healing?

Ever wonder why some people just can’t seem to get unstuck? Christians even? They’ve been going through inner healing for 10 years and look like they’re going to be for another 10 years, but they never seem to make any headway? Or they seem to making progress, but then stumble and fall in the same devastating sin all over again (for example, having an affair, or caving to an addiction, etc)? Why can’t they get really free and move on? What’s blocking their healing?

Meanwhile, other people that are wounded much more deeply sometimes get totally healing over a season of their life and totally move on – free and never susceptible to the same sins again. Why is that?

John Sanford, the founder of Elijah House, asked the Lord this question. He and his wife Paula ministered to a large number of people over the course of their ministry, and saw many people with an equal level of wounding. Some would get total freedom and never look back, while others would appear to get healing only to fall back into the same sins over and over again. What made the difference?

This is my paraphrase of what the Lord told John Sanford. It depends on the motivation of the person seeking the healing, why they are seeking freedom from their pain.

“If they are seeking healing because they realize their wounding is keeping them form serving me fully,” the Lord said to John Sanford, “and their hearts desire is to serve me with their whole being, they will get complete freedom and keep it, because they are seeking to serve me.

“If, on the other hand, they want relief from their pain only so they can live the good life, their healing won’t stick, because they aren’t really seeking me. They just want to live the good life.”

The Kingdom of God is so upside-down from how we naturally think. This illustrates what Jesus said in Luke 9:24, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

If we seek the good life, we’ll never find it, and our lives will be one endless, meaningless, futile search. But if we’re willing to sacrifice the good life in favor of living for God, accepting suffering gladly to see his Kingdom advanced, then we’ll find a life better than we ever thought possible.

How about you? Have you seen this at work in your life or that of others? Have you experienced giving up something and then having the Lord give it back to you redeemed, different, but better than you ever thought it could be? Tell us in the comments? And please share (buttons below for your sharing convenience) if you think this thought would be helpful to someone else.

Dependence vs Responsibility

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So much truth in the Word of God consists of two opposite truths that hold each other in tension. They may even appear to conflict at first, but they really don’t conflict with each other – they complete each other. One brings balance to the other and vice versa. We’re going to talk about one of these today.

There’s a degree to which we’re supposed to depend on God and a degree to which we’re supposed to be responsible for ourselves. Two truths held in tension.

When we depend on God for our well being – for being loved and for our world working – we live in a blessed Relaxed Security. We can relax knowing that, whatever crazy circumstances life throws at us, whatever suffering we must endure, God is working in everything for our good (Romans 8:28). We have inner peace through the storms of life. We live fearlessly through fearful circumstances (Psalm 23:4).

This gives us a life of Autonomous Freedom. We are free to give, free to serve others, free to hold the things of this world loosely. We, in freedom not in fear, take responsibility for our actions and their consequences. In freedom we act proactively, meeting our own needs where possible, and it feels good. A job well done, a healthy sense of accomplishment.

This is the outcome when we rightly depend on God for his part and take rightful responsibility for our part. The hallmark of this godly balance is that belief “I’m OK because I’m loved by my God. He makes my world work in spite of my circumstances.” And because “I’m OK”, we live in the glorious freedom of not fearing failure, of taking the risk of daring to be all that God has created and called us to be.

On the other hand, when we mix these up, things don’t work out so well. Often we get it backwards – even Christians. Out of our wounding, we try to take responsibility for God’s part while blaming him for the logical consequences of failures in our part.

When we take responsibility for being loved and for making our world work, we live in Fearful Idolatry. We take responsibility for our own well being and security, so we have none. The hallmark of this ungodly imbalance is, “I’m OK if _____.” Fill in the blank. This is where addictions and co-dependencies come from.

Then, instead of glorious autonomous freedom, we live in Depraved Defiance. We blame God for the negative consequences of our unhealthy dependencies. The more we try to control our world, the less control we have, like sand slipping through our clenched fist. And, living in fear of failure, we don’t dare take a risk on our God-given dreams. Instead, paralyzed by a false sense of entitlement, we just drift along expecting happiness to drop in our lap, and blaming God when it doesn’t.

The way out of fearful idolatry and depraved defiance is through honest confession and repentance. Then giving the best part of our day over to intimacy with Jesus (in prayer, worship, and reading our Bible – just hanging out with God for bit each day without an agenda) is the path to relaxed security and autonomous freedom.

Kudos to Dr William Clark from The Lay Counselor Institute for these excellent concepts.

So how about you? Are you living in the autonomous freedom of relaxed security, in the depraved defiance that comes from fearful idolatry, or, like us, on a journey from one to the other? Are you responsible for being loved? Who makes your world work? Tell us your story in the comments or shoot us an email with the Contact Us link above. We’d love to hear from you. And please, if you think this would benefit someone else, share it on Facebook, Twitter or your favorite social media (share buttons for just about everything below).

So what do you think about all this?

Forgiving Ourselves

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Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. We haven’t forgiven ourselves when we hold something against ourselves. Often, it wasn’t even our fault.

For example, children often believe abuse was their fault. Abuse is never the victim’s fault, even if different behavior would have prevented it. Even if we did something stupid to get into a bad situation, our mistake does not justify the other person’s sin.

Even if it was something heinous that we actually did do, we are not the evil we did. God sees us through the blood of Jesus; to him we are not the evil we did. We are still responsible for our actions, of course, and often have to live with the consequences. But we are not the evil we did, even though our shame tells us otherwise.

Godly conviction or guilt tells us, “I did something wrong.” Shame tells to us, “I am something wrong.” No, we’re not, that’s a lie. We are not the thing we did. We have intrinsic value because God made us and loves us.

When we hold something against ourselves, we give root to lies like, “I’m unlovable,” “no one will ever care about me,” “I deserved what happened to me,” etc. These lies build a prison of shame around us, and we live our lives out of a false identity for fear of being exposed. We need to forgive ourselves, so we don’t hold anything against ourselves. It’s in that freedom that we can live who God really created us to be.

So how about you? What’s your story? Do you need to forgive yourself? Or have you and what difference did it make? Tell us in the comments or shoot us an email.

“That’s Just the Way I Am”

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Do you ever feel stuck? Do you ever believe you are stuck? Have you ever said, “Oh well, that’s just the way I am”?

This is my “favorite” ungodly belief. “Favorite” in quotes, because I absolutely hate it when people say this. “I’m just ____ and always will be.” Fill in the blank with your stuff. “Angry.” “Overweight.” “Controlled by out-of-control emotions”. “Addicted to alcohol, porn, drugs, sex, or TV.”

The next word out of my mouth is always, “No.” As kindly as possible, and in love, but “No.”

“No,” that’s not who you are.

“No,” that’s not how God made you.

“No,” that weakness is not stronger than the blood of Jesus and the work of His Spirit in your life.

Just plain, flat-out “No.”

No, that’s not just the way you are. Well, it could be, that’s a choice you make. But it doesn’t have to be. Not by a long shot. Jesus died so it doesn’t have to be. His blood gives you the grace to make another choice.

Freedom is out there, if you want it. Getting free is simple, but it’s not easy. It means dying to yourself. It means trusting God, and being willing to risk the consequences if He doesn’t come through. Will you take the risk?

Do you identity with feeling you’ll always be stuck on this thing forever? Did you use to feel that way, but got free? Tell us your story in the comments.