If you have ever been through a serious trial in your life or experienced a deeply painful loss then you can understand how difficult it can be to heal from these experiences.
Depending on what happened and how long it lasted…these things can be very destructive and damaging to you and your walk with Christ. Some examples would be: a serious illness, the loss of a loved one especially a spouse, parent, or child, a divorce or the end of a serious relationship/friendship, a job/career loss, or loss of your home to name a few.
Do these questions sound familiar to you?
What did I do to deserve this?
Where are You in all of this God?
While we all want to know why (well I did!) something happened, why is not always the best question, in fact it is for sure not the best one. Instead of wasting time asking why, instead ask, “how can I fix this?” and “what do You want me to learn from this Lord?”
Everyone needs time to experience grief and to work through it, attempting to sweep it under the rug will not help anything and in fact will make it harder to deal with. Rest assured you will at some point be faced with the need to deal with your pain/loss…better to do so now.
There are two ways you can choose to deal with your pain.
The hard way, and the much harder way, both sound appealing right?
The first way…the hard way is God’s way. This is the preferred method of course. As the title implies, it is not easy. You need to ask God some hard questions and then listen carefully to the answers and be willing to act on them.
- What am I supposed to learn from this?
- What changes do You desire me to make in my life?
- What actions am I supposed to take?
- (Later on) How can I help someone else through this?
The second way…the much harder way is the choice of many unfortunately. This involves running away from God and refusing to submit to Him. It is common to fall into “why me” and depression accompanied by anger and bitterness often directed at God. This can stretch into months if not years…I hope and pray you will not take this way. If you have, then I pray you will submit yourself to God and stop running from Him and trying to avoid what you know you will have to deal with sooner or later anyway. If you choose not to deal with your emotional pain it will catch up to you it is only a matter of when. Serious emotional pain not dealt with can and often does destroy your life.
If you are dealing with someone who has been grievously wounded, you will need patience and lots of it. Try to remember that this person is dealing with severe emotional pain. I cannot for certain tell you what do to other than to pray. Pray for this person, and let him/her know that he/she is loved and cared for.
If you hear “you don’t understand”, well remember that in a way you don’t because you are not that person. Keep in mind as well that someone who is suffering through deep emotional upheaval is likely not thinking clearly and may not be capable of seeing anything but their own pain. Resist the temptation to fire back in anger, you might well get angry because you feel frustrated at being helpless. This will only make things worse. Try to be there for this person and again keep them in prayer.
Whether it is you or you are trying to help someone you care about, go to God with it. Ask Him for His help…God wants you to do this! Try to cultivate a positive attitude as much as possible. Negativity will drag you down in a quick hurry and escaping this mind-set can be a daunting challenge.
Keep yourself busy…too much idle time and isolation is counter-productive. If your hands and mind are busy doing something, the problem does not resound nearly so loud in your mind. Use prayer and worship to help yourself, not only are you told to do so by the Bible, but these two things are effective at fighting negative emotions.
Thankfulness…cultivate an attitude of thankfulness! Many people stumble here…while praying start by thanking God first. You ate today didn’t you? You ARE breathing right? You have a home? The point is there is always something to be thankful for. Just because God is God…does not mean He does not like to be thanked!
Be creative! Of course you may have days when creativity is next to impossible but what about other days? When you are being creative in some way it stimulates good things in your brain…use that!
Help someone else, if you are engaged in helping someone else your pain does not seem so bad. Please don’t use the excuse that you are not fit to help anyone…baloney. Send someone a card, write them an email, do something for someone that needs doing, be encouraging to someone, take the time to pray for some people on a regular basis…make it your mission to do so. Not only are you obeying God’s word, you are blessing yourself in the process!
Prayer…I know I mentioned this before but I cannot emphasize this enough! Pray often and do so out loud. Your spoken words to God have power and it helps keep you on track (and awake) while praying. Prayer is not only about asking God for things, if such is the case for you, well let’s add some things to that.
- Be thankful…being thankful is a great way to start a prayer.
- Be sure to pray in God’s will, not yours. This does not mean to only pray for things that you are sure are in line with God’s will, but also to state to God that above all…Thy will be done, not mine.
- Do more than ask for things even for others. As you listen to praise music for instance…just tell the Lord you love Him!
- When asking the Lord for things, actions etc. more of your time should be spent praying on behalf of others verses praying for yourself.
- Instead of asking God to change someone else, ask Him to change you to meet the need whatever it is.
- Praying with your spouse, your friends, etc. is good, but be sure to spend time alone praying. Even Jesus Christ Himself did this.
- Be honest in your feelings with God, don’t play cat and mouse with the Lord…He already knows your every thought good or bad so stop trying to hide them from Him.
- If you are confused or just not sure about something you are praying about…tell Him! God is never put off at honest questions, it shows you care and desire to remain in His will for you.
- Pray daily…a day should not EVER go by that you do not pray.
- Just pray!! There have been books galore written on the subject and I’m not saying they are bad or wrong. I am saying you just need to pray. God looks at your heart not just your words so do not worry that you need to get the words just right. God is not impressed by rote prayer, pray from your heart.
If you are the one hurting, if possible find someone you trust and talk to them. It is not that another person can heal your pain…no one can do that for you. Only you and God can accomplish that. You can however find comfort in that person to help you through this trying time in your life. Isolation will only serve to make things worse for you.
If you are the one approached for help in any way…please take it very serious. Above all, pray for the person that came to you, second listen. Listening is often more appreciated than advice and a good listener can do much just by listening! Do not force anything, you will cause more harm than good. If there needs to be some force applied to the situation, let God handle that. If things are serious enough to warrant intervention…get Godly professional help and do not attempt that on your own.
Remember, you are there to help that person any way you can…you cannot fix it so please do not try. Let God do the fixing and support them however you can.
Last…love, love, love, love them!
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Since 2013, Christian news magazine The Olive Branch Report has featured the insightful writing and reporting of Greg Holt. His writing has been featured on American Prophet, American Clarion, Eagle Rising, Capitol Hill Outsider, Sons of Liberty Media, Rev. Austin Miles, and others. Greg is also the Publisher and Editor of Inspirational Christian Blogs.
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