I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy – John 16:20.
The pain felt now removes the curse of pain in the future. It’s resolved and no longer needs to be fed, minded, or protected. Disconnected alienation is traded for a feeling of connection, belonging, and community. Dependency on your own resources and survival tactics are traded for a trust in God and a dependency on Him. Old feelings and old ways are traded for a new life.
Defenses and Pretenses
How will you know you’re making progress at truly working through grief rather than just digging up old hurts and dwelling needlessly upon the past? You’ll recognize progress when you find yourself giving up some of your defenses and defensiveness. We protect ourselves from more pain when we’ve not really faced our grief. We arrange our lives so we won’t have to endure more than we think we can bear, and we defend our ground by not allowing others to speak truth into our lives. If they try, we push them away.
When losses are grieved we become more willing to listen and hear the truth. We’re able to live through the vulnerability of connection, so we’re less inclined to present ourselves as something other than we really are. The little lies that deflect people from the real life we’re living are no longer required. We have no need to hide behind the old facades that protected us from hurt but prevented us from knowing the life God had for us.
The Big Lie
The big lie is that time will heal your deep wounds that one day, if you just bide your time, you’ll awaken and feel better. In fact, just the opposite is true. The longer we live with untreated wounds, the greater the potential for infection. We want to believe we just need time, but what we need is time well spent. How you mark your time can be the most powerful healing choice you can make. Will you spend your time alone and hurting? If you do, there’s not much chance that the wounded mind that got you there is going to help you out. That mind will just drive you further and further away from where you could be from where God wants you to be. Refuse to believe or live in the lie that time is going to heal you.
The psalmist said, “I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow” – Psalm. 119:28. He wasn’t just shedding tears. He was cleansing his past and healing his future. He was letting go of what was and what might’ve been, and reaching for what is and what is to be. In this deep cleansing process we reach a point where we’re able to let go of the past, of unmet expectations, and of a concept of God where He’s supposed to protect us from all hurts and pain. In the deepest forms of grieving we let go and we find healing.
Healing is a choice. It’s God’s choice, but we can make choices that allow the healing He has for us to be manifested in our lives. Healing is a choice to let go of our past hurts by grieving them, and grieving is a choice to heal the future.
Excerpted from Healing Is A Choice by Steve Arterburn