Good Reads| Pain is a Part of Healing, Don't Become Numb to It
Good Day Starshine!
I have another great read for us! It's called, The Healing Path, and it is such a great book.
Definitely take my word for it.
Dr. Allender first begins by identifying with the reader. He states the many ways we refuse to suffer, or deal with an issue for a prolonged amount of time. 📷
We hate suffering. At the first sign of a headache, we grab aspirin. At the first hint of tension with a friend, we try to patch things up...
Which is true, we rarely like to live in the moment of uncomfortable-ness of pain. He then calls to question our real thought about God. How we think God is the silver bullet to suffering, and that if we just "believe in him" things will be okay.
Which, to a fault, that is true.
But, Allender calls a bigger question. What if God is allowing you to suffer, so that you can properly heal?
Would you peel a scab before it's completely healed? Or take out stitches as soon as you get them in? What about taking off a cast before your bones mold back to where they need to be?
Because it needs time to heal. Imagine taking that cast off before it's ready, because you got too uncomfortable with it on. Maybe it feels too itchy, and you can no longer take that kind of suffering for 6 weeks. Imagine what that broken wrist would look like. Would it be able to function properly? No.
That is just like the healing process. There is always a time to suffer; a time to hurt. No one can escape this. Because to live, is to hurt. According to Allender,
"There is a time to concentrate on the problem; another time to cry out in a lament of heartache and confusion. But if we are to experience the good that God intends through our suffering, at some point it is crucial to ask: "What happens to me, deep down, at the core of my heart, when I face loss, suffering, and harm?""
He goes on to say,
"We can do little to control the pain... but we can make a heart decision now as to how we will view the pain..."
Many times in the book, he creates a picture for the reader to view about Christianity. He questions the tradition and rules we were taught, and how that type of living is a lie (my words, not his).
There was one point in the book where he describes many people in the Christian faith as "trying to be superhuman". In my own words, I read that as perfect.
He challenges that and reminds the reader that we forget the core of us that makes us like Jesus, our humanity. The willingness to suffer (look at all the suffering Jesus and his disciples had to go through. Heck, look at Job!) and not mask our suffering with optimism or dismissal.
There are so many topics in this book that I want to share, but there just isn't enough room on this blog to do it. What I will end with, however, is a few top points I loved (and highlighted) as I read.
#1. The Long Walk:
We must be willing to face the damage, and reflect on what the pain does to our hearts. If we don't monitor that, we adapt to covering up the wound and we won't be able to properly live the life we are meant to live.
#2. Embracing Life:
Open the heart to receive the embrace of life. We wait with anticipation, encircle the other, and we let go of the moment.
#3. Betrayal and the Loss of Faith:
"a loss of faith comes when God no longer seems predictable and sure. It comes when our heart deperately longs for him to change the outcome of a situation and he chooses to not act according to our best sense of what is good."
#4. Ambivalence and the Loss of Love:
Allender speaks about abuse in a portion of this section. I thought this would relate to many readers. He first speaks on denial, and the escape methods we try to use to no longer feel/remember the act. He explains the difference between guilt and ambivalence.
Guilt being: blaming yourself for it. Ambivalence being: the helpless feeling, needy, guilt through "getting it right" the next time, and naive optimism.
Ambivalence from abuse is something he describes as being torn to pieces. My personal favorite passage from that section is this:
"The deeper disgust and shame... is the pleasure the victim may have felt during the abuse. An abuser is perversely committed to sexually arousing the child. When a child experiences arousal, it seems to her that she is a participant, not a victim... No lie could be more diabolical"
God does not make you feel ashamed, that is the job of evil. Evil's intention is to alienate our joy and willingness to love by bringing shame to us that we refuse to deal with. It is known that when shame is in our hearts, it takes up room and blocks our willingness to love.
#5. Living a Radical Life:
We are called to be human. We are called to open our hearts and engage with other humans. In this world, it is prominent behavior to not be intrigued by another person. We rarely open conversations to dig deeper into another person's life when the invitation is there. In contrast, Jesus was intrigued by every single person he came in contact with.
Living radically also means to love, even during the disturbances (uncomfortable) in life.
"Disruption stirs the pot of complacency and brings to the surface the burnt pieces that we would prefer to sink to the bottom".
He goes on to say that the reality of life isn't punctual or exact. Things will come into our life that will disrupt our daily routine, and if we have not prepared our hearts, minds, and bodies for it, then suffering will prolong in our lives. We won't know how to deal with it because we didn't take the time to monitor our reactions to our suffering in the past.
It all prepares us for our true life. In addition, God will not stand to be placed in order, or in an organized institution (Read: Religion) to fit your pretty little box. He is giving us the life to live through every single circumstance, and allowing us to find him in the process so that we can learn from our suffering the way it is meant.
Ideally, this book is meant to help us on our healing journey. It's very "in your face" for about two pages, then it softens for 10. All in all, I enjoyed the book because it reminded me to never live the "status quo", and that covering up the suffering, pain, and hurt by my quick fixes, has only caused more damage in my life.
I finally came to realize that when I tried to get over my pain by "hurrying up to fix it", I wasn't truly healing. I was just putting a very loose band-aid on a deep cut that needed stitches. And every time there's pressure, or a slight hit, that wound opens back up.
Healing, is living in the suffering, but not get succumbed to it. It is using the our past to draw us into a deeper relationship with God, but it is not a resolution to our past.