In my last post – Healing Hurts (but it’s worth it) – I wrote about how difficult it can be to endure a season of healing and the reasons we should push through. This post will focus on what we can do once we’ve said “yes” and committed to the journey. Again, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! The good news is that there are healthy means of coping that we can employ to help us reach a place of contentment spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
Before we jump into the tips, let’s talk about how we could easily avoid our healing processes and resort to traditional ways of “feeling better”. Run to the arms of another. Stay busy and ignore the hurt. Have a drink or a blunt (or three or ten). Eat and sleep the days away – sulk in it. Etc. I would be lying if I said some of these don’t sound tempting. But they are quick fixes – band-aid approaches that don’t get to the root of the problem. They also have the potential to cause more harm than good.
-Run to the arms of another for what? To get hurt again? To hurt them in attempts of making ourselves feel better? To compare them to our exes that we still aren’t over? To be reminded that we’re actually empty on the inside and no amount of companionship will heal that brokenness? I’ve tried that in the past and guess what? Years later, I still had to heal from the original heartache plus the additional hurt that came from attempting to find peace and love in the arms of people that God never intended for me to be with. Never again.
-Have a drink for what? To try and forget for a night? To let our inhibitions down so that we have an excuse to spill our hearts out to that person or get that “closure”? To force ourselves to have a “good time” even though we’re falling apart on the inside? I’m not condemning having a good time, but be sure to check your intentions. Also, be honest with yourself about what you can handle.
Confession – I have had moments in my past where I would drink so that I could use it as an excuse to do what I wanted to do. I can’t be the only one lol. Thankfully, I’ve been growing away from that. Interestingly, God placed it on my spirit to not drink at all during this season. I originally thought this was to strengthen my discipline, but lately, I’ve been wondering if He just knew what I could and couldn’t handle right now. Being transparent and honest with myself, drinking might have been just the push I needed to make poor decisions and backslide in my healing process. So again, check your intentions and be honest with yourself.
-Sulk in it for what!? To punish or feel sorry for ourselves? To hold on to the broken memories because we’re afraid to truly let go? To attempt to escape our own realities by immersing ourselves in tv, books or music that add to the feelings? I have definitely had a few days where I’ve binged watched Netflix, ate ice cream, and listened to music that matches my emotions, but those days don’t necessarily feel good either. They merely get me through the moment, but don’t address the deeper issue at hand. Perfect example of coping but not necessarily healing (check out my post Healing vs. Coping for more on that topic). Not bad, but not enough either.
So what has been helping with my healing? Below I’ll share the top 5 strategies that have been getting me through this. It is my prayer that these can help and encourage you, too. We got this ❤
My healing is coming from God. When Jesus walked this earth, He healed. He may not be here in the flesh, but His power is still at work. Same God back then, same God right now. In practice, this has included bible study, prayer, worship, fasting, and most of all, relationship with Him. Knowing that God cares about me and has great plans for my life is the only thing keeping my spirit lifted. I am able to put my trust in Him rather than in myself, others, or my situation. I know that my life is in His hands, and His promises are true. Knowing this, one thing I’ve been doing is identifying what His promises actually are and allowing them to really permeate my heart and mind.
Listening to and singing worship songs has been another way of allowing His words to speak to my heart. I love to sing and there is something so powerful about using my voice to declare truths about God. I tend to get lost in worship, singing the same lines over and over; especially the lines that speak directly to my situation. Praise sessions in my car get loud and passionate. They are so freeing! I sometimes fall asleep with certain lyrics repeating in my mind. When I’m feeling low, the songs offer comfort. It’s as though God is speaking directly to me. At the end, I will link a few of the worship songs that have been speaking to me the most during this season.
Bible study takes the focus off of self and places it on God’s sovereignty. I have moment’s where all I can think about is the heaviness I feel and how tired I am of feeling this way. I recently created and have been sticking to a morning routine where I get up and have quiet time. A large chunk of that time is spent studying His word. I’ve found that it doesn’t matter if what I read speaks directly to my situation or not. Simply learning about who God is and how He operates is enough to ease my mind and give me hope for my future. Today I read about Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood because she had faith enough to believe that if she just touched His garment, she would be made well (Matthew 9:20-22). I’m convinced that if I keep the faith and keep my eyes on God, my healing WILL follow. It’s already in the works.
Prayer gives you the opportunity to cast your burdens onto the Lord, knowing that He cares. You don’t have to carry it alone. You also don’t have to hold it all in or pretend everything is good when it’s not. We can come to Him with our every emotion and thought. He wants to hear about it all. He wants us. Prayer strengthens our relationship with Christ which is necessary when we’re in a dark place. He is the light we need. Further, praying for those who have wronged us can soften our hearts towards them. There are so many other benefits of prayer as well. These are only a few. Prayer is where the healing really happens.
Lol, I know. That get’s exhausting, but sometimes it feels good to let it out. When my chest starts to feel tight and heavy, I know I need to either scream or cry. It is like a release, in a way. I’m human, and I’m hurt by my situation. Tears are an expression of how I feel. No pretending. No fake smiles. No judgement. Just me, God, and all my feelings.
Not everyone is a fan of writing their feelings, but it is therapeutic for me. My thoughts have been overwhelming through this, so getting them out on paper helps to slow them down. It also helps me to organize everything that’s on my mind. When I write, I tend to make connections that I didn’t necessarily make when it was all in my head. I often use journaling as a form of prayer as well. I can’t always verbalize how I’m feeling or what I need in a given moment, so being able to write out what I want to say to God is beyond beneficial for me.
I should note that I don’t walk away from every journaling session feeling grand. For example, recently, I’ve been reflecting on my past and realizing negative patterns, and it has been draining at times. Coming face to face with your negative thinking and their roots is not fun as I mentioned in the last post. But this is healing at its finest. I also want to mention that focusing inward is not always what my spirit needs. I’m currently finding the balance between reflecting on my own life and directing my attention toward God. I’m not always in the best head space to look within. In those moments when going inward becomes too much, I have to fight the thoughts by going to the Source! Sometimes instead of writing about my thoughts, feelings, or observations, I need to pray, dwell in Gods presence, or study His word.
Letter writing has also helped at times. This is when I write a letter to a specific person, expressing how I feel, but never actually giving them the letter. I’m not quite sure what exactly it is about this process that helps, but it has been another form of release. It keeps me grounded. Instead of running ahead of God and reaching out when He didn’t give me that okay, letter writing creates the illusion of sharing how I feel with that person. This was especially beneficial for me in the beginning of my healing process. Surrendering my ways and exercising self-control in my situation has been a challenge, but I know it’s imperative that I trust God and His plan. Letter writing has been a way of keeping me from falling. This is not something I’d recommend as a go-to, everyday strategy, but in those weaker, overwhelming moments, this is better than potentially hurting yourself or another person by being impulsive. I have noticed that I run to this strategy far less now than I did in the beginning. Evidence that my healing is in progress.
I look forward to my therapy sessions. A good friend of mine told me to think of therapy as a form of self-care and it has been such a worth-it investment! An investment in myself! I attend my bi-weekly sessions faithfully because I owe it to my future to heal. My future self, my future husband, my future kids, my future friends and co-workers, my future ventures, my purpose, and those that I am meant to serve. I made a commitment to myself to do everything I can to tap into my potential. God created me for a purpose that I intend to carry out which means I need to get serious. I have 0 desire to continue operating at a lesser version of myself than who I was created to be. My therapist is helping me identify my self-defeating thoughts, the situations that birthed them, and ways to overcome them. She’s equipping me with practical tools to prune away those dead-ends. I’m a firm believer that we can benefit from Jesus first & therapy as a support!
I am so grateful for the relationships that God has blessed me with. I have friends and family that are always willing to listen when I need an ear. I have people in my corner who have told me what I need to hear and not just what I want to hear. I have accountability and people to offer encouragement when I need it. However, even with all of that support, there was still something missing. For a while, I stayed in the house spending time with Lola (my spoiled little puppy). Recently, I was encouraged by my therapist to spend time with people. Not to fill a void, but to strengthen my support system, fill the extra space in my schedule that I use to save for my guy, and begin making new & exciting memories.
Since then, I’ve been more intentional about reaching out to my existing network while also putting forth the effort to meet new people. I’m in no way trying to replace what was lost (as mentioned above, running to the arms of another as a way of coping is not healthy). I am, however, excited to be getting out of the house. I’ve started engaging with the Young Adults ministry at my church which has been a great way to build community with like-minded people. I have reached out to acquaintances and friends of friends that I can see myself connecting with. I tend to be pretty shy around new people, but if pushing myself out of my comfort zone will help with my healing process, then let’s do it! I can say that in the past few weeks, I’ve been smiling and laughing more. Socializing regularly has given me something to look forward to.
I hope you have found these tips to be helpful. Know that your healing is in the works. It may hurt now and it may feel slow, but you will get there. And when you do, you’ll be so glad you continued to persevere. Please don’t abort your process<3
I’d love to hear what has been getting you all through your healing processes! Let me know in the comments below.
P.s: I didn’t forget about the worship songs: