The Love of Jesus ♥

“If people want us to ‘get over it’ they have to first allow us the room to grieve, get angry, and feel the full range of emotions that come with healing. The very things they think mean we aren’t ‘over it’ are the exact things we NEED to do.” Jennifer Lynne Stuck

I more often have heard the well-meaning “let it go and let God” or “move forward and stop letting it hold you back” or, “think positive thoughts.” I’ve also had the nasty comments of “get over it” or “stop holding grudges” and “get out of the past” but far less than the loving responses from people who genuinely cared and wanted me to feel better. I’ve tried all of these things thinking there must be something wrong with me that I can’t just think positively and change my thoughts, that I’m still dealing with these things after 16 years, maybe I really am holding a grudge… yet I’ve not fully allowed myself to process what was done to me in order to get beyond where I was because of my refusal to look at the truth of what I was feeling. And I’m finally seeing the importance of being real about where I’m at so I can get to that healthy and whole place I believe is awaiting me.

God created us as emotional beings, so our emotions matter. Even when they are not based on truth – it’s feeling those emotions that allows us to get to the truth. I can lie to myself and everyone around me and say I’m not hurting, I’m not angry, I’m not wounded or broken… but I can’t lie to God. And it’s God Who continues to bring me back to the truth of what I’m feeling so I face it and feel it and get through it to the truth of who I can be, where I can go, and what I can do.

The healing process isn’t always comfortable for people to watch and witness – but it’s valuable. For the one healing and for the one watching. The one watching is learning to be uncomfortable in their compassion to act. A kind word, a hug, a “I’m so sorry you’re going through this”, a bit of self-reflection and evaluation, etc. When we see something hard to see like a homeless person, a bereaved parent, a rape victim, etc…. these should all move us to compassion! Instead, many in our society don’t want to think of that happening; many in our society don’t want to believe that things can be so painful that thinking positively isn’t always enough.

The Bible teaches, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 and yet, we forget that compassion is what is honorable, true, and just. We forget that while someone has a beautiful life, they are still living in this world and because of that, sorrows are present. Therefore, sitting with them and loving on them IS lovely, IS commendable, IS praiseworthy!

Encouraging someone to be positive isn’t. It’s not helpful and in many cases it invalidates what they are going through and it hurts them more because they don’t want to be struggling. They want to be happy, whole, and empowered. The only way for them to feel happy, whole, and empowered is the love of Jesus and one way that comes through is by the compassion of His people.

An Overcomer

The process of healing isn’t in pretending something didn’t happen… it isn’t in developing a thicker skin or in defending oneself by building up a wall to shut people out. One might need to remove themselves from certain relationships for a time or for good, but the process of healing is in sitting with the emotions and working through them. It’s in educating oneself and in the knowledge about what you’re experiencing and learning that there isn’t something wrong with you for having these emotions. The process of healing is what God has designed in us when He created us in His image as a conqueror.

We are more than overcomers in our experiences of the pressure from internal and external sources, that feeling of being trapped, difficult circumstances, when your convictions are being suppressed or if you are experiencing punishment for them, in hunger or thirst, in exposure and vulnerability, in risky situations, and against anyone looking to take our very lives and end the breaths we take (Romans 8:35-37).

It might be uncomfortable witnessing another who is going through their healing process. Still, it is not for anyone to interrupt, disrupt, or corrupt that process. If you don’t know how to help a person who is healing, please don’t hurt them instead. Healing can take weeks, months, years, decades – depending on the circumstance and depending on whether they are encouraged to grieve and heal.

I talk to my kids often about being an encourager instead of a commander. I’m still working on this myself, but demanding someone see something a certain way is not helpful. Instead, it creates fresh wounds of their own during a time when one is already raw and vulnerable. Encouraging someone isn’t flattery either, it’s in loving with the truth that lifts another up – it’s giving them courage to take a step forward in the healing process. Sometimes that’s in allowing the tears to fall, that’s allowing the anger to be felt, that’s allowing them to sit in the stillness and presence of God… sometimes, the encouragement comes in the silence of simply listening, being present, being the arms to hold them.

There is no shame in negative emotions when grieving… we’re real, created in the beauty and love of the Father. There is no shame in the pain and heartache when you’re healing… we are a soft and tender people, created to love – it’s in that same tenderness that we feel love, that we endure pain! There is no shame in feeling broken after abuse… God created us for the freedom from participating in sin and in being sinned against, but the world is full of it. The hope comes in that this isn’t the end of the story. As we walk out our healing in God’s design – to heal in order to overcome; there is strength there when you lean on Him, there is power that is made manifest as you realize your own weaknesses, and it is there that you suddenly find yourself, an overcomer.