Category Archives: Healing

Addiction: A Thought for the Church

In all likelihood you have someone in your life with an addiction. Maybe even yourself. Addiction issues came to the forefront during my high school years in the 1960s, with the Viet Nam war, the war on drugs, and the Summer of Love. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, eating disorders, gambling, internet, porn… the list has grown as we have become more aware.

Need a Hug?

Need a Hug?

But the common denominator, especially within the Church, has always been, “Addiction = weak person.” We look down on those who need a crutch to get by (because of course, we don’t need that crutch and let’s not talk about my crutch, ok?). We judge. We offer recovery programs to help those people. I know. I’ve been there…

So I was intrigued by an article entitled The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think.  Author Johann Hari offers another explanation, backed up with some fascinating research on both rats and humans. It’s a long read, but well worth the time. Bottom line, he says that both rats and humans need love and a stimulating environment. That the chemical addiction (and I would argue, non-chemical addiction) is less compelling than the loneliness, the boredom, the lack of connection. OK, that might be simplistic. But is it?

I’ve seen people with serious addictions heal rapidly when they finally understand God’s love and see it demonstrated in the people around them. That’s what did it for me. I called it a miraculous healing, but was it or was it that I was finally safe? Finally loved? Finally seen?

Sure, sometimes people need prayer, accountability, and discipleship. I certainly did. But is it those factors that change them or the fact that someone finally sees them for who God created them to be. That someone is bold enough to debunk the lies they have believed, often since childhood or even infancy. That someone is willing to speak Truth to their wounded spirits. Over and over, as needed. Is that why “hire a friend” (aka therapy) often makes a difference?

So what does that mean for the Church? For you and me? Maybe we need to judge less and love more. Criticize less and speak Truth more. Shun less and hang out more. We have the words of life, and we can share them, even with those struggling with addictions.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love

Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love by Saundra Dalton-Smith

Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love by Saundra Dalton-Smith

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is a physician who has seen the impact of emotions on physical health. As a speaker, she teaches women how to eliminate negative emotions, find grace in difficult places, and experience personal renewal by drawing near to God. In Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love, she puts all this together in 80 devotionals, divided into seven categories. Each devotional includes ‘Your Heart’s Cry,” “His Reply,” a scripture reading, and two questions for “Growing Deeper” in two pages.

Her topics are generally right on, and her understanding of the issues is generally excellent. She addresses single and married women in all stages of life, so her audience is pretty generalized. Her approach is to allow the reader to vent through the first section, and then to hear God through the second section. I generally like such a format.

However, I had mixed feelings about this book. While the content is excellent and useful for many of the women I minister to, the writing is flat. It was hard to pinpoint the weaknesses; it just lacked pizazz. I’m sure it will be useful for many women, especially those still struggling with the issues Dalton-Smith addresses.

Thanks to Litfuse for this review copy.

How to Get What You Don’t Want

Did you know there’s a sure-fire way to get what you don’t want? Yep, and many people practice this method everyday. They speak their reality into existence with their words, and what they speak is what they don’t want rather than what they do want.

Sometimes we Create Our Own Mess

Sometimes we Create Our Own Mess

How often have you heard someone say, “I’m so bummed because I’m not married yet.” Or “I’ll probably never have children. It’s getting too late in life.” Or “I’m sure I won’t be able to get a job as good as the one I had before.” Or “I’m hopeless! I’m such an idiot!” Maybe you’ve said at least one of these yourself.

Do you realize that your words have creative power? Do you realize that, like the God whose image we are created in, we can speak reality into existence. Matthew 9 is filled with such stories: the man whose daughter died, the woman with the issue of blood, the two blind men. In each case, Jesus healed them and commended them on their faith. After healing the two blind men he said, “According to your faith be it done to you” (Matt. 9:29). All of these people spoke in faith, believing that Jesus could and would heal them.

Jesus hasn’t changed. He still acts according to our faith. What do you have faith in? What would happen if you stopped speaking in faith that the negative will happen, and rather, spoke in faith that Jesus will indeed provide what you need or desire? If you’re creating a reality you really don’t want, there is a way to change that.

 

When You Think You’re Dying

Making change is hard. Sometimes very hard. When I’m doing ministry and encouraging change, I often hear, “I feel like I’m dying!” And that’s true. Change often feels like death, and in fact, requires a death.

Go Ahead and Die!

Go Ahead and Die!                                                                                                                        Photo Credit: Jhong Dizon

Here’s the deal. Many of the behaviors and attitudes we want to change actually require a death. A death to the habit. A death to the factors that drive the habit. A death to the good feelings that the habit generates. It feels like death unto death.

But here’s the reality. When we make a change that is good for us, it can be a change unto resurrection. We may be in the “grave” for a short time, but if it’s a change for good, it’s a change to resurrection. We come out better. We come out transformed. We will never be the same again. The old has indeed passed away, the new lies broad before us. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

So if you feel like you are dying as you try to change, that’s a good thing. Continuing the old habit will bring death. But allowing the habit to die, well that brings resurrection! So go ahead. Die!

Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Wounded Soul

Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Soul by Cynthia Ruchti

A crumbling statue. A torn tapestry. A discolored painting.

Artisans can reclaim exquisite beauty from the broken, frayed, and shattered—perhaps once thought beyond repair. But what about us? What of the wounds that keep us from living the life we want to live?

In Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Wounded Soul
readers walk through a gallery of reclaimed and restored art as well as broken and restored lives of those who have gone before us. With a gentle touch and personable wisdom, Cynthia Ruchti shows how even the most threadbare soul can once again find healing and hope.

Ruchti writes with a gentle, poetic style that will speak to those who are feeling beat down and torn up. Her word flow, saturated with grace and hope. In an almost casual manner, she assures the readers that, just as broken and torn things can be restored into something beautiful, so can their lives. And what’s more, the signs of brokenness can become a badge of honor. Something even more beautiful than the original design.

This is a tender book that is perfect for someone in the exploratory or hopeless stages of healing. It’s probably a bit soft for someone aggressively pursuing healing, but may provide a respite when hopelessness sets in.

Celebrate the release of Tattered and Mended with Cynthia by entering to win her Reclaimed Treasures giveaway!

tam-400

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 27th. The winner will be announced July 28th on Cynthia’s blog.

 

tam-enterbanner

 

Where Do You Want to Be? | Contentment

Are you satisfied with where you are and what you’re doing? So many people aren’t. Single people want to be married. Married people wish they weren’t. If a job isn’t perfect, some people complain, threaten to quit, and sometimes even orchestrate their firing. They believe they will be happy when… And they can’t be happy unless…

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands (The Show Ponies) has a perfect line:

“You’ll never be where you want to be until you want to be where you are.”

Think about it. Instead of always wanting to be somewhere else, doing something else, being someone else, what if you were simply able to be content. Right where you are? To rejoice in being. Just who you are. Every day. What would it take for you?

Would you need to set aside your visions of what your life was supposed to look like? All too often we have our preconceived ideas about the course of our life, and when it doesn’t work out, we blame God. Or ourselves. Or someone else. We strive to accomplish our goals, even if they aren’t God’s goals. In the process, we drown in discontentment. We want to be anywhere other than where we are.

Try it. Just be where you are, and decide that you want to be there. Practice contentment and see what a difference it makes.

Daily Communion: A Valuable Practice

Do you want a practice that will greatly enlarge your love of God, your healing, and your contentment? I’ve been doing daily communion for all of this year, and I can highly recommend it. I take my first moments of the day, even before coffee, to spend a few minutes with Jesus. I thank him for his amazing sacrifice. I meditate on the cross and the pain He endured. I thank him for the salvation and healing he offered me. Me. Personally.

Daily Communion

Daily Communion
Photo Credit: klndonnelly

As I break the bread, I ask that he break off all sin, infirmity, sickness, bad habits, brokenness – anything that is not pleasing to him. As I take the cup, I remind him of the new covenant that promised me a heart of flesh rather than a heart of stone. I receive the healing effect of the blood. I pray. I remember.

Since doing the same thing every day can feel a little stale, I’ve also been using a simple devotional At the Foot of the Cross: Meditations on the Meal of Remembrance It gives me new ideas and insights on how to pray.

Since starting the practice of daily communion, I’ve noticed more healing, more serenity, and more faith. To avoid the problem of not having the components at home and the nuisance of preparing every day, I buy my individual communion set ups from Amazon, either Fellowship cup,Prefilled communion cups juice/wafer-100 cups (net wt.1.62 lb) or Celebration Cups Wafer and Juice Communion Set (100 Count) (shown above). Both have been quick satisfactory.

I encourage you to consider this wonderful practice. Let me know what you discover.

Skin in the Game: Living an Epic Jesus-Centered Life

One of the myths I teach in Obstacles to Healing is the myth that “God is my fairy godmother,” which is the lie that I can heal with no skin in the game. That God will wave his magic wand and everything will be OK. I can’t tell you how often I run into this belief. Everyone wants to heal, but few want to pay the price.

Rick Lawrence challenges this mindset in his book Skin in the Game: Living an Epic Jesus-Centered Life (Kregal, 2015) . Using stories from the Gospels, he urges readers to face their shame, receive grace, embrace their true identity, own what they want, confront their fears, take a risk, and wait when all hope is lost. Through it all he encourages readers to make Jesus their first and last resort. These are all issues I see in virtually every ministry session, and Lawrence’s story-based approach makes them attainable by those with little understanding of healing.

The book is simple, yet filled with practical truth critical to healing and discipleship. I expect to recommend it to ministry clients as a way of challenging their beliefs and practices and moving them a step closer to Jesus. Without the magic wand.

http://www.kregel.com/Media/MediaManager/BloggerAd-450x150-SkinInTheGame.jpg

Every 37 Seconds… | A Key to Healing

Have you tried “everything” to heal? Like, wishing the problem would go away? Like talking about the problem to everyone you know? Like, praying every morning, like mouthwash? And yet, nothing seems to work… Now what?

Every 37 Seconds...

Every 37 Seconds…
Photo Credit: Jason Devaun

Here’s my number one surefire approach to positive change: every 37 seconds. Huh? Here’s the deal. Many problems require constant persistence rather than the “every now and then” approach.

I remember the time I learned this. I had just been hit with a huge spike of fear. The kind that grabs your gut and twists it in a dozen knots, and then sends buckets of bile into your throat. You know the kind. The situation warranted a bit of fear—concern, perhaps. But not this. No way. I knew that Satan had overplayed his hand.

So I spent the next month challenging the fear. Commanding it to go. Reminding it of the promises and character of God. Every 37 seconds. Over and over and over. Every time the gut would twist, I’d remind the enemy that I was having no part of it. Every 37 seconds. Every time the fear hit, I’d whop it and demand that it to go. Every 37 seconds. Every time the bile would rise, I’d replace the lying fear with the Truth. Every 37 seconds.

You know what? Within a month, the fear was gone. And what’s more, the issue that caused the fear had absolutely no power over me! I was free!

I’ve used this same approach for the past 30 years, both personally and with others I’ve ministered to. It works every time it’s used consistently. Not once in the morning. But every 37 seconds.