The woe-is-me, why-me, victim mentality has consumed the Church for far too long. At some point in history, the Western Church has gotten complacent and entitled. In this generation, we have become so influenced by society which has taught us that playing victim and seeking attention with poor behavior is more effective than dealing with your thoughts/feelings/emotions and moving on. This is not true. In fact organizing said pity party is one of the worst things you can do for yourself. I want to share some insights on how to get out of this mindset, and how to love someone as they navigate through this process of repentance (changing your mind).
As someone who has been through decades of trauma, as well as a therapist and a believer who has been on both sides of the coin, I can say that allowing the Lord to work through the pain is profoundly more impactful than sitting in it. To sit and wallow in self-pity and pain is to come into agreement with the enemy, admit defeat and at some point choosing to walk into a darker place. Please hear me – I understand how crucial it is to be able to feel the pain, but I adjure you, do not stay in this place. An analogy I really like to use with my clients is to remind them that we are walking through this dark place in order to move through it. Remember – we are just passing through (not moving in) so don’t unpack your bags or settle in. I had to remind myself of this very thing this week, and had to ask God for courage to face my emotions and choose not to be a victim to my circumstances. God absolutely answered my prayers but just because he gave me the courage to do so does not mean it wasn’t painful.
Hopefully you’re still reading and I haven’t lost you to offense. In my years of working through my own trauma whilst being in ministry, I’ve learned a few things that I want to share with you: “what you behold you become” and “two inches”. Let me explain. I feel the first is pretty self-explanatory, but whatever you focus your attention on will grow and take up space in your mind (which impacts your behaviors and mood). Too often, we try to warp the scriptures around our situations instead of allowing the scripture to speak into our situations. What has more authority in your life – your situation or the Truth? If you stay focused on the pain and let it overtake your life, well… you know where that leads. It’s exhausting, torturous and painful (despite all your efforts to hide or exaggerate your pain). But did you know it’s okay to express all your feelings towards God? He won’t be offended. He is a compassionate God, meaning he is well-versed in all emotions and can sympathize because he has experienced it all. Scripture says that the Holy Spirit will be your comforter and I pray that you experience this if you haven’t yet. In order to experience His comfort, though, you must 1) acknowledge that there’s pain and 2) allow God to see you in that place. I am aware of how terrifying this is but I promise its worth it. When you allow Him to be your comfort, you will first feel all the pain. You have to let him see the wound, clean it out, put some ointment on it or even do surgery, and wrap you back up. I wish I could say there was another way around it, but there isn’t. There is no time-stamp on how long it will take but He is the great physician and I promise He will give you an anesthetic and tools to help with the pain afterwards. It’s not an exact science but in my experience, the longer you allow the wound to fester, the longer it’ll take to heal. This brings me to my second lesson I mentioned which is “two inches”. Lift your eyes two inches and look at Jesus instead of your situation. As you look at him, you will encounter a depth of love that you could never have known otherwise. You will learn of his character, his kindness, his gentleness towards you.
One thing that God has been doing in this last season is exposing the lies – individually, corporately, even nationally. The more you allow God into every area of your life, the more you will begin to recognize truth versus lies. Anytime I’m upset with God, start blaming him, ignoring him, etc – I know I’m believing a lie. One of the most powerful questions you can ask the Lord is, “Is there a lie I’m believing about you?” Once he shares with you what that lie is, ask him what the Truth is and expect him to fill you with this truth. Friends, please do not feel defeated or ashamed if this is where you’re at. God is not upset with you at all, but quite the opposite. He is thrilled and cannot wait to help you realize your true identity as one who is already whole and perfect. We are all on this path of healing and wholeness, and I can guarantee you that it does get easier. God has a perfect record, He has never failed a soul, and he’s not about to start with you.
For those of you who are in a position to love and walk alongside those who are walking out their healing, the greatest word of advice I can give you is to love them and see them through the Lord’s eyes. In our own strength, it is near impossible to love someone who does not yet fully know or love themselves. However, when you see them in their perfected wholeness, grace will come easier. Another reminder is that you are not responsible for changing this person – nor are you capable of doing so. Love them where they are while challenging them to sit with the Lord and pray for them to encounter the I AM, that they might find everything they need in Him. A word of caution: I would be careful with boundaries and I would ask the Lord for wisdom on how to love them while not enabling them. While it is profoundly helpful to sit with people as they genuinely feel their emotions, we must be careful not to allow them to sit in their own emotions. We must learn to be pastoral and compassionate, while reminding them of the truth of who they are which is difficult to hear when they feel the exact opposite in that moment. If they aren’t ready to hear the truth – you’ll know. But do not give up on them; continue loving them! The only reason I am where I am today, is because I had people who loved the hell out of me (literally).
Tying in with my last post, I believe that this is one practical step of how the Bride can ready herself for the imminent revival that we’ve been praying for. Love, heal, and be whole.