From Hurt to Whole: The Power of Making the Choice to Heal

Time alone does not heal all wounds. Healing does not simply happen to you. God rarely “rains” healing down on you as if from “on high.” Instead, healing is something you work toward, search for, embrace, and live out in cooperation with God. It’s up to you to make the choice to heal.

That may sound heretical if you’re a believer who is praying for God to heal you – in your physical body, your troubled mind, your broken relationships, your grief, or your wounded spirit. It may be hard to even believe healing is possible. And perhaps you wonder why others seem to experience it and you don’t. Is God holding out on you?

Healing is similar to salvation. There’s nothing you can do to earn salvation; it’s a free gift from God. But that doesn’t mean you’re saved aside from your choice – and your voluntary response to God’s offer. You have a part to play in taking His offer of salvation into your being.

Or think of it like food. You don’t create food out of nothing; God supplies the food, but He doesn’t drop it into your mouth. You’re responsible for learning what you need, finding it, preparing it, and eating it – actually taking it into your body and metabolizing it. If you don’t, you’ll get awfully hungry!

God is a Healer – just like He is your Savior and your Provider. You can’t read Scripture and not see that about Him. (Just a few: Exodus 15:26, Psalm 103:2-3, Acts 10:38) And that healing affects everything; your physical body, your mind, your relationships, your inner spirit.

But that healing isn’t some magic spell that comes on you. It’s something you choose, seek out, and actively work to receive.

Healing is a Choice

Look at Jesus’ life here on earth. People had to choose to come to Him for healing. Sometimes the faith of others brought them to Jesus – in person or “virtually.” He would often ask, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked the man who had been crippled for 38 years, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6).

It’s not an unimportant question. You could choose something else instead of healing.

You could choose to:

  • Continue living an unhealthy lifestyle, and experience illness as a result
  • Blame your spouse for your marriage misery, because to do otherwise would mean you would have to look at yourself
  • Hold on to anxiety, bitterness, loneliness, or anger because that feels “safer” than looking under the surface and learning a different way

Making the choice to heal isn’t automatic, and God won’t force healing on you. You might say, “I’ve been praying for my healing. Of course I want to be healed. God just hasn’t answered.”

But what if God needs you to do more than ask? What would it look like to cooperate with God in answering your prayer?

My Healing Choice

There have been two significant seasons when I’ve had to learn this myself. The first was many years ago when my chronic unhappiness as a young person deteriorated into severe distress. I prayed endlessly for God to fix me, but I had to learn to do the work. For me that included examining the roots of the pain in my story, learn how to tell my mind where to go and what to do, and stand daily under the protection of the blood of Jesus.

My healing did not happen in a moment or a day; it took months. But I can truly say that my past lost its sting. Those distressing patterns of thought and behavior have no hold on me, and I’ve never again fallen into that pit of distress again.

The second time I learned this was after my husband died in 2016. The loss and grief was enormous – and exhausting. My head knew the truth that he is safe in Jesus’ arms, and that Jesus’ arms hold me too. I knew that death will eventually be destroyed. “Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).

But simply knowing those things and the passage of time alone do not bring healing. I could choose to stay stuck in my grief. Or I could choose to do the work of grief and embrace the process of discovering what the next season of my life would mean. Although I’m still without my husband in this life, I came to feel a profound sense of gratitude for the gift of his life, for who he was to me, and for our life together.

I can feel healed. The wounds I’ve experienced have lost their sting and become scars that now become fruitful in blessing others.

YOUR Healing Choice

Where do you need healing?

Let me encourage you to not wait for heaven! I pray all the time, “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!” But don’t wait until then to go after your healing with everything you have.

Here are a few steps to help you do that.

  1.  Choose to believe in healing.

If you don’t believe healing is available for you, you won’t experience it. God usually doesn’t bring healing unless you’re pursuing it.

How you pursue healing will depend on your circumstances. It may look like a healthy lifestyle to optimize your physical wellbeing. Or pursuing healing from unhealed trauma. It may look like loving well even if your spouse doesn’t respond in kind. Or doing the work to steward your sexuality and grow in sexual wholeness.

  1. Go there!

You won’t find healing if you keep your sickness covered up. I had to “go” into my grief and feel it, hold it, see it in all its devastation. You may need to “go there” in dealing with addiction or abuse by you or others, looking at the real problems in your marriage, owning the fear you have been trying to ignore, or acknowledging how you’ve been harmed sexually and harmed yourself and others in response. You will also need others around you in order to do this.

And then invite God into that place, however dark it is.

  1. Learn what God has to say.

Listen. Really listen to Him! That may mean reading the Bible, listening to worship music, getting alone with Him in nature, or taking in what others who have known Him have had to say. This includes head knowledge, but it must not stop there

It’s important to bring your “stuff” directly to God. This is not information; it’s letting Him get close. You enter God’s presence and “go there” together. Don’t pretend. When Jesus was here on earth things changed when He showed up. And things will change when you allow Jesus to truly be with you now also.

  1. Trust God with the Outcome.

Remember you’re not the Healer; God is! You don’t heal yourself by drumming up enough faith or praying hard enough or reading enough Scripture. There’s work you do, but it’s not your work that heals you. When God tells you something, listen. When He asks you to do something, do it. And when He gives you something, say Thank You.

And when He brings you a measure of healing, embrace it!

Your healing may look somewhat different from what you imagined. That’s OK. Our ultimate healing will come in eternity. But you can still find healing here and now.

Healing is a choice!

I hope and pray you make the choice for healing. Keep showing up. And keep saying Yes.

Your Turn: Have you been holding back, waiting for healing to find you? How can you make the choice to heal and go after it in the area you need it? Leave a comment below.

Want More? This week’s podcast episode is with Stacey Sadler Smith about her own healing journey and how she now helps others find healing from betrayal, trauma, and broken relationships. Listen or watch.

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Do You Need some Sexual Healing?

My new book shows you how to get there. Sexpectations: Reframing Your Good and Not-So-Good Stories About God, Love, and Relationships.

If your heart is struggling with anything around sex, love, and intimacy, you need this! This book will help you:

  • reinterpret your sexual story with honesty and compassion
  • find freedom from shame, compulsive behaviors, past harm, and hiding
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  • experience Jesus coming right into the middle of your story to bring healing and wholeness

Check out our new Sexpectations website where you can find related resources. You can download a free chapter of the book, and order the book for yourself.