“Do you want relief? Or do you want to be healed?” This quote stuck in my mind as I read through Anne Jackson’s blog this morning.
Relief can come much quicker, but with less depth than healing. Relief is not a thorough solution. Healing is, though it takes more time. It may even be painful as the Lord reveals places in our heart that need to be changed. Places that we have tried to cover over, wanting a quick solution hoping the problem will just “go away”. Our society seems to encourage the quick fix, instant solutions. But are they really the answer to what is causing our inward pain?
The Lord desires us to go below the surface of our pain, get to the real issue at hand, and allow real healing that is not a “cover up” to the pain.
I think of it like this simple illustration: when we get a physical wound, there is pain. In order to promote true and lasting healing of the wound, we usually take inventory of the damage, clean the wound, possibly add some antibiotic ointment, then we allow the wound to heal. This is not a pain-free process. In taking inventory of the wound, we see what caused it and why there seems to be pain, and what our next step must be to bring healing. Sometimes we can take care of it ourselves; sometimes we need to get professional help.
When deciding to proceed and clean out a wound, most of us take steps with caution—we know how painful it will be. But we also realize that the temporary pain of cleaning the wound is necessary if we want to prevent further, deeper pain down the road. This is also true as we apply antibiotics to the wound. Some antibiotics sting when applied. But again, we know it is temporary. We endure the short term affects for the long term good. Once a wound is cleaned, medication applied, and wisdom is used in allowing the wound to heal, we will soon be free of the pain that the wound initially caused, and with no repercussions.
Emotional wounds are much the same. If we look for the quick fix or instant relief, we may not be open to the real healing the Lord desires to do in our life—the kind of healing where the pain and wound are addressed, preventing any repercussions down the road. The quick fix may sound something like the following: “stuffing it” or “blowing it off”, or whatever your terminology happens to be. True healing from the Lord may look like this: communication, forgiveness, life changes, etc. And just as when you inspect your physical wounds to determine if it’s something you can take care of yourself, or not, you may need to determine when inspecting your emotional wounds if it’s something you should do alone, or with some trusted person in your life, or with a professional counselor. Don’t be afraid to get some outside help.
In-depth healing has many aspects. We all have “buttons”… emotional triggers. Something may happen today that may “push your button” and bring pain. But that pain may not be simply from this recent event, it may be related to a previous wounding at another time that was never completely healed. But this time when the pain is felt, it is amplified as it surfaces together with the previous unhealed hurt. When you make a choice for God’s in-depth healing, you may have to look at the previous related issues and allow healing in those areas also.
If you have emotional pain, the best way to take inventory and know how to proceed is to invite the Lord Jesus into your situation and ask Him what to do. Ask what the cause of the pain is. Ask Him what will bring long term healing.
So the question remains: what do you want—relief or healing? What are you going to chose?