Tag Archives: anxiety

How To Grow and Heal From Sufferring

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When we have negative experiences, they are opportunities to grow and heal, if we will allow ourselves to step back and find new perspective. Personally, my mental illness and accompanying difficult experiences have really helped me grow – but it was choice. Was I going to accept where I’m at and learn from it? Or would I let myself get bitter and shut down? I had (and still do have) moments where I’m all in to grow from the pain of it all, and other days where I’d rather do nothing but hide and escape from my problems. I’ve learned to let myself have both days, while slowly moving toward growing and learning instead of avoiding and hiding.

Walking through my own mental illness has made me strong in the midst of chaotic and painful emotions. Also, my struggles have given me compassion for people who go through similar difficult things. I have learned the art of being aware of my emotions, paying attention to what they might be telling me, and responding appropriately. This awareness has allowed me to notice the individuals who hurt the most, sit with them in their pain, and encourage them that, they too, will grow from their pain. We can allow mental illness (or other struggles) to define us in a negative, victimizing way (like “I will always be this way” or “nothing will ever change”), or we can allow it to grow us and change us to become stronger, more compassionate people.

I also have found my faith in Jesus through my battle with mental illness. So, in reality, mental illness is a gift that has kept giving – giving me opportunities to wrestle with God and my beliefs, to find answers (or to accept I won’t have answers!), to feel deeply, and to accept myself more fully. I have discovered my gifts and who I am – my struggles do not define me as weak, but they have allowed me to find God and my purpose in the midst of it. I would not be the kind, caring, compassionate person I am without all that I have gone through.

I share these beautiful things, but they have come from the depths of my pain, anger, shame, disillusionment, severe instability, and fears. They have come from the breaking of me – of life falling to pieces and God and I somehow slowly putting those pieces back together. I have found meaning and purpose through my breakdowns, which has created a deep well of hope and wisdom that I pray shines to others.

Mental illness has been a shaping factor in my life that has brought chaos, disaster, and healing. This cycle of pain and healing will, in some ways, always continue on this side of heaven. Jesus promises us both hope and pain on Earth. We must carry our crosses, learning to fellowship with Him in the power of His resurrection AND in His suffering (Philippians 3:10).

He cares. He understands. He’s been there. Let your pain move in you in a way that heals you instead of holds you back. Take courage that this struggle you are going through is not wasted.

Lean Into Your Fears

What would happen if you leaned into your fear instead of cringing back into it your fear? Fear tells us to run away and avoid, yet God calls us many times in the Bible to not be afraid.

Instead of running from our fears, we are called to face our fears, lean into them, and overcome them. We may feel fear, but we press through that to be able to do what we need to do. As Joyce Meyer says often: “Do it afraid!”

While leaning into your fear feels counter intuitive to your emotions, it’s a great way to overcome those emotions. It’s also a huge way to learn to depend on the Lord. You’re saying, “God I’m really afraid right now to take this step, but I know You are calling me to do that. So, I am trusting You to help me through this.”

Personally, God has been calling me to lean into my fears right now – fear of man, fear of the future, and fear of failure. He has called me to step out in certain areas such as relationships and ministry opportunities. I could just decide to stay home and be paralyzed by my fear, or I can take a step in the direction of that which is uncomfortable. Taking that step is hard, but as you choose to move forward in the face of your fear instead of backwards, spiritual ground is taken back from the Enemy. You will have breakthrough and freedom. It is SO worth it to fight through your human resistance and face your fear.

Recently, the Lord showed me a picture of me on a water ride – it was a scary, but I felt God inviting me to embrace the adventure of that ride and HAVE FUN! I believe God is always inviting us to embrace and enjoy our journey with Him, in spite of our fears and reservations.

So what fear is eating at you right now? Is it confronting a boss or someone you love? Is it stepping into a new job or role? Is it letting go of something you have your fingers grasped to so tightly to that you’re afraid to let go of it?

In John 16:22, Jesus says “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So, don’t run away from your troubles and fears, for He is with you in them, willing to comfort you and bring you to the other side.

Father God, thank You for your deep love for me. Please help me when I feel afraid to come to You and to press through to walk into the new opportunities You have for me. When it feels uncomfortable, help me to remember that You will strengthen me to do what I am afraid of. In Jesus name. Amen. 

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah