Healing is a Choice
Every person makes choices. Some are major and imposing, while others seem insignificant and inconsequential. Still, each individual --- no matter how discouraged, hopeless, or dejected he or she might feel --- has the opportunity to effect positive, life-enhancing change in his or her life. This principle holds true for those struggling to recover from infidelity, divorce, bankruptcy, illness, job loss, familial estrangement, or abuse. Author/counselor/radio host Stephen Arterburn teaches readers practical methodology for making biblically sound decisions that will change their lives for the good.
Arterburn offers no quick fixes in his text, but he compassionately leads those who are seriously interested in investing their time, energy and commitment toward realizing significant life changes through biblically effective methods that will help them to think differently --- Godwardly --- and will enable them to recast a damaged, spiritually stunted history. The author points out that God has provided the properties to heal within every facet of our nature --- bodily, emotionally and spiritually. Writes Arterburn, "It takes courage to seek out, obtain, and utilize whatever resources you need to treat the untreated areas of your life. But not everyone has the courage. Not everyone is willing." His call (plea, actually) is for all Christians to look carefully at who they are, why they do what they do, and how they can move forward to a richer, more spiritually healthy place.
To jumpstart this process, Arterburn recommends "inviting quiet" so as to do a "pain inventory and a feelings checkup." He suggests that individuals ask these introspective questions: What am I afraid of? What is missing? Am I empty? What am I filling up on? Why am I refusing to feel? What feelings am I avoiding? Arterburn says that these questions and their respective responses help people gain insight into life patterns of protection. He asks readers to look at areas where they experience fear, then anger, and finally guilt. Once this exercise is completed, studied and carefully considered, healing can begin when honesty and courage meet with trust and faith in God, and in His ability to provide gracious daily strength to change.
Specifically, the author discusses the following 10 choices every person makes in regard to healing:
- Connect one's life with others, or give in to the lie that "all I need to heal is just God and me."
- Face life (ugly emotions and all), or the lie that "real" Christians experience real peace in all circumstances
- Thoroughly investigate life in search of truth, or embrace the lie that it does no good to look back.
- Seek healing for the future, or believe that time heals all wounds.
- Help one's life, or give in to the lie of self-sufficiency.
- Embrace life, or pretend there is no problem by denying its existence.
- Espouse forgiveness, or only bestow the gift on those who deserve it.
- Allow risk its proper place, or spend every day protecting oneself from any potential pain.
- Serve today, or wait until complete healing has taken place.
- Persevere, or give in to hopelessness.
Each of these subjects is handled on a chapter-by-chapter basis with countless narratives, real-life scenarios, and lots of author-to-reader dialogue that encourages, challenges, and lovingly directs.
One of Arterburn's strengths as a communicator is his willingness to be honest about his own life struggles. He is candid, at times sorrowful, and at other times jubilant. But always he urges individuals to seek out the substantive help and healing Christ alone can offer them.