09/03

Coping Vs Wholeness

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 43:5

The world can offer some help for the brokenhearted, some coping techniques, but only God can offer true healing and wholeness for the brokenhearted. He can actually remove pain and replace it with His joy, peace, and love.

Let’s look at some coping mechanisms we find in the world. One is what I call “stuffing” or “toughening.” These are people who don’t want to feel pain, so they ignore it and neglect it rather than trusting God to heal it. Have you ever heard the phrase, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going?” Well, we don’t find this in the Bible. This phrase describes a self-sufficient principle of moving on from hurt by simply toughening up. The hurt is still there. The damage is still there, and if we don’t stop and surrender, then God can’t heal and strengthen it. This person will go through life getting tougher and tougher, unable to feel or care. They may fulfill the work or purpose of their calling, but they will not do it in a way that represents the Master they are supposedly serving. One of my favorite Bible examples for surrender is King David, a King, a ministry leader, but also a Psalmist. He allowed Himself to feel and heal.

Another coping mechanism is withdrawal or shut down. It can include staying in a place, but they become quiet and don’t participate. This mechanism is avoidance, and people use it to keep away from the uncomfortable or difficult issues of what is required to restore relationships or to function on a team. Life can be messy, and it takes faith and courage to function in this world, even in ministry. God will give us the faith and courage we need when we are whole in Him. When we are whole in Him, people can do and say whatever they want, and we’re still good because we’re whole.

Another coping mechanism is to hurt other people. Usually someone who is abusive is broken themselves. They feel badly, so to feel better, they make someone else feel badly, too. The God kind of love helps us to let go of hurt so we can love people instead. God doesn’t want us to simply manage emotional trouble; He wants to heal it, remove it, and strengthen us. The memories aren’t linked with painful feelings anymore. Certain things won’t trigger us anymore. Freedom comes from healing.

Application: If your behaviors are negative and dysfunctional, it’s likely you need to become more whole in your soul. Take the time to identify what might need a touch from God to heal and remove from your past.

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