“My mother would take the Band-Aid off, clean the wound, and say, “Things that are covered don’t heal well.” Mother was right.” (T.D. Jakes)
“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” (Abraham Maslow)
“Hello?! Help! I’m in a crisis. I need to see someone immediately. I have just experienced a devastating….”
…loss? betrayal? mental breakdown? consequence of your addiction?
Sometimes when we experience sudden hurt, whether self-inflicted or brought on by the carelessness of others, we are thrown into crisis mode. A crisis can feel so heavy and hard when it hits, but it can also be the beginning of a new direction and journey of healing for us. I love to play with words, so I tend to go to the dictionary often to discover any deeper meanings that exist. The word “crisis” is fascinating in that is has a dual meaning:
- A time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger
- The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place; the point in a play or story when a crucial conflict takes place, determining the outcome of the plot.
The Greek word “krisis” comes from the word krinein which means “to decide.” What happens so often in these crisis moments of decision is, as described in the first definition, that the unexpected loss, anxiety attack, or exposure of sin feels so overwhelming, it becomes an emergency, a catastrophe… a mess. But, I like the second definition because it gives us a choice. There exists, in the midst of the crisis, a point of change that determines the outcome of our story; change can be positive or negative- but the choice to experience a positive, healthy outcome always exists.
Oftentimes, people going through crisis can turn to a “band-aid.” A band-aid is a short term solution that provides immediate, but superficial comfort. Band-aids come in various forms: substances, pornography, food, exercise, video-games, etc. Some of these things are not dangerous on their own (although some certainly are), but when even the ‘good ones’ are used to cover up a serious injury- they become addictions that tend to exacerbate the hurt and can cause ‘infection’ to spread. Left unchecked, the wound leads to numbness and a dependency on the excessive use of band-aids to bring immediate relief. No band-aid is sufficient to stop a hemorrhaging wound. As the quote above states… “Things that are covered don’t heal well.”
Unfortunately, sometimes, people use counseling or therapy to do the very same thing. Don’t get me wrong, here… I genuinely believe that it is extraordinarily courageous that one is able to make the call to see a counselor in the midst of chaos and crisis! I certainly do not want to undermine or discredit the challenge that is overcome, just in that action. But, here is my concern: if you try to use counseling as a band-aid, looking for a “quick fix” to use until the immediacy and initial pain has passed, you will find that there is a gradual re-opening of the wound that takes place- causing greater pain in the long-run.
What if you or I were to get in an accident that required instant medical attention, such as a getting shot in a vital organ or a car crash leading to immense internal bleeding. We then called the ambulance to rush us to the hospital and were admitted to the E.R. The nurses hooked us up to some fluids and began to administer pain medication to decrease our immediate pain and swelling. Then, after about an hour, feeling that the pain had subsided- we decided to leave the hospital without surgery. Does that scenario make any sense? Of course not. Our chances of survival would be slim.
Although this is an extreme example, think about it as a metaphor for our mental health issues. While it is wise to react to a crisis by seeking therapy and counsel, it is unwise of us to take advantage of this resource only to use it as a pain pill or band-aid that temporarily relieves the immediacy of the pain.
My point is that total, holistic healing is a process. Even after the events that are causing pain, or the initial pain itself has dissipated, there is a recuperation period that is necessary to fully heal, recover, and experience a “new normal.” You are so worth the time, emotional energy, finances, and risk of vulnerability needed to do the “surgery” and to recover, fully and correctly. God has equipped and gifted specific mental health professionals to not only walk with you through the valley, but also to bring renewal, freedom, reconciliation, and newness in your life. Here at Cornerstone, we have the immense honor of joining the Holy Spirit in counseling and healing you through many different paths. Our holistic approach includes animal assisted therapy sessions and play therapy (for children). Ask God to lead you to the person he has appointed to accompany you on this journey.
Keep going. Keep persisting in the fullness of the healing that is available to you. Don’t give up.
“The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace- a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies- and to comfort all who mourn, To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid [weak, tired] spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”- planted by God to display his glory. They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new.” (Isaiah 61:1-4, MSG)