Editor's Note: This is fourth in a series of articles called Healing is a Choice. Links to other installments can be found at the end of this page.

The Fourth Choice: The Choice to Heal Your Future

The Fourth Big Lie: “Time heals all wounds.”

Did you have great dreams for your life that have never come true? Most of us have. We do our best to rise above the circumstances of our births and childhoods, but we rarely do. Most of us end up with mundane lives, just struggling to get by. We’ve fallen short of our own expectations and often the expectations of others.

 

Yet there are others who don’t have dreams. They’ve been hurt so badly they don’t believe dreams come true—at least not for them. But whether you’ve had big dreams that haven’t come true, or nightmares that have scared you away from dreaming at all, everyone’s past converges upon the shared experience of pain. Pain is a character builder, but if it’s not responded to in a redemptive manner, it has the potential to be incredibly destructive.

 

I’ve known people who’ve lived for decades in the pain of shattered dreams and broken expectations. They’re still suffering at 50 or 60 because of something that happened when they were a child or a teenager. Whatever it is, they’ve never gotten over it and moved beyond it. It’s still working on them, eating at them, and robbing them of the life they could have.

 

Healing Your Future

When we resist grieving, we drag our pain with us all through our lives. The pain that has been so detrimental to our past is inadvertently allowed to wield its destructive force upon our future. But doing the tough work of grieving will plow the fields and soften the soil for a healthy harvest of connected relationships and a life of purpose and meaning.

 

“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (John 16:20). The pain felt now removes the curse of pain in the future. It’s resolved and no longer needs to be fed, minded, or protected. Disconnected alienation is traded for a feeling of connection, belonging, and community. Dependency on your own resources and survival tactics are traded for a trust in God and a dependency on Him. Old feelings and old ways are traded for a new life.

 

Defenses and Pretenses

How will you know you’re making progress at truly working through grief rather than just digging up old hurts and dwelling needlessly upon the past? You’ll recognize progress when you find yourself giving up some of your defenses and defensiveness. We protect ourselves from more pain when we’ve not really faced our grief. We arrange our lives so we won’t have to endure more than we think we can bear, and we defend our ground by not allowing others to speak truth into our lives. If they try, we push them away.