Learn Why You Make Problematic Choices
- Steve Arterburn Author and Chairman of New Life Clinics
- 2005 2 Nov
Editor's Note: This is third in a series of articles called Healing is a Choice. Links to other installments can be found at the end of this page.
The Third Choice: The Choice to Investigate Your Life in Search of Truth
The Third Big Lie: “It does no good to look back or look inside.”
Are there some things you’re doing that are causing you to be separated from others and from the life you could be enjoying? Are there areas of your life that are full of conflict and struggle that you wish would just go away? Have you ever walked away from a conversation or even a fight wondering why you did what you did or said what you said?
Almost everyone has, but not everyone goes through the pain and struggle of getting to the “why” behind the choices that are causing problems, conflict, and emotional turmoil. We heal our lives as we begin to search for truth about why we do what we do and why we feel the way we feel.
Open Up Your Life
The Bible challenges us to take a look inside: “Let us examine our ways” (Lam. 3:40). Our ways are our habits, conflicts, character traits, and the patterns in our relationships.
You may think you’re fully aware of all aspects of your being, but you’re not. There are some areas that have mysteries to be solved that you can’t solve on your own, because you can’t see the problem. You’re completely blind to the reality of what is there, and the only way you’ll be able to “see” is with the help of others. They’ll help you uncover the truth that you would probably deal with if you just knew it was there.
But before you ask for help with what you don’t see, open yourself up with your own scalpel and take a look at what you do see.
Taking that look is called many things. It’s called self-examination by some, and self-confrontation by others. It involves taking your life and holding it up to the light of truth and seeing what’s there.
Many Twelve Step and recovery groups call it “taking a searching and fearless moral inventory.” Spend some time looking at and reflecting upon your faults and defects. Write them down, and seeing what they reveal about you.
At Least One Other Person
Once you’ve examined yourself, take the thoughts you’ve collected and share them with another person who loves you, is wise, keeps confidences, and is committed to helping you become the best person you can be. Tell that person you want honest feedback. Let him or her know you can handle the truth, and invite that person to share it with you.
As you go through life you want to be sure there is at least one other person who’s heard you confess your sins and shortcomings. You need to be sure at least one other person’s heard your full story—warts and all. You also need to be sure that there’s at least one other person who’s praying for you.
Satan is real, and there’s a supernatural warfare going on right now. Prayer is a supernatural means of fighting the enemy that wants nothing less than the complete worst for you. Make certain that you’re also praying. Pray that God will reveal all things to you that you need to know to grow more like Him. Prayer is a supernatural tool to uncover your blind spots that hinder growth.
The Big Lie
The big lie you might use or others might throw up to you is that is does no good to look back or look inside. When you mess up—or so this line of thinking goes—you just pick yourself up and move on. We’re to “press on” according to Scripture, and looking back is less than pressing on.
Yet truly pressing on requires us to throw off any encumbrance that would weigh us down and prevent us from achieving what God has called us to. Guilt, shame, remorse, anger, rage, anxiety, and fear from your past are precisely the encumbrances you need to throw off.
Do the work, and don’t listen to anyone who would tell you it’s destructive. Become a student of yourself. Know yourself so that you can come to know all God has planned for you, and so that you can live faithfully and fruitfully within that plan.
Healing is a choice. It’s God’s choice, but there are choices that we can make to ensure we experience the healing God has in store for us. Healing is a choice to discover the truth about yourself and solve the mysteries that lie within. Today is a great day to begin to heal or grow deeper in your healing by discovering new truth about yourself.
The above piece is an adaptation from Healing Is A Choice: Ten Decisions That Will Transform Your Life & Ten Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them, by Steve Arterburn. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2005.
Stephen Arterburn is the founder of New Life Clinics, the largest provider of Christian counseling and treatment in North America. As host of the daily New Life Live! radio program, he is heard nationally on over one hundred and eighty stations and at www.newlife.com. Steve is the creator of the Women of Faith® Conferences and is the author/coauthor of over thirty books, including Healing is a Choice, Lose it For Life, The God of Second Chances, Every Man’s Battle, and Avoiding Mr. Wrong.