“It just occurred to me that many people are actually afraid to heal because their entire identity is centered around the trauma they’ve experienced. They have no idea who they are outside of trauma, and that unknown can be terrifying.” – Ebonee Davis
Could this be why Jesus asked disabled people, “Do you want to be healed?” and “What do you want me to do for you?” (John 5:6; Luke 18:41)
When you think about it, what good would it do to be healed of blindness if a person is just going to keep his eyes closed?
What good is healing a crippled person if they still refuse to walk?
If God decides to heal you… would you trust him to live in a new, unfamiliar way? Or would you just keep living in the way that’s always been familiar?
Personally, I have prayed for healing changes for myself, knowing deep down inside that I have little desire to live out those changes or change anything else in my life to fit the new life I’m asking for. I think this has a lot to do with my identity and my willingness to envision myself in radically unfamiliar ways. My willingness to think outside my own experience, and believe I have the power to be different than what I’ve experienced so far.
- Do you identify yourself by the limited worldview of the people you grew up with?
- Do you identify yourself by dysfunctional family patterns?
- Do you identify yourself by a toxic or abusive relationship that destroyed you? Or a pattern of them?
- Do you identify yourself by a workaholic, consume-aholic, or serve-aholic mindset?
- Do you identify yourself, ultimately, by the oppressive pain or disempowerment you have suffered?
- Do you think, “It can’t get any better than this. I could never live like that. I just can’t picture it.” ?
These are all important parts of our story, but they are not meant to be our whole identity. Our identity includes our healing, which means we get to say, “I was ____________, until my healing came and then I became _______________.”
When God asks us if we really want to be healed, I think he’s asking if we can even see ourselves living life in a “healed” way – with all the new changes that will bring. How much time have we really spent envisioning a healed life for ourselves? Are we ready for this to happen? Have we counted the cost of things we may need to let go of? Some of us are heavily attached to our mat, or our guide dog, or our toxic person or comfort food. What are the changes we’d be willing to make, if only we could be healed enough to live like this?
Essentially – how much do we really want it?
How long will our healing last, or what good will it do – if we have no vision or real desire for it?
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18.)
I am daring to envision myself healed. I’m asking myself, “What would this look like?” and “Is this something I seriously want?”
To be honest, what I see is daunting to me. I don’t know if I can live up to what looks “healthy” in my mind. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to choose to sustain it.
I think this might be where the “faith” part of healing comes in. It’s easy to read the Bible and say, “Yes, I believe Jesus healed people and still does miracles.” But is he powerful enough to equip me to sustain the new, unfamiliar way of life that healing will require me to live?
I want to believe it.
It can be scary for a prisoner to finally be released after a long prison sentence. We might call this crazy, but some prisoners are terrified to get out. Some get out, but wish they could go back. Some of the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt after finally being released from slavery there, because freedom brought new challenges. Sometimes abuse survivors long to go back to oppressive environments, because the freedom of healing brings the new challenges of an unfamiliar life of freedom.
As hard or destructive as the old life was, the familiarity made it less scary, less intimidating, and easier to fathom as reality. After living with limitations, healing challenges us to believe we have power and abilities we never had before.
Do you want to be healed?
Do you even want a new paradigm, a new way of life?
There will be new things to learn. New challenges. New responsibilities. People who can see and walk have to believe they are capable of other skills, so they can work and take care of themselves and live like able-bodied people.
May God give us the courage to envision a radically-healed life, and the faith to believe he can empower it.
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