21 Lessons in 21 Days: Healing Takes Time


This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days 

Lesson Fifteen: The healing process takes time. Don’t run from it, learn from it.

Did you ever get hurt as a child, and get frustrated at how slowly your wound(s) were healing? If I remember correctly, it especially sucks when you’re on a sports team and your wound prevents you from participating for a while. In the same way, internal wounds can take a long time to heal, leaving us really frustrated that we can’t immediately get back to regularly scheduled programming. Our internal wounds can come from a wide variety of things like divorce, break-up, sexual assault, infidelity, addiction and abuse. While these things are truly painful to go through, it’s important that we don’t rush the healing process (or try to ignore it as a whole). When we try to go back to regularly scheduled programming while we’re still wounded, we end up doing an ineffective job. It’s kind of like a soccer player trying to play in a game with a broken foot that hasn’t healed all the way yet. It will only hurt yourself and those around you.

Healing takes time. Our wounds can only begin to heal once we allow ourselves to focus on them. It’s a process. And the best way to prolong the process, which is not ideal, is to pretend that it doesn’t need to happen. So, allow yourself the appropriate time to fully heal. Focus on the wound. Learn from it. Endure the process so that you can return to your life ready to effectively take on the world.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Be Still

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This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Thirteen: you can hear a lot more when you take the time to be quiet.

In a world that constantly bombards us with new things to do and look at, it can be difficult to just sit and be still. I find that I have to be really intentional with isolating myself sometimes because it’s so easy to be sucked into what’s going on in the world. What’s on social media, what’s in the current news, what everyone is doing in the moment are all things that are continually being brought to our attention. You tune in for what’s intended to be a few minutes, and end up losing hours at the blink of an eye. The thing is, when we’re constantly distracted by the world we don’t leave any time to spend with ourselves or with God. How are we supposed to be in tune with what’s going on within if we don’t take the time to listen? And how can we expect to hear from God if our attention is always focused on our screens?

We hear the most when we’re quiet. Ironic, isn’t it? Its in moments of silence and solitude that we can clearly hear our own thoughts and Gods voice. There have been countless times this year where I set aside time to just sit and be still, and my thoughts automatically revealed feelings id been harboring without noticing. In fact, most of my blog ideas come to me when I’m sitting alone with God and my thoughts. I challenge you to try it. When you have the urge to pick up your phone, or to turn on the TV, don’t. Sit and think instead. Free your mind. Draw, write, go outside and admire what’s around you. I promise that all your suppressed thoughts will flow right then and there.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Making Unpopular Decisions 

This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Twelve: Sometimes you have to make healthy decisions for yourself even when they’re not popular.

Taking the road less traveled sucks. Here you have a crowd of people going in one direction and you’re the one person leaving that crowd to do your own thing. That takes an enormous amount of courage. You have to worry about what other people will say about you, or how you may look to everyone else. It’s hard, but the road less traveled is usually the better road to take, especially when the road leads to a healthy personal decision.

Life is full of choices. In any given day there are a large variety of things to choose from, whether it’s the amount of time you hit snooze in the morning, or which pair of shoes to put on. Those tend to be some of the more simple choices in life (ok, maybe not the snooze part), but what about the more difficult decisions? Things like choosing whether or not to leave that friend or significant other that only brings negativity to your life, or choosing a college/career. We tend to lean towards the more popular choice, which is usually the opposite of the healthiest choice. Always choose the option that will benefit your personal welfare. If it comes down to it, part ways with that friend/significant other that doesn’t treat you well. Choose the college or career that best suits you rather than what is most popular or most known. Choose to leave that place that has left you stagnant and take the road to new experiences.

This year I was put in a position where I had to choose between staying in a place that was no longer good for my mental health or leaving. I was seriously considering staying because of how many amazing relationships I built in this particular place. I knew they wouldn’t want me to go. I also knew, though, that I would not be able to strive there any longer, and that I would be hurting myself by staying. So I chose the hard decision to leave, even though it was the least popular route. I know that a healthy decision is the best decision, and that only I know what’s best for me. As long as I continue to follow God’s direction for my life, I’m confident that everything will be just fine.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Actively Living Out Our Telos 

This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Eleven: Everything we do should revolve around our telos

This is a fairly new lesson learned for me this year. About two weeks ago a rather popular pastor, Judy Peterson, spoke at the Sunday service I attended at Pilgram Pines camp. It was a message that really stuck with me. She talked about the Greek word Telos, which means the point of everything. If someone asked you what the point of your life was, what would you say? I hadn’t really thought too much about it until I sat there that Sunday morning listening to Judy speak. She talked about how the world tries to sell us a point, and our friends/family think they know our point, which can sometimes leave us feeling like we’re all over the map. And it’s so true. When you aren’t sure of your “point” you can be easily swayed by the endless opinions of others. It’s easier to carelessly give up on things that could be important, and as Judy says, detours end up derailing us.

So, what is the point? What is our point as Christians? Judy led us to the greatest commandments to answer this question for us. 

Matthew 22:37-39 NLT

37 “Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

With that being said, our everyday life and day to day details should be aligned with our point. People should know our telos just by our actions. The way we talk to and treat people should be a direct  reflection of it. How can we make sure we’re actively practicing this? Judy suggested that an effective way is to ask ourselves what the point is (without a sarcastic tone) throughout each day. She suggested that we remind ourselves of why we are here and why we do the things we do. When we remind ourselves, we can make decisions that revolve around our point. We’ll be more inclined to be kind to someone who is always mean to us, or to forgive someone who isn’t even sorry.

Affliction: Are You Being Buried or Planted?

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As a detail-oriented person, I tend to notice a lot of little things that others normally don’t. I believe that when we allow ourselves to take a moment and embrace the details of something, we can almost always find some beauty within it. Every once in a while I see a plant growing from a crack in concrete, just like the picture above, and instantly become fascinated. Have you ever seen something similar and wondered how the heck it got there? Well after doing some research, I learned that a seed somehow falls into the crack and with the perfect circumstances, it begins to grow and work its way out.

In a few ways, the seed of a plant can be very symbolic of ourselves during the suffering life tends to bring. Whether we’ve grown up in tough times or painful circumstances have caught up to us later on in life, I think most of us can say life has left us feeling buried deep in pain at some point. The question we should ask ourselves is: Are we being buried or are we being planted? What’s the difference, you ask..?

The difference is our perspective

I’ve learned that it is really important to have the right view of what is going on in life. Believing that we are being buried during times of affliction reflects a sense of hopelessness. It feeds off of negative thoughts, which tell us the situation we are going through has no meaning other than to cause us pain. It makes us think we will never get beyond the hardships we face. A simple change of perspective can make all of the difference. To believe that we are being planted, rather than buried during suffering, causes us to recognize that our distress will soon turn into something positive and worthwhile. With this perspective, there is hope in the future and we are better able to see the glimpse of light coming from the concrete’s crack.

Romans 8:18 (NLT)
18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

In moments of suffering, we are to focus on God and cling to our faith in His amazing work. In the planted perspective, we recognize that there is purpose in what we are going through. It reminds us that God uses all experiences, good and bad, for the perfect plan He has for us. In the same way that every concrete-born plant needs the perfect temperature, water and light to grow, we need faith in God and His plan for us. Just as those plants miraculously grow through that concrete, we will break through our sufferings with more growth than we could ever imagine.

As crazy (and weird) as it sounds, beautiful things come from affliction. It is within these times that we are able to learn some of the deepest lessons about ourselves and others. It is within these times we learn who truly cares for and loves us. We find out just how strong we are and our ability to endure. The interesting thing about being planted during calamity is that while you’re persevering and focusing on staying positive, you don’t realize how much you’re growing at the very same time. Have you ever looked back on some point of your life and realized how wise and mature you grew to be without realizing at the time? It’s amazing.

It was at my lowest point that I was able to very clearly see God working in my life. Having the planted perspective saved me in so many ways.