Overcoming the Pain of the Past

Surrender butterflyEveryone has experienced the pain of hurt in relationships. There is a common expression we hear that says that these experiences will cause us to become bitter or better; it’s true. It takes effort to deal with the wounds, or hurts, we have suffered and come out better afterwards. The journey can be long for some; it often depends on the soul-care you receive along the way, as well as the openness of your heart to surrender to the Father’s will for you. I know that it is difficult for some because of past experience, loss of trust, but God is faithful. Are you willing to trust Him to help you?

In my biblical counseling studies, I came across three common ways that people tend to deal with emotional pain in their lives.

 Rose dying1) We can Internalize

When we take in pain and repress what we feel from another’s actions toward us, it will inevitably produce bitterness within our heart. These stored up feelings inside the reservoir of our heart (our soul) builds up and will at some point explode. No person can contain the growing, ever increasing, and changing life that hurt harbored will produce. Bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness will break us down emotionally and physically.

Because of God’s love for us, He will not allow this to continue forever.  He will bring situations to us that will press upon this sore spot in order for us decide to deal with it. Many attempts to cover the wound with poor remedies will only produce various addictions — habitually applying poor solutions to our pain. God offers a solution, a way out; it involves humility and forgiveness, a better way than internalizing pain.

2) We can retaliatedart-1943313__480

Here we consider who wronged us and the price we will exact from them for the hurt they caused. Retaliation is a vicious circle of pain and misery. No matter how much is hurled back at the offender or others by proxy, it will never satisfy. Eventually, those who choose retaliation as their method of dealing with pain, turn into offenders themselves. They become like the very one whom they have despised so fiercely.

heart-2998921_6403) We can Forgive

Forgiveness is the only way to overcome hurt in our lives. It requires our choosing to do so. Extending forgiveness is painful, but this kind of pain reaps many benefits for everyone involved. It will cost you everything it seems, to forgive.

The possibility of true and lasting forgiveness exists for those who have come to know the forgiveness God has offered to us. Those who follow Christ, our supreme example, are given the power by the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit to forgive others. While this may seem impossible initially, with God’s help, and perhaps that of godly counselors, we can find this place of release from our past. Jesus is our greatest example of one who forgave (Luke 23:34[1]).

It is an act of your will to forgive. When you move in the process of saying, “I can’t” to opening the door of possibility to realizing, “I won’t”, you will begin your journey to being able to consider what God may be doing through your pain. You can arrive at the place of, “I will” and open your heart to God.study-862994__480

By forgiving we release the offender into God’s Hands (and possibility civil authorities) for justice to be served and consequences to be walked through. God is the only One who can rightly deal with any of us. He is the rightful authority over all of life; each life was created by Him. He has set in order by His Word (the Bible) how we are to handle the situations we face, and we are responsible to deal with ourselves and allow God to deal with others as He sees fit.

Fear can keep us from forgiving based upon false assumptions. We can fear that if we forgive we have to return to an abusive situation, or that we must reconcile with an unchanged person. This journey involves steps; please do not let fear keep you from taking the first step. God will be faithful to you, as He has been to me and many others, but you must trust Him.

butterfly-2665318__480It costs us something to surrender in this way, but it is the only way to lasting freedom. Do it for yourself first and eventually you will also find joy in giving your gift to others. God can give you great hope and purpose, and use you as an instrument of His love to others, even your enemies.

[1] Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…

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A True Friend

Good counsel can be difficult to find. My top recommendation is Rick Thomas. A man who has been through it; he offers hope, care with compassion, and solid Truth with results guaranteed by God. An investment worth your time.

Listen in….Rick will be one of the best friends you can gain. Proverbs 27:6 says, Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are lavish and deceitful. (Amp). Learn how you can become a true friend to others; not someone who avoids and glosses over problems but offers life-changing solutions.

Further Reading: Our Real Enemy

Photo Credit: YouVersion Bible App

Choosing Wisely

How do you know which door to choose when you need help, especially when you’re feeling worn down and ready to give up. Getting help can be difficult and it takes time and effort… and humility.

I’d like to recommend a Podcast by Rick Thomas, he covers common topics concerning relationships. He is an insightful counselor, with many years of experience, who gives sound advice on how to walk through some of the most difficult places in life.

I recently listened to some of Rick’s podcasts and find them to be so good and thought this may be a good way to introduce you to Rick. He also has two new books out Change Me and Suffering Well (available on Amazon).


Have you visited my RESOURCES page yet? If not, please click, you will find helpful resources on a variety of topics.

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Freedom Living!

Sad, discouraged, depressed? Angry when things don’t go your way? Many go through life wondering why their life seems discouraging while others seem happy. There are various reasons for this, and I will tell you that it is not God’s will for you to be bound by these feelings, but rather to find your hope in Him.

It Helps to Take Inventory

If you are struggling with these feelings, let’s look at some foundational factors. Is there something you are desiring that seems illusive? Do you feel obsessed with reaching a goal or attaining some status? Perhaps it’s a particular item you feel would bring you happiness; a certain job, marriage, a house. When you sense that someone is interfering with your plans for success, do you become agitated or angry with them? — a boss, co-worker, neighbor, parent, spouse, or child. If so, here’s a good weekly exercise: take a note-card and whenever you feel this happening, write it down so you can review it later. Allow yourself to notice how often this happens during the day and over the week. You will see a pattern develop that will prove helpful. What factors cause you to experience these agitated or anxious thoughts? We’ll come back to this later.

chess-1483735__480The Self-life

Our natural man, the way we are all born into this world as sinners, desires for things to go our way. From childhood our brains are wired to come out on top. Unless our parents understand God’s ways and are able to put great effort into training us to think differently, we often end up having to recognize and deal with this ME principle the hard way. God uses difficulties to attempt to teach us to give up the self-life and go with His-life instead — this is the way He designed us to function successfully .

kite-1209241__480Freedom in Christ!

Discovering the place of living for God’s glory, takes us out of this lower position of serving ourselves and exchanges our desires for His plans and purpose for us — this is freedom living. Instead of living according to our natural bent to sin; our self-serving nature, we become free to live for God’s glory. The beginning point to this position is known as being born-again by God’s grace extended to us. Nothing we’ve earned or deserve, but because of His love (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Holy Spirit then takes up residence within us so that the life of Jesus Christ himself is expressed in us and replaces our self-life (Galatians 2:20). While God gives to each of His created beings personality and unique gifts, His desire is that these are given to be used for His glory.  This is where fulfillment, joy and peace are obtained. But this kind of living requires a choice on our part; initially and daily as we walk with Him.

Being Enlightened (Ephesians 1:18-20)

When we surrender our life to God we learn how to adjust our focus away from our personal ambitions, and turn our future over to Him. He desires our best and knows what that is. Once He is given control, He leads us into a life that is pleasing to Him and this is where we find true fulfillment, joy and peace. God’s Word becomes our basic training manual. Much like the retraining of the mind in a military boot-camp, we choose to enlist in a training program that will cause us to think according to God’s principles. The military teaches its recruits how to serve for the purpose of war or peace-keeping; in similar fashion we who belong to God’s kingdom are taught how to love and protect whether we are in the midst of difficulty or not. We are here to in order to promote God’s agenda and purpose in our world (Matthew 5:43-44).

book-1209805__480Many of us have given ourselves to much learning in various areas of life, yet so few give the necessary time and interest to learning theology and allowing God’s Word to retrain our thoughts. Yet this is what leads us down the road to sanctification and satisfaction in life.

The Word of God tells us that it alone can reveal our true problems and teach us what to do in response to them. “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ASV)  It is only after we are able to see our intents for what they are, that we can choose to deal with them. Until then we are blinded and our own desires deceive us. We need the power of God’s words to change us. By the new birth experience, receiving the Holy Spirit to take up residence inside of us, we gain the ability to live for God. We then are able to put off the natural man, our old nature, and put on the new thoughts, words and actions of Christ. Once we experience this transformation we truly become new creations.

My Way vs. God’s Glory

Now back to the exercise. Any one who completes the written exercise I mentioned earlier should come to the conclusion that our self-life is the core issue to be dealt with. This diary of events helps us see that when we face frustration, it’s often because we want things to go our way, we want to receive the praise, status and comforts we feel we deserve.

Under the curse of sin, we are all born destined for destruction and eternal hell apart from God’s redemptive answer. Understanding this is crucial to living a life of peace with God and in freedom to glorify Him in all we do. Apart from this mindset, we will believe we deserve to be glorified, praised and exalted. We will come up short when it comes to happiness because it will be based upon the praise of people, rather than the satisfaction of knowing we are living for God. Unless Jesus Christ becomes King of our heart, idols will take their natural place leading us to self-destruction.

person-371015__480Victory lies in Glorifying God

When we remember Christ’s resurrection over death, hell, and the grave, let’s consider why He suffered and died. He came to give us abundant life in Him and defeat the enemy of our soul (John 10:10). He came to give us power, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, to overcome sin and ourselves! He was raised to life again and lives to intercede for us in order to gain success in freedom-living. Let us choose to surrender completely to His will and glorify God in our bodies. The choice is ours.

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What is Biblical Counseling?

Biblical Counseling is using God’s Word (the Bible) as the foundational manual from which to answer every question and concern in a Christian’s life. It is discipleship and the process of growing in wisdom, understanding and application of the Word of God to our life. Whatever our situation is, God has provided an answer and remedy for us.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (II Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

Our knowledge of God and man comes directly from His Word and when we allow the Holy Spirit to indwell us, He gives us the power to become partakers of God’s nature over our sinful nature. As Christ pleased the Father, we may also as we desire to glorify mind-2197437__480God through our lives. In order to do this, we need to change our thoughts that are contrary to God’s Word. He helps us with this. God’s Word is capable of restructuring our thought patterns as we choose to renew our minds daily, desire to have the mind of Christ and walk in obedience to His teachings.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:2 ESV)

Put off  your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:23 ESV).

This means our thinking will change and become pleasing to God in accordance with His desires for us. He always has our best interests in mind and as we submit ourselves to His instruction a beautiful transformation occurs. This is where a biblical counselor is helpful in this process providing assignments that will help someone think in a healthy God-ordained way. The result we want to achieve is to THINK – DO – FEEL, in that order.

The process of change in us is made possible by Christ’s sacrifice for sin, the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word at work in our hearts. The threefold process is: we discard old patterns of ungodly behavior, reconstruct our thinking based upon God’s Word, and adopt new patterns of godly behavior.[1]


In summary, biblical counselors work with people to apply God’s Word as the solution to man’s fallen condition (Genesis 3). Our Creator knows us inside and out and offers us hope in any situation.

Credit: Much of the information I am sharing here comes from my studies in the book: [1] Curing the Heart by Howard Eyrich and William Hines 2002.

Resources: Insightful Testimony (11 min.) by Heath Lambert of childhood abuse he suffered and God’s redemptive work in his life; Heath is the Director of ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). Discussion on “Differences and Overlap of Biblical Counseling and Clinical Therapy” (80 min.) by Heath Lambert.

For additional Resources Tab here

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