In Part 1, we looked at the importance of holding onto God’s Hand as we walk through the process of healing from a painful past. Here, we’ll look at the importance of a renewed mind in this process. Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Heart/Soul/Mind: We are told to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. So how does someone love God with their mind? How is it possible? We are told in scripture by Jesus himself to do this; and this is how we find the abundant life He offers us (Matt. 22:37).
Our Past: When we suffer from a painful past, something negative has occurred and we find ourselves circling back to that event (consciously or not) because it has lodged within us. Of course, everyone’s past contains both good and bad memories. For some, the bad causes fear, anxiety and often changes the way we interact with others. Can these instances that have harmed us be used somehow by God as a useful tool? Indeed, there are examples in scripture that indicate this. Joseph is a good example of someone who suffered much and was used by God because of his obedience. He delivered his family from starvation, while also teaching them what forgiveness looks like (Read Genesis Chapters 37-50). You too can be used by God as a result of your painful past.
Step 1: Brain Cleansing
In order to overcome our “triggers” and turn them around on our enemy to be used for God’s glory instead, we must renew our mind so that we can think rightly and then act accordingly. His powerful Word is what accomplishes this for us. Perhaps you’ve tried reading it before and you cannot lay hold of what I’m saying or even believe it contains the power to transform your mind. Please believe me, it does, and you will need to explore for this yourself — ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and He will. The more you douse your mind in the inspired Word of God, the more you will think according to your Creator’s design for you. That is when miracles happen! I am a living testimony to the transformative power of God’s Word to do this.
In order for us to rebuild, we need the Holy Spirit to cleanse and refresh our minds, as well as our bodies that have been affected by the constant chemical dumps from stress. Neurologically we need renewal, a shift in the pathway that our brain has been following. Through the hormones and chemicals in our brains, we have laid down some counter-productive ways of dealing with life and we need to lay a new path. You already know this, so now begin to take action to change your brain.
Here are some helpful scriptures on renewing your mind: Luke 12:29-31, Romans 7:21-25, Ephesians 4:22-24, Proverbs 16:3. Journaling scripture and your thoughts help as well.
Step 2: Antidote for Anxiety
Have you suffered from a traumatic event, years of oppression, abuse, manipulation, or something significant that has altered your view of yourself in an unhealthy way? Do you find you become like jelly when you need to express yourself, rather than being able to say what you really feel? Perhaps when you attempt to talk with a person associated with the pain all that comes out is frustration and anger? There’s help for you. It can be difficult to step back and see these behaviors for what they are. Depending on what has occurred and for how long, the fear factor can be overwhelming; trusting again can feel impossible. Many fall into sinful lifestyles after these events, not because they want to, but because they feel incapable of overcoming these feelings.
If you have not truly experienced salvation through Jesus Christ, then this is the beginning of your journey to freedom. Next, renewing your mind in God’s Word daily and obeying what it says, is how you gain the Holy Spirit’s authority and power within. You are no longer simply a human being living your life alone, vulnerable in this world, rather through redemption, you are transformed into a Child of God. You receive family benefits (and a powerful elder Brother named Jesus) from this transaction, but you must learn how to lay hold of these gifts. They are there for you, and you need to realize that and appropriate them.
Look up these scriptures on fear and apply them to your life – they are part of the family benefit package: 2Timothy 1:7, Hebrews 12:28 & 13:6, 2Peter 1:3-4, 1John 4:18-21, Psalm 56:10-13 (the Psalms are filled with passages about not fearing people). These are just a few samples, there are many more. Advance your mission and search!
Step 3: Remove Double-mindedness
I am thankful that people cared and reached out to help me during my early days of recovery and much double-mindedness! They carefully walked me out of the prison cell I was living in. It did not happen overnight and God led me to various people who helped. The trauma was deep and there were layers of conditioning and painful places that needed to be dealt with. I was very fearful and filled with anxiety about many things. This fear manifested in pride and an overly self-protective attitude and left me in a very double-minded condition emotionally.
One example of fear I experienced early was going through the process of counseling with a couple who were trying to help me. Their focus was marriage counseling in order to work toward reconciliation. I later realized that this situation was premature and in my thinking I was being asked to trust an untrustworthy person. I felt vulnerable and was constantly battling between my position in-Christ as His child and submission to this person who had dealt treacherously with me. I realized later that sin needed to be brought into the light, acknowledgment of the secrets involved was needed (confession), and a reasonable determination if true repentance occurred was needed. With out exploring if godly sorrow (2Cor. 7:9-11) over one’s sin was occurring vs. the sorrow of the world (ie: getting caught), it is not possible to move forward. While going through this experience it seemed impossible to look beyond the person to God because everything remained shrouded in deception and I was stuck there.
If you have been harmed in an ongoing way by someone in habitual sin, the deception and manipulation are very damaging and learning to trust again can be difficult. A counselor who is nouthetic (willing to confront sin) is needful. Covering over sin is never going to produce a good outcome.
In order for you to get a sure footing and move forward, you must know where you are heading, why, and how to get there.
I recently visited West Point Military Academy with a couple of young friends and learned how it is designed to train a cadet to overcome their fears – how parallel this is! If you do not enroll, engage, and strip yourself of doubt and unbelief as to the mission before you, you will not make it. The battle is in one’s mind. If you are going to become free from your painful past, you must decide and act. If you have a divided heart — going back and forth between your feelings and what God says, you will fail. Jesus said in Luke 11:7 that a Kingdom or house (heart) that is divided (vacillating or double-minded), will not stand. So in order to succeed in your endeavor to become free, you must gain a single-minded heart. Helpful scriptures are Luke 5:22, Hebrews 4:12, and James 1:8.
PRAY: Talk to your Father in Heaven as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-13. You may find reading these few verses with a surrendered heart can ignite your mind into greater vision! Think about what Jesus is saying here:
1. You have a Holy and loving Father (that is established throughout scripture).
2. As you surrender to God’s will, He performs it through you (an opportunity to glorify Him).
3. He gives daily to those who ask Him (seek Him).
4. He forgives all your sins, and we are to do the same to those who have harmed us (yes, it’s a process).
5. Evil is all around, ask Him to deliver you from it and recognize that living in His Kingdom enables you to lay hold of His power and live for His glory (there’s no better way to live).
Victory and freedom boil down to your commitment to wanting to experience healing from your past. It takes singleness of mind and heart to do so.
Scripture Study: I encourage you to daily have a physical Bible that you can write and highlight in. There are also useful on-line helps to do word studies: A simple way is through: biblegateway.com A more detailed way (including Hebrew and Greek) is through blueletterbible.com, they also offer Bible Study courses.
If you find it difficult to study on your own then I suggest asking a godly mentor or biblical counselor to walk the path with you. If you do not have someone you know that can help, pray, ask around, and commit to the journey — you will not regret it. Our teacher and comforter, the Holy Spirit, miraculously takes the inspired words of God and transforms our minds (hearts) through the process of reading, hearing and apply His Word. I can tell you that there is no greater power to transform and lift a heart from pain to promise than the powerful Word of God. He has miraculously transformed my mind and does so daily. Hallelujah!
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Relates Part 1 and Forgive & Live! Part 3