A big part of my healing journey began with copious amounts of writing, during that time when God called me into a place of Shabbat (ceasing, stillness and rest) it provided me with the opportunity to reflect, process and move forwards. It was this writing and the truths that YHWH revealed to me during this time which enabled me begin to let go of toxicity and darkness within to create space for healing and flourishing. You might hear me use these words often “create space” and there is a personal and Biblical reason why I say this instead of saying “heal” I guess in a way it’s similar to saying manifest.
Anyway, so I started to write a lot and after a while decided to put what I was writing out there into the world, to speak to someone who needed to hear the words that I was saying. And truth be told God has used these words to bless not just others but me too, so I decided to revisit and update them where necessary here. So today I start off with a glimpse into my journey.
Heal me, Oh YAH, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.
Jeremiah 17: 14
In 2008, I developed an illness that was a result of an accumulation of various stressors in my life. A year later YHWH led me to leave my job as a teacher, during that time and until now YHWH (the Lord) has been teaching me how to create a balance in my life that will enable me to live the life He created me to live, a life of Biblical abundance.
If you’re here, then you probably know how dark, terrifying and lonely it can be too live with a chronic illness. Keeping a diary has meant that I can look back at who I was and where I started from, here’s something I wrote early on in my healing journey.
The best place for me is a dark corner, like where wounded animals go to lick their wounds. In fact my biggest wound is the pain in my heart and soul – this existence hurts me and I have no one to share my pain or burdens with.
Just thinking of being hurts me; I guess that’s why I like quiet and solitude.
Denial is paradise and ignorance is bliss.
God, is this the way that life is supposed to be, the juxtaposition of beauty and pain, of hope and imprisonment?
You tell me how I’m supposed to let go, because I cannot see a way to let go.
The trees do so well against the arising of man, they grow in such adverse conditions and give and support life for so many, I wish I knew this strength and fortitude, I wish that I could know such beauty and power, am I not a part of your creation?
I cannot stand firm, I have no roots.
It is done – so few words but so many implications.
As I’m in the process of creating my new group programme, I’m going back over literature and listening to experts in their field and everything points back to one major culprit, stress. If you didn’t know this, it should be the foundation to your healing journey because research indicates that stress accounts for up to 90% of all human illness ranging from headaches to cancer.
What is stress, and why does it have such a huge impact on our well-being?
One definition of stress is:
“The experience of perceived threat (real or imagined) to one’s mental, physical or spiritual wellbeing, resulting from a series of physiological responses and adaptations.” (Seaward, 2006)
We can visualise this definition in the following way:
A stimulus is something in the environment with the ability to cause us to become stressed, these are called potential stressors. Perception relates to how we think about and evaluate the stressor for example whether we see the stressor as a threat to our well-being, and the response we experience is the result of our evaluation.
The reason why I like this definition is that it takes into consideration 3 aspects of stress:
- Stress occurs as a result of perception of a threat; if you don’t evaluate the stressor as being threatening to your well-being then it has no power to cause you to experience stress.
- Stress is a physiological response to the perceived threat, meaning it causes physical changes in our body e.g. sweating, increased heart rate and blood pressure in the first instance and lowered immune system and heart disease amongst other conditions if the stress is enduring.
- Stress also has negative effects on our soul (thoughts and emotions) and spirit.
We each have different things which cause us to become and feel stressed, a stressor can be anything from the mundane such as having to take a new route to work to something much more unpleasant such as hearing bad news. In my next post I’ll share some of the things I learnt about myself but today, what I want you to know is that each stimulus will result in a perception: positive, neutral or negative in relation to how much of a threat we believe it is to our well-being. The more of a threat we believe it is to us the more powerful the effect it will have on us. Our response to the stimulus is a direct result of our perception; these include voluntary reactions and planned behaviours such as our coping strategies but also involuntary actions and responses which go on inside of our mind, body and spirit.
There are so many things which influence our experience of stress, and if I bring it back to me for a moment I have seen that by God just working on this single aspect of me I was able to shift from a person who prayed for death because the symptoms I was experiencing were so horrific and yes traumatic to someone who could be operate at between 70-90% of normal even having a really fantastic 100% day without any medical treatment, friend and family support or even church support. God used this method of psycho-spiritual therapy on me first so that I could see and believe that it works enough for me to teach this to others.
In essence it’s not anything new or groundbreaking, yet it is. Even though experts have been saying the same thing for decades and possibly even hundreds of years, as people have become more disconnected from God, creation and self it has either become too airy-fairy, new agey or unscientific for our modern world. This knowledge just seems plain foolish to the world we live in. Sometimes I even find myself questioning it, it’s just so simple but then I remember my testimony, the testimonies of people I have helped and the testimonies of others throughout the world who when they made these changes saw miraculous recoveries in their health.
From a faith perspective I think the Christian community struggles a lot with these concepts simply because Believers have been Christianised over time, meaning that Christianity although having it’s roots in the East is a Western religion! The truth is that YHWH isn’t calling Christians to Him, He is calling those who will worship and walk with Him in Spirit and Truth, to break free of the shackles that have defined us and be fully free in Christ.