Some teachings we’ve received in the church are hurting us.
Maybe you grew up in one of those churches that told you if you had enough faith, you wouldn’t be depressed.
“I’m too blessed to be stressed!”
Or maybe you heard that we shouldn't grieve when our loved ones pass away because they have gone home to be with the Lord.
You know…”Don’t be sad; heaven got another angel today.”
Beloved, that advice is killing you, and this is why we have far too many people walking around the church on Sundays, wearing fake smiles on their faces when their world is crumbling inside.
The days of over spiritualizing our pain away are OVER!
Because when we try to use our faith to minimize or suppress our pain, it stifles our ability to heal.
There is a term, used by members of the mental health field, called spiritual bypassing.
Spiritual bypassing occurs when someone utilizes religion or spirituality to minimize what is truly happening in their reality.
In other words, we hide our true feelings behind our spiritual persona. There is no room for us to be honest with our emotions. Instead, we gloss over them so we don’t have to deal with how a situation truly affects us.
Religious platitudes such as, “Everything happens for a reason” or “God doesn’t give you more than you can bear” can fall into this category if said to dismiss or ignore the pain we are experiencing.
When we use our faith to suppress an honest, God-given emotion, it is no longer life-giving. It becomes toxic and can cause us to become stuck in our healing process.
Whenever we suppress, ignore, or minimalize our pain, we deny ourselves the opportunity to receive the emotional, spiritual, or physical care we need.
Think back to when you were a kid, playing around with your friends.
I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of falls, bumps, and bruises from playing rough in the sandbox.
The typical response for a child who gets hurt is to cry and go to the nearest adult to receive appropriate first aid. And depending on how severe the injury is, the adult might rush the child to the emergency room.
We learn at an early age that it’s essential to care for physical wounds properly, but why don’t we give that same attention and care to our emotional wounds?
Well, I would wager that many of us never learned how to deal with our emotional pain in a healthy way.
Take yourself, for example. When you experience an emotional wound, do you…
Run from it like the runaway bride?
Make a joke of the situation like you're the next Eddie Murphy?
Put on your superhero cape so that everyone can see how strong you are?
Max out your credit cards on an unexpected shopping spree, or find an alternative way to self-medicate by drinking an entire bottle of wine or a tub of ice cream by yourself.
These are just a few examples of how many of us have mastered the art of avoiding our pain. But none of these acts will make our sorrows disappear, and if we continue down this path, our unresolved wounds will bleed into every other area of our lives.
Just like a physical wound, untreated emotional wounds can become infected. Negatively “infecting” our relationships with others, self, and even God. Additionally, unresolved pain can impact our health, causing issues with sleep, digestive system, and blood pressure, and can lead to other chronic illnesses.
Dr. Shaniqua Jones, a guest on my podcast, said “there is room for you to lay at the altar on Sundays and sit on someone’s couch for counseling the next morning.”
We have to learn that there is space for both, and we cannot allow others (or even ourselves) to use our faith as an excuse for not dealing with our pain.
Our invisible wounds are costly, and we can no longer afford to let them steal our health, peace, and joy. We have to face the pain so we can heal.
If you are looking for Christian Counselor, we would be honored to walk alongside you on your healing journey, contact us today. Learn more by visiting faithonthejourney.org/counselor.