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Authentic Healing

Insights from The Weekly REBOOT

By: Evan Owens

Healing is a term we frequently use in REBOOT groups. We discuss recognizing the need to heal, finding the humility necessary to ask others for help, and taking the intentional steps required to heal. Healing is our goal—the primary reason REBOOT exists—to facilitate genuine healing for you and your loved ones. But healing isn’t just important to us; it’s important to God. 

Did you know that healing is mentioned in the Bible 139 times? One-fifth of Jesus’s ministry on Earth was spent healing people physically and spiritually. The name Jehovah-Rophe, a name of God, literally means “The Lord is my Healer” and is found more than sixty times in the Old Testament, starting in Exodus 15.

So, healing isn’t just something that God does; it’s who He is. Healing is woven into the very fabric of Scripture. We believe He healed in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and continues to do so today—because we’ve seen it.

I have witnessed even the most angry, suicidal, depressed individuals rejoice before my eyes as the Lord delivered them from the bondage of trauma. I’ve seen marriages torn apart by betrayal find wholeness as they embraced the healing God had for them. And I’ve seen tumors on a person’s neck disappear before my eyes—something that still challenges my faith to this day.

God is a healer.

Throughout history, there has been much confusion about healing from God. I don’t want us to be confused; I want us to have clarity about the concept of authentic healing.

Notice that I emphasize “authentic healing.” We’re now in the third part of our series on authenticity. In the first two weeks, we discussed living authentically—embracing our true selves and resisting the urge to present a healthier image than reality. Today, let’s expand on this by exploring the essential components of authentic healing.

What does it mean to be authentically healed?

What do you think? How would you describe authentic healing? What are the defining attributes of true healing?

In the past ten years, sitting in REBOOT groups, I’ve encountered a range of responses to this question—many good ones. However, there are also those that sound correct but are actually off the mark. So, for the rest of our time together, I’d like to dig into some common myths about healing from trauma. Hopefully, by debunking them, we can arrive at a clearer understanding of what authentic healing truly entails.

1. Here’s the first one:

God wants us to be broken.

No one actually says this one out loud, but it underpins a large portion of errant Christian theology floating around today. There is a line of thought that says for God to use us, we must be broken. Almost all Christian worship songs on the radio center around overcoming some period of hardship or brokenness in our lives.

And certainly, there is a breaking of the outer shell required for us to allow the Spirit of the Lord to enter. This is the essence of what happens when we realize our powerlessness to defeat sin. This breaking happens when we let the Lord get in the driver’s seat of our lives and relinquish control. It is the spiritual act of surrender—and it is a process that we must continually repeat—a daily, ongoing surrender.

However, surrender isn’t the same as brokenness. God’s will for us is not that we are broken. Nor is it that we are self-sufficient. Rather, it is that we are content.

This word, content, is one we don’t use much in our society today, and it shows. Contentment is an inner sense of peace that comes from being right with God and knowing that He is in control of all that happens to us. This means that amidst the highs and lows of the healing journey, we miraculously remain at peace.

And if you’ve been on this healing journey for any time at all, you know that it is rife with setbacks and unforeseen challenges. Some days you’ll wake up, and a new symptom will emerge; other days you’ll wake up and simply not feel like getting out of bed. Then again, there will be days you’ll wake up full of hope, feeling stronger and more optimistic than you may have in months. These are the mountains and valleys of the healing journey.

And through them, we have a choice to be content or to ride the highs and lows. Paul, the Apostle, speaks of this exact topic in Philippians 4, verses 12-13 where he says,

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

There it is—the secret. But what secret? What is it that Paul has discovered?

He has learned that even on days when he is powerless, God is powerful.

In other words, Paul is quick to take a knee and turn to the ultimate healer. He doesn’t have to be broken to bow his head

Surrender is a choice. Brokenness isn’t.

Authentic healing is marked by surrender.

Surrender is a choice that knows God is good, no matter the highs or lows.

That’s the secret of contentment. And I assure you, it is a far easier path than walking up the mountains and down the valleys.

God’s desire for you isn’t that you remain broken but that you remain surrendered to Him. Because a broken person is limited. They will be unable to change the world because they will be consumed by their mountains and valleys. Yet, a surrendered person will be content and thus able to help others who find themselves lost in the valley.

Have you ever believed in this first myth that says God wants you to be broken? If so, how does this teaching change your thinking?

2. Here’s myth number two:

Self-care is the best care.

We live in the age of wellness marketing. Shelves are packed with items promising more peace, more joy, more freedom, more wealth, and more health. Ironically, if they all worked as well as they claim, none of us would be aging or have any stress in life! We would all just be totally healthy, successful, and relaxed. Actually, that doesn’t sound bad at all!

Among this relentless push of wellness products is a phrase that a decade ago, none of us had thought of or spoken – self-care.

Now, I get the idea that we need to take care of ourselves. You won’t get any argument from me on this. However, I have found, even in my own life, that self-care has become a lot of work. Somehow, the thing that is supposed to bring me more peace causes me more stress. I worry that I’m not resting well enough or working out often enough or setting clear enough boundaries or… you fill in the blank.

I have found diminished returns on self-care. While it has certainly helped, I have found that at some point, I am unable to care for myself well enough to satisfy.

The risk of self-care is that it can morph into self-reliance.

If I’m not careful, I can start to believe that I am enough to care for myself. Yet, when I do, I end up unfulfilled. That’s because the best care isn’t self-care; it is community care. The old adage that it “takes a village” is true.

Authentic healing is marked by participation in an authentic community.

It is in this context that we find the diverse resources, experiences, and wisdom to maintain healing. I can’t tell you the number of times I have called on my brain trust, my community, for advice on how to manage a challenging situation in my life. Time and time again, they care for me in a way that is honestly better than I would have cared for myself.

Can you think of any time that community care outperformed your efforts at self-care?

3. Here’s myth number three:

Your symptoms will go away as you heal.

In the medical sense, this statement may be true. That’s because they are graded and judged by the removal of symptoms from the body. A doctor or surgeon wouldn’t be a very good doctor or surgeon if they had a fuzzy or flexible definition of healing. We wouldn’t appreciate it much if they said, “I fixed your broken arm. You won’t be able to move it or feel it anymore because I cut it off, but technically, it is healed.”

None of us would be ok with that.

But in the spiritual sense, healing isn’t always accompanied by a reduction in symptoms. Symptoms come and go. They are made better or worse by a wide variety of factors, including sleep, diet, stress level, and even the time of year.

Therefore, when we tie our definition of healing to the presence or absence of a symptom, I fear that we often set ourselves up for disappointment. There are too many good and bad days. Our symptoms are too fickle and unpredictable to use as a measuring stick.

Authentic healing isn’t measured by the presence or absence of symptoms.

Authentic healing is measured and marked by our response to them.

A healed person will recognize that symptoms aren’t indicative of God’s presence or absence in their situation. A healed person will recognize that even while their outer man may be failing them, their inward man is being renewed day by day. A healed person is in the arena, fighting for their life, recognizing that their battle isn’t just for their benefit alone, but for all of those who are watching them fight and learning how they will fight their own battles.

I know that some of you are fighting in a battle right now that you feel like you are losing. But authentic healing, truly authentic miraculous healing doesn’t always look like you might think.

Think about it – as Jesus suffered on the cross, God was doing his greatest miracle. He was changing the course of human history.

Some of you are changing the course of your family’s future.

Some of you are living, breathing, walking, and talking miracles – testimonies of God’s faithfulness. 

I speak about this subject of authentic healing because I see it in you. I see it in every REBOOT group I visit, and I assure you that it is unmistakable. It doesn’t usually come through some mountaintop moment at a retreat center or on a stage during a charismatic healing service; rather, it comes in a quiet, content, surrendered community.

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