“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (Peterson)
What does getting help look like? How can we have true and lasting change, healing and growth?
1. The first step to getting help is actually realizing that you need and truly desire help.
It’s nearly impossible to receive help, or help someone who doesn’t recognize their need for, and truly want, help.
I was completely at the end of my rope when I first stepped foot into that counselor’s office over 15 years ago. I wasn’t just open to receiving help, I was desperate. There was no way that I could keep holding this deep dark secret in any longer. It was eating away at my soul and the very core of my being.
You can read how Alisha pursued help during a very desperate time and saw her marriage restored!
2. The second step is transparency.
Transparency is key to the change process when either receiving or offering help. There’s no better weapon against isolation, guilt, and shame than being completely vulnerable and honest with someone you trust.
I often felt like a fraud when I was among friends and the secret was becoming unbearable. When I finally found someone (the counselor) to open up to, it was liberating. (Here’s how to choose a counselor.) Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely nervous and it took a while for me to open up. But once I began speaking, I couldn’t stop. Everything that I had been holding in for years was finally flooding out. My counselor was very wise and simply listened and nodded his head often to assure me that he cared enough to hear what I was sharing. Nothing seemed to surprise him and the feelings of being a freak, or like no one would ever understand, began to disappear. He asked me who else I had shared these things with and recommended that I consider reaching out to other trusted people in my church. Normally, I would have laughed and refused this challenge. But, I embraced the opportunity for further freedom. I actually found the more I shared (with discernment) with close friends and respected godly men in my church, the less shame I felt and the more freedom I began to experience.
3. The third step is a life-long commitment to the process of change and growth.
That’s right. Getting help really isn’t a “1,2,3 step” process. There’s really no easy formula to follow and there’s lots of ups and downs. Just as we are all uniquely created, everyone’s growth process is truly unique and only God’s timing is perfect. When we question why He isn’t taking this thorn away, He gently reminds us that that’s not supposed to be the point, goal, or even the required evidence of change. Growing and changing is rejoicing in those multiple daily victories of taking our thoughts captive and exchanging our desires, plans, and purposes for His.
For years I begged God for freedom. One night I believe He answered that desperate prayer when He lovingly reminded me that I’ve already been given freedom through His Son’s death on the Cross. I also have the same power that raised Christ from the dead to choose to daily walk in that freedom. As long as I live I will continue to choose righteousness as the Lord calls me to participate in my own change and growth process.
4. Lastly, give back.
When we share our stories, others find hope. It’s always encouraging to meet someone who has been there, done that, and is now on the other side of taking the first step. (Jessica’s story, How Three Minutes has Changed My Life, has already affected thousands.)
I’ve found continued encouragement in sharing my story and experience with others who find themselves where I once was. With each person that I get the opportunity to share my story with and offer advice to, I’m actually encouraged in return. I leave every meeting thankful and strengthened by the reminder of how far the Lord has graciously brought me. I’m not the same person that I used to be – and, boy, am I grateful! I am certainly thankful for all that I’ve learned and how I’ve matured through this lifelong process of changing and growing in Christ.
What’s holding you back from reaching out for help? We’d love to hear from you – click to email us here.