Over the past few weeks, I've been talking about how the Holy Spirit has led me to go through yet another round of Finding Healing in my life. At this point, the next question you may ask is, "What should I do if I want to start overcoming similar things in my life?"
My first thought would be to read my book, Finding Healing. No, this isn't so that I can sell books. It's because the second half of that book thoroughly lays out the Biblical principles for finding healing and overcoming the issues in your heart. In Finding Healing, I don't generalize—I go step by step into what to do and even how you'll feel going through it. Honestly, it's worth the read.
In the meantime, I'll share the steps I took while going through this round overcoming issues in my life.
1. I had to face the truth.
Sometimes, facing the truth is easy. It's right there in black and white—no room for debate and denial.
Other times, when the Holy Spirit starts to point out truth or bring up memories, the first thing you want to do is say, "No, that can't be true. Not me!!"
It's a normal reaction. I've been there several times throughout this process. Then, as the Holy Spirit kept bringing back memories and helping me see the truth, it began to sink in, "Oh my word, this is true."
Here's the thing: plenty of people have chosen to stay in denial when the Holy Spirit wanted to work on their hearts. To this day, my Dad denies almost everything about our lives and has returned to a false reality where he's very comfortable. It's not unusual.
However, if you make this choice, you will never find the freedom that God has for you. You'll constantly live under the lies, the abuse, and the bondage that is holding you captive.
One of the best things I learned from my Mom was that when the Holy Spirit offers freedom, do whatever is necessary to get it.
Even if it hurts, even when it's hard, you need to step beyond denial and face the truth.
2. Spend Time with Jesus
The best way to start this process is through prayer. After all, God already knows, so He won't be shocked. Talking to Him about your issues will help you release your pain and heartache.
Remember: this isn't the time to pray for everyone on your prayer list, intercede for lost loved ones, pray for every missionary who came to your church, or every person with a physical need. Those are prayers of intercession.
Instead, this is a time when you simply pour out your heart to Jesus, saying, "This is what hurts, this is what I feel, these are my memories, can You help me overcome and find healing?"
Journaling is one of the best ways to discover what is inside your heart and mind. The great thing about journaling is that you can say ANYTHING. You can write down how much you hate a person or situation, how horrible you think they are, how wrong they treated you, and how you wish bad things would happen to them while you watched (okay, that's a bit too honest). You can say whatever. You can get out every single emotion you have and then destroy it. Burn it or shred it because you don't need it around.
Still, it's out of you and not acting like a pointing in your heart and mind anymore.
I can't tell you how many journals I've filled with genuine feelings that I needed to release from my heart and mind, be honest with myself and God, repent of my feelings, and move on and go forward in health. Journaling works!
I am a big believer that we need to get things out in the open. We need to talk about the things that bother us so that they don't always keep us bound inside.
Of course, it's important that you talk to a Christian—but not just any Christian—someone you can trust. Maybe talk to your pastor, a pastor's wife, or a godly woman you can trust and open your heart up to about what's happening in your life.
At first, while going through this process, I just talked to Jamie and my friend who works in counseling. However, one of the final steps of my healing was talking to a few friends whom I really love and trust. Sharing my testimony with them helped the wounds in my heart heal. It created callouses and enabled me to heal faster and walk in freedom.
Many times, when we are going through a time of inner healing, it's necessary to go to a Bible-believing, Spirit-filled counselor to help us through the process. A good counselor will help you see things you can't see and point you in the right direction when you don't know where to turn.
Counseling is an investment in yourself. It's always worth the time and money.
So, yes, I know, when your hurt is in pain and you are working through trauma, "forgiveness" can sound like a dirty word. However, it is a necessary part of the healing process.
The truth is that someone dumped garbage all over you. It wasn't your fault, and they had no right to do it. However, now the choice rests with you—will you live covered in the garbage or shake off the trash, take a bath, and move on?
Straight truth: Forgiveness is now you shake off the garbage.
It's how you choose to let the other person to God and move on with your life.
Every process of overcoming issues in your life will involve choosing to forgive those who hurt you, yourself, and even God for letting it happen to you.
No, it isn't easy. But it is absolutely necessary.
7. Searching the Bible for Answers
So often, the pain and trauma we endure is surrounded and supported by lies. The Bible helps us separate lies from truth and learn how to walk in truth.
As I was going through the process of finding healing from the false teachings my parents were taught when I was a child, one of the most shocking things to me was that much of what we were taught was God's Ways weren't even in the Bible.
They were man-man, twisted distortions of Scripture or just some guy's idea that sounded good.
Throughout this process, the Holy Spirit has used Scripture to help me separate lies from truth and see that God's ways are always for our good.
That's why we must soak in Scripture —so the Holy Spirit can use God's Word to heal our hearts and give us God's direction.
8. Taking Steps to Freedom
One of the most critical steps to overcoming our issues is making conscious choices to stop living in our old ways and take steps to live in freedom. I know this is challenging. Still, it was something we must do.
This has been a big part of my life.
For instance, remember how I said that one of the things that brought me out of denial was when my advisors told me to do something good, but it went against the false teaching my parents believed?
It wasn't enough that I realized they were right and the false teachers were wrong.
No, healing came as I stopped panicking, followed through, and did what they told me to do.
I could tell you so many stories like this if I had time. However, it is all summed up by this Scripture:
"But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." (James 1:22-25, NLT)
Like I said in the beginning, this is just a summary of the steps I took to find healing in my life. I've spelled out each of these steps and more in detail in my book, "Finding Healing."
As one who has walked this path, I can guarantee these steps will help you find healing and freedom.
You don't have to live in pain—you can experience the abundant life God has for you. I hope you'll use these steps to experience healing and freedom for yourself.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."