By Stacey Tolbert
Anger, hatred, sadness, fear…have these debilitating emotions ever stopped you in your tracks and kept you from the life to which God called you? Do you ever wish there was a way to wade through the muck of unhealed pain and get to the refreshing place of wholeness and peace you were meant to experience? You can experience inner healing by turning pain into peace.
Pain Leads to Patterns
As an introvert, the quiet one in my household of five growing up, I often felt overlooked and ignored because I lacked the confidence to make my thoughts or opinions heard. These feelings of insecurity carried over into school. I was terrified to raise my hand to answer a teacher’s question. I was panic-stricken, shaking uncontrollably when asked to speak in front of a class or crowd. “I am not valuable” is the lie I heard and believed.
Throughout my teenage and high school years, I continued to believe the lie that my opinions were not valuable. Looking back, I realize others were not intentionally trying to hurt me. But because I am a deep feeler who valued several close friendships, I have extremely high expectations in relationships. When others didn’t relate to me in the way that made me feel valued, I felt it meant I was truly not valuable.
The pain you experience may often cause you to believe lies about yourself. These lies lead you to erect fences around your heart out of fear of being hurt by others, including your spouse. I believe there are steps you can take to extract the thorns of deceit around your heart and replace them with confident trust, contributing to healthier relationships.
Steps to Turn Pain into Peace
Ezekiel 36:26 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” (NLT)
In order to receive love and allow your heart to respond tenderly, you need to ask God to remove your stony heart or the pebbles that reside there. Pebbles of criticism, rejection, neglect, accusation, or humiliation. As you allow God to remove the stones, the soil of your heart will become prepared for love and security to flourish there. How do you do this? Here are three ways:
1) Identify and confess the lies you have been believing.
These lies have most likely come from hurt. But when you allow others’ views of you to be more important than how God sees you, they become sin. Confess how you have chosen to believe these lies instead of the truth God says about you.
2) Replace the lies with truth.
For each lie you have been believing, God has truth in his word that can replace the impact of negative thinking. For example, believing I am not valuable is a LIE, God’s TRUTH in Deuteronomy 7:6 says, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” (NLT) You can tell yourself, “God says I am valuable and treasured.”
3) Repeat this process whenever you are tempted to believe the lie again.
Identify and confess the lie, replace it with God’s truth in his word, then pray and ask God to help you believe the truth.
God’s Love Will Help You Find Peace
God uses your relationships to reveal sin and refine your character. He wants more for you. He wants you to experience the joy of a relationship that reflects his unconditional love, learn to confront hurtful situations, and to forgive and choose to love.
God demonstrated the most loving act on the cross, forgiving you and embracing you with his love. By letting go of unhealthy patterns of belief about yourself and choosing to believe his truth, you will find healing and peace, resulting in healthier relationships that more closely resemble God’s love for you.
Wife Step: Write down a lie you are believing – what is stopping you from being content, or what might be keeping you from becoming who you want to be? Find a Bible verse that speaks God’s truth over this lie, pray about this truth and ask God to help you believe it.
Stacey Tolbert is a writer, Director of Engagement, and women’s ministry leader at the church her husband pastors in Northwest Ohio. Stacey and her husband have been serving in ministry together for over 20 years. Stacey has journeyed from college ministry to being a stay-at-home mom to their four children, to full-time teaching, and finally following the call to share her gifts through writing and ministry. Her heart is to help women discover their greatest potential, as they learn to embrace their God-given gifts, both in marriage and in life.