There is a lot of buzz right now in Christian circles about the topics of mental health, PTSD, codependency, trauma, inner healing, therapy, etc. I feel like in many ways, those topics are intertwined, so it’s fitting really that so many people are beginning to talk about them all. In fact, I will likely touch some on each of these topics here in this article.
If anything the buzz of these topics was greatly compounded when notable Charismatic Christian leader Todd White spoke out on said topic. I won’t to go into a lot of detail here, but his position on inner healing, psychology, therapy, etc. was pretty much summed up as a sort of “Jesus is all we need” speech (he says much more than this, I want to be crystal clear that there is context missing in what I’m saying and this is not me giving you a detailed extensive outline of what was said). I’m not here to talk negatively about him as a person. I love that guy. I think he’s an amazing example of a modern evangelist who is doing a lot of amazing things. But I disagree with him on this, and I believe what he’s saying on this topic is dangerous, hence this article. There are, in some cases quite literally, lives on the line. I also don’t want to exaggerate or re-frame anything he’s saying, so I’ll refrain from doing so. If you really want to see the sermon/message, you can go look it up. I think it’s on all his social media platforms. I saw it shared on Facebook.
What he says in this video is not a new “hot new take” in Christian streams, especially in Charismatic/Pentecostal circles. In fact, it’s just a new spin on a very old take. I myself am a Pentecostal believer, so I am not knocking Pentecostalism, I’m pointing out a big problem we have that we should really address and correct, if we truly want to see people walking in a healthy life.
I never ventured to be an expert or extremely well researched person in the area of inner healing. Really, I didn’t. Two and a half years ago my life took a turn that put me on a course that would force me to become my own inner healing coach, along with Holy Spirit, a couple of ride or die homies that stuck it out through that mess, some counselors, a therapist, a couple of certified inner healing peeps, and yes, a psychiatrist. What set me on that course was a traumatic event that happened in 2017, but in the process of healing, much more trauma dating back to my childhood was uncovered.
If we had been having this conversation 3 years ago, I would have told you something damaging… maybe that “healing was just something you need to receive. Jesus already provided our complete healing, so we just have to receive it by faith”. What happened to change my mind was that I went through indescribable trauma, and survived through some worst nightmare kind of stuff, both in 2017 & 2018. In July of 2018 I found myself a complete emotional and mental mess….. hyperventilating, waking up not being able to breathe, not being able to eat or sleep, having panic and anxiety attacks, without a relief in sight. I had already gotten prayer, though… I had already rebuked the demons, forgave the people, renounced the things….. We shouted the magic words, “In Jesus Name be healed!”…. but yet day after day, there I was, curled into the fetal position of my closet so that my kids couldn’t hear or see me, crying until my eyes would swell almost shut.
So where do people turn to when they are in my shoes? The Church? Well with so many people who scoff at therapy or judge people who don’t “have the faith to receive their healing” is it any wonder why a someone might want to hide something like this from their fellow Christians?
When I was at my lowest point, I’m so thankful God was still with me. People left, and though I yelled and screamed at God to ask Him WHY… but God never left… And a few people who I love with all my heart never left. They put tools in my hands to begin to heal. They suggested books, talked me through panic attacks, prayed with me hundreds of times, and introduced me to inner healing tools I never even knew existed. At this point I’ve watched so many inner healing and deliverance training videos, and read so many books on codependency, inner healing, healing from trauma, etc. that I began seeing some patterns that are important for someone healing trauma.
So let’s get down to business here!
Psychology, simply put is the study of the mind and behavior. Psychology can’t be evil any more than Theology (the study of God) or Geography (the study of place, space and the environment). It can be a great tool for learning more about how God designed the human mind to work. Therapy and counseling are also both great tools for pointing you to the root of an issue (which is usually a lie). When you couple the power of Jesus to heal, with therapy and counseling, it can be an amazingly powerful combination! It’s one thing to point to a root, but of course we want to HEAL the root. Many times, in therapy, truth can be the healing balm someone needs, right there on the spot. Sometimes the root of an issue (when I say “issue”, I mean things like panic, fear, anxiety, worry, addiction, panic and the other types of things people go to therapy for) may have been a lie that became deeply imbed into someone’s thinking as a child during a particular trauma. Psychology actually confirms a lot of things from the Bible!
Science confirms that trauma causes actual brain damage. But science also confirms that the brain can HEAL. Dr. Caroline Leaf calls it “rewiring the brain”…. The Bible calls it renewing the mind. They are the same things, called by different terminology. I believe that during inner healing from trauma, a lot of “deliverance” happens inadvertently, because of the root (lies) being uprooted and the trauma healed. When it comes to deliverance, the more I learn, the more God confirms this: the enemy has no actual power of us, except in the area of lies and deception, and the only reason that has any power at all is because it utilizes the power of the believer, given to us through Christ. If the enemy can get a believer to agree with one of his lies, our agreement infuses his lies with power.
Before we go any further, I want to interject somewhat of a disclaimer: Inner healing is a broad term that encompasses many different inner healing practices such as SOZO and others. I’ll be the first to admit that there’s some strange stuff out there. Not everything labeled “inner healing” or Christian is helpful. I dug through some strange books sifting for useful tools for healing. I discarded a lot of superstition and Charismania on my search for tools to heal.
Back to talking about trauma; Any traumatic event is a perfect scenario for lies and deception to take root. Take a car wreck for example. Just a simple car wreck might be where a lie took root in that person’s belief system that says, “God’s not really protecting me. I’m not safe in a car”, even without uttering the words out loud, this belief formed with a wreck that happened 5 years ago, and then NOW every time they get on a freeway they hyperventilate and can’t figure out why. This is actually a true story for my friend, by the way. Well the hyperventilating and panic attack are manifesting because of the belief that formed during that wreck, so many years ago.
The cliché, and ever favorite Christian line “Jesus is all you need” just adds shame and further frustration for people who love Jesus with all their heart, and still suffer from things like this. That’s where inner healing comes in, and often times therapy and counseling can be extremely beneficial in healing that traumatic memory.
Inner healing from deep traumatic experiences such as rape, molestation, childhood abuse, physical violence… takes time. Because more often than not, when a trauma occurs, more than just one lie comes in, and they sort of sprawl out and take root in our belief system. A woman who was raped as a teenager might believe: I’m worthless, my value is in my body, I’m only as good as I can perform, no one will ever love me, all men are dangerous, I can never trust anyone, God doesn’t protect me….. and so on. In other instances, a person was traumatized by an event such as watching a parent physically abuse the other parent, but they don’t even know that it was abuse. They are traumatized by it, but they never considered that abuse because they thought that must be the normal way everyone else lived. They don’t even know anything needs to be healed because they may have never come to the awareness that they witnessed something traumatic. That is one thing in particular that therapy and counseling is fantastic at doing! Therapy and counseling, as I stated earlier, are fantastic at pointing at the problem. Many people desperately need this because they grew up in so much disfunction that they don’t know any better.
The process of inner healing I went through over the past 2 years was hard, not easy. I’m leery of anyone who says it’s easy. I wanted to quit and self medicate with unhealthy coping mechanisms a million times. If someone is opposed to inner healing and writes off therapy/counseling off as fake or easy, it says to me that they probably have either never experienced extreme trauma…. Or they did but they never really dealt with it… Or they’ve been stuffing things down for a really long time, avoiding dealing with it. Trust me I tried that last one and it worked for a while, but there is a reckoning day.
Codependency is a direct result of abuse and trauma being inflicted on a person. The church is great at masking codependency because a codependent can easily mask their submissive nature, their passive aggressive controlling ways, and their need to put off their own needs to take care of others as a “good Christian person”. But the truth is that they need inner healing to recover from codependency. Also, just some good biblical teaching about boundaries can be very healing for a codependent. The church is very good at churning out women codependents. A codependent appears submissive, and ready to serve others… There’s so much more than what I could type up here. I hope this sums up kind of where I stand on this topic, and sheds a little light. I don’t have it all figured out. I just know what worked for me, and what others have told me, and the product of my research. (for more info, see the recommended reading at the bottom of this article)
For anyone out there who’s sitting there like, “Oh that’s cute Amber, but where are your bible verses?”
Say no more, fam! I’ve got you!
Where there is no counsel, the people fall;
But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
I am in full understanding that the occupation of a “counselor” did not yet exist during the time that this scripture was written, but all the more should we thank God because such people do exist now.
See also: Proverbs 15:22 & Proverbs 24:6
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
A phrase I find very interesting here is “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. I believe that the process of renewing your mind can bring much inner healing because it is the process of agreeing with God, and rejecting any lies that disagree with God.
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near”.
It may not seem like a verse that fits in this conversation but did you know that the Greek root word here for REPENT is metanoia? The word Metanoia actually means to change your mind. Jesus was asking them to change the way they think. Now obviously this is not in regards to mental health, but I believe it is an important concept here.
Here’s what it boils down to guys. The Church should be a safe place of healing. Yes, I know that the Church is not a literal place. The Church is a people, and we should be the safest and most loving people there are.
What I wish the “Jesus is all you need” folks knew:
-Some of us have Jesus and we’re still struggling through some of the memories of what we’ve been through.
-Some of us have Jesus and we still wish we could stop seeing the mental images of what’s been done to us.
-When you reply “Jesus is all you need” to us, it confirms we aren’t doing enough, we aren’t good enough, that we should indeed be ashamed, and that we are the problem. These are all lies the enemy tries to tell us anyways, and when you say this to us in our pain it seems to confirm those lies.
-It makes us wonder why Jesus won’t fix us. Thoughts like, “If Jesus waved the magic fix it wand for you, and you seem normal…. Why won’t He take this pain away from me?”
The truth is that sometimes healing from trauma is more complex than just “Jesus is all I need”. I believe that Jesus still heals, today. Herbs, essential oils, crutches, braces, and medicine all help to heal the body. Sometimes herbs, counselors, therapists, inner healing, journaling, prayer, visualization and other methods help to heal the mind and emotions.
We would never walk up to a person bleeding to death and say “Jesus is all you need” to that person. We would apply pressure to the gushing wound! Similarly, do not say to the person struggling with their mental health cliché things that do not benefit them. If you can’t add something comforting, simply offer a prayer, or just a shoulder to cry on.
This is a compilation of books that I have benefited from greatly along the way in my own inner healing journey. I don’t necessarily endorse every single thing inside every one of these books, and you’ll find some of them seem out of place but regardless, each one put a tool in my hand to heal, and I pray it will equip you for healing also:
1. Think, Learn Succeed by Dr. Caroline Leaf
2. Codependent No More by Melodie Beattie
3. SOZO by Teresa Liebscher & Dawn DeSilva
4. The Perfect You by Dr. Caroline Leaf
It’s important to note that this article was in no way intended to be a tapestry of instructional inner healing how to. It’s more of a thread encompassed in that tapestry. I am comforted by a principle found in scripture….. one that suggests that those who seek shall find. I truly believe that inner healing is a journey. If you are seeking inner healing, please be encouraged and uplifted with the understanding that Jesus draws near to the brokenhearted, and as you seek healing, you will indeed find it, even if it unfolds over time, rather than appearing all at once.
It is my most earnest prayer that you experience the wholeness of your salvation.