I grew up in a Christian environment where I was constantly exposed to Biblical stories of people being miraculously healed in an instant.
Living at a Christian camp (my parents helped run a Southern Baptist camp) and attending church led me to hear numerous testimonies of people being saved and their lives instantly changed.
I wanted that.
Not the saved-from-damnation part. The instantly changed part.
I wanted to be instantly freed from sadness and the general angst I felt as a kid. I wanted to feel miraculously happy.
I wanted instantaneous healing and change.
But it never worked like that.
In fact, the more I pursued methods of instant, miraculous change (whether from trying different religious experiences to going on a raw food diet), the farther I got from true wellbeing.
True wellbeing takes looking at the pain and seeking to understand why it is present. It takes self-compassion and releasing self-judgment for responding in natural ways to harmful systems, environments, and events. It takes recognizing our own detrimental beliefs and patterns, releasing them, and instilling new beliefs and patterns.
The hard truth is that change takes consistent intention and effort over years.
I do feel more balanced, happy, and overall peaceful than I did as an adolescent or young adult. But it took a combination of effort across years: therapy, pharmaceutical assistance, deep conversations with friends, journaling, reading psychology books, and studying mental health counseling and art therapy.
It has been no small effort. And it’s also an effort that I continue to sustain with practices that nourish me (time in nature, journaling, therapy, etc.).
And yet I still find myself wanting a miracle cure for my therapy clients.
I wish there was something I could provide them to make them feel instantly better.
But I have to accept that it will take what it took me, consistent intention, effort, and practice over time.
I provide therapy for people who want to dismantle the harmful impacts of
growing up in a religious environment.