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Through Storytelling We can Experience Healing

Telling your story, writing your story, speaking the whole truth, allows your mind, body, unresolved grief and the unspoken, to be processed. As you write, as you tell, about everything, meaning is made of your story. Our story needs to be written, re-written, told, and re-told. Through this process of storytelling, we can experience healing.

Mark 5:25-34 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”

The woman in this story had a chronic physical illness, and the issue of blood made her unclean, untouchable, isolated, lonely, suffering emotionally and mentally as well. And she had suffered many things from many physicians trying to heal her. When Jesus asked who touched Him, the woman comes forward, with fear and trembling, knowing that she had been healed immediately, falls down before Jesus and tells Him the whole truth. Her whole story. Jesus responds to her by saying your faith has made you well. Your trust in Me, has healed you. She trusted in Him, she was desperate, determined, courageous, and in spite of her fear, she spoke the whole truth. She was vulnerable, exposed, but her trust and faith was greater. This is how it is with us as well.

Even though facing the whole truth of our own pain and suffering can induce fear, as we put our trust in Jesus, in God our Father, and come before Him, who calls us by name, and as His children, we can begin to speak the truth of our suffering. We can begin to tell our whole story, and experience healing.

James W. Pennebaker, American Social Psychologist, has done extensive research on the effectiveness of writing.

Writing your story, especially your deepest, darkest, most painful and difficult stories, means you can connect with your emotions, and you might feel awful but this is a temporary part of the process.

The Benefits of Writing Your Story

  • Writing about traumatic, stressful, or emotional events has been found to result in improvements in both physical and psychological health. People who wrote between 15-20 minutes on 3-5 occasions have generally significantly better physical and psychological outcomes compared to people who wrote about neutral topics.

  • Immediate impacts of writing can include a short-term decrease in distress, and negative mood and physical symptoms.

  • Longer term benefits of writing include a fewer stress-related visits to the GP, improved immune system functioning, reduced blood pressure, improved lung and liver function, improved mood, improved psychological well-being, fewer post-traumatic stress intrusion and avoidance symptoms.

  • Notable longer term of social and behavioural benefits of writing include a reduced absenteeism from work, quicker re-employment after job loss, improved working memory, improved educational results, improved social and linguistic behaviours.

Articulating, acknowledging, writing and telling your whole story, the whole truth, means you are facing your own suffering, bringing everything into the light to see. What is seen, what is brought to light, what is not kept in the dark or a secret, allows for generational patterns of sin to cease. We become truth tellers and truth bearers, and begin the journey of our own rescue, redemption, restoration, and re-storying of our lives.

Reference: James Pennebaker, 1986; Karin Baikie and Kay Wilhelm, 2005.

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