Would You Prefer Relief or Healing?

healing reflection relief Dec 09, 2020

An entirely new set of words and phrases entered our colloquial lexicon this year: 

  • Curbside pickup
  • Flatten the curve
  • Wash your hands
  • Social distancing
  • May I take your temperature?
  • Six feet apart, please
  • Wear your mask
  • Do you have any toilet paper?


We can laugh about it now (or not). But this is just the tip of the iceberg of changes we’ve had to make this year.


And like any good spiritual director or formation coach, I willingly and humbly propose the question I ask multiple times a month: What do you think the invitation is for you here?


We’ve shifted dozens of times this year and much of the conversation I hear is about when we get back to “normal.” In some ways this is a cry for relief from what we have endured this year.


On the idea of relief I’d like to turn to a passage from our book What Does Your Soul Love?


“Most people do not want healing. They are willing to settle for relief. Most people end their inner work after they reach the first flutters of liberation. I’m all better, they believe. But this is premature. Relief is simply the first layer. There is so much more. How much truth are you willing to wade through to come to complete healing? This is a longer and likely more painful process. So ask yourself, “Do I want relief or do I want healing?” For the deepest healing, truth is one of the main paths.” (p. 73)


Yes, we all want some relief from the ebbs and flows of 2020. And can we also be awake to the ways we might find some deeper healing as we continue to lean into the unknowns and the discomforts of this long season?


Whatever has been stirred up inside of you this year can be brought into God’s presence for deeper healing. And, yes, I’m talking about the less pleasing versions of yourself that you’d rather not look at or talk about. Difficult times like this make it hard to keep the lid on the rough parts of ourselves.


This passage comes from the Truth chapter of the book. What are some truths about yourself that you have learned this year? What are some truths you have re-encountered in your relationship with God?


I encourage you to remain open enough to receive further healing. Don’t settle for relief. Certainly, we will enjoy levels of relief as we move forward, but hang in there a bit longer and receive the healing you truly long for.



  • What are your thoughts about the difference between relief and healing?
  • Is there one unseemly dynamic that surfaced for you this year for which you desire deeper healing?
  • What might be your next step in receiving the healing you need?


Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash