Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of John F. Westfall's new book, Getting Past What You'll Never Get Over: Help for Dealing with Life's Hurts (Revell Books, 2012).
Life in this fallen world is full of suffering, and Jesus warned us to expect trouble in it. Various kinds of hardship - such as illnesses, injuries, broken relationships, financial crises, and the deaths of people we love - come into everyone's life.
When suffering hits, people often try to simply "get over it." But the truth is that you can't ever get over serious hardship; some painful experiences irrevocably change your life. The good news is that you can get past whatever you can't get over, by learning how to deal successfully with the new realities in your life. Here's how you can get past what you'll never get over:
Recognize the reality of your brokenness. Accept the reality that your life will never be the same as it was before your painful experience happened. Realize that God's work in your life will never be finished until you meet Him face to face in heaven. Rather than worrying about trying to become finished and perfect in this life, focus on trusting God in your unfinished state, relying on God's power working through you to help you grow.
Be authentic and transparent. Don't waste time or energy trying to hide, pretend, or cover up your suffering, in the face of pressure from other people to present a certain type of appearance. Keep in mind that God accepts and loves you just as you are, unconditionally.
Stop trying to change the past. Accept the reality that what's done is done, so you can't change the past or undo the damage from it. However, you can decide to live as well as possible despite your losses and pain, and you also can move forward into a new and better reality.
Take baby steps toward a new reality. Start where you are to move forward into a more abundant life - one in which you do your best to live every day that God gives you to the fullest. Enlist the support and encouragement of people who love you and want to help you live a better life from here on.
Live beyond your depression. While you may not be cured of depression, you can learn to live as well as you can while managing it. Do your best to eat a healthy diet, sleep well, and nurture your relationships with friends and family. Pursue counseling and medication too, whenever appropriate.
Source: Crosswalk.com | Whitney Hopler
Adapted from Getting Past What You'll Never Get Over: Help for Dealing with Life's Hurts, copyright 2012 by John F. Westfall. Published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.
John F. Westfall is founding past of Harbor Church, a creative new congregation in the Pacific Northwest, and has pastored churches in Washington, California, and Minnesota. A former radio show host, an ordained pastor, and adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, and a popular retreat and conference speaker, John lives in the Seattle area with his wife, Eileen, and their dog, Maggie. Visit his website.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com's site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.