Healing Is a Choice: 10 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life and 10 Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them

Healing Is a Choice: 10 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life and 10 Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them

by Stephen Arterburn


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785232438
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 11/07/2011
Pages: 457
Sales rank: 504,189
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Stephen Arterburn is a New York Times bestselling author with more than eight million books in print. He most recently toured with Women of Faith, which he founded in 1995. Arterburn founded New Life Treatment Centers as a company providing Christian counseling and treatment in secular psychiatric hospitals. He also began “New Life Ministries”, producing the number-one Christian counseling radio talk show, New Life Live, with an audience of more than three million. He and his wife Misty live near Indianapolis.

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Ten Decisions That Will Transform Your Life & Ten Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them
By Stephen Arterburn Bill Martin

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Stephen Arterburn
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7852-3243-8

Chapter One

The First Choice: The Choice to Connect Your Life

The First Big Lie: "All I need to heal is just God and me."

Rachael's Story

The following story is true, down to the last detail. It is from a woman who asked that her name be changed only so that those involved would not know her story was in this book. She is an amazing example of someone who made the healing choice of connection. I will call her Rachael. An adolescent extended family member sexually abused Rachael when she was around seven years old. She believes the abuse occurred multiple times throughout the course of a year. When the abuse eventually ended, some of the memories and most of the guilt remained. She blamed herself and was too afraid to tell anyone, so she lived alone with the mounds of guilt and shame that had been inflicted upon her.

Rachael was never able to fully forget, but she was able to disconnect from many of the raw emotions that she had never dealt with. This helped her survive when the abuser would show up and interact with her at family gatherings. During these times, she would tell herself that it was over and she did not need to think about it anymore. The more the time passed, the more Rachael tried to tell herself that nothing needed to be done because it had happened so long ago.

Thoughts and memories continued to come up often, but she became skilled at pushing the thoughts away from the forefront and focusing on other things. She also focused more on "cracking the whip" inside her mind so that the shame of "the secret" would not be exposed and the bad things that had happened would never happen again. If she did her best, she thought she could protect herself from further pain. She shoved the memories, thoughts, and feelings further and further inside her. Her body did not carry the burden of her secret well. As a very young girl, extreme stomach pains became her constant companion.

Making the Choice to Connect

Roughly six years of silence and secrecy passed. Finally, she was able to open up to a very close girlfriend who was the same age. Rachael made her friend promise not to tell anyone, and she never did. Rachael said it felt good to be able to talk to someone about what happened, and even though she knew she was not entirely to blame, she did not take any further steps toward healing at that time. After all of those long years in isolation, she had finally made a choice to heal. She had made the choice to connect with another person and share the secret. It was a start.

When Rachael was sixteen, she made another bold choice to heal. She did something she swore she would never do. She told her mom what had happened. When pressed by her mom for details, she acted as if they were hazier than they were. She couldn't say to her mom specifically what the boy had made her do. Her mom was very disturbed and upset by the information Rachael gave her, but she tried to avoid dealing with the reality of it all and wrote it off as something that had happened long ago. Later Rachael learned that her mother had wondered if the whole incident had been made up because Rachael was a creative child.

Rachael's mother also made another mistake. She reasoned that it either had never happened or had not been very damaging, because Rachael seemed so happy and healthy. The minimization of the incident did not help the healing process for Rachael, but that did not stop Rachael from continuing to make the healing choice to connect.

Opening the Door to Professional Help

A couple of years later, Rachael graduated from high school and attended a local Christian college. During a challenging summer job following her freshman year, she shared her past with another good friend she worked with. This time Rachael's choice to connect struck gold. The friend told her she knew others who had been abused. She told her that counseling had helped them immensely, so Rachael began to think about getting some counseling and shared the idea with her mother.

Her mother had a negative bent toward counseling. She doubted that it would help or was even necessary. She also did not like the idea of not knowing what a counselor might want Rachael to do. Overall, Mom stuck with her "don't rock the boat" approach and deterred her from pursuing it any further. Although her mother once again tried to move Rachael off the path toward healing, Rachael's choice to connect and heal did not end there.

A good friend at school became Rachael's boyfriend at the end of her freshman year in college. In the fall of her sophomore year, they e-mailed each other regularly. Although they saw each other every day, they were constantly e-mailing each other as well, which allowed them to grow deeper in their knowledge of each other.

While writing an e-mail one day, Rachael opened a deeper part of her heart just a crack and shared how she really did not love herself. She sent the e-mail and walked across campus realizing with each step just how true those words had been. Thoughts of the past abuse came into her mind, and she tried to convince herself, as she had so many times before, that "it happened a long time ago—why even think about it now?" The problem was that this time it did not work.

Rachael kept attempting to push the thoughts and memories into the back of her mind, but it did not work. The harder she tried, the more intense the thoughts and emotions grew. She had homework to take care of and exams to study for, but she could not focus on anything except the abuse. She said her mind became like a frozen computer screen, and she could not shut it down. The rest of the day became a time full of mental torment that God would use for her good.

That evening, Rachael was so full of pain and turmoil that she was willing to do just about anything. She had gone to a friend's dorm room to talk, only to find the room empty. She waited for a few minutes, and as she was about to leave, her friend returned from her part-time job. Rachael shared the story of her awful day and her pain-filled past. Her friend listened and then gave her some wise advice. She told Rachael about a Christian counselor who regularly visited the campus. The counselor had a sliding scale for fees, and the school would even help pay for the sessions.

Rachael took the name and the phone number and left a confidential voice mail with the counselor. She was very nervous about the first session, but with God's help and prompting decided to take the risk and chose—for the first time—to connect with a professional who could help.

Releasing the Emotional Flood

To Rachael's surprise, the words almost came out by themselves. She said she experienced at least one moment where she seemed separated from herself—almost as an observer—and watched with amazement at the intensity and range of emotions that seemed to pour out from her. After a powerful hour of self-revelation, Rachael still needed to ask the woman if she thought there was a need for counseling. The counselor replied, "What do you think?" A second later Rachael nodded her head yes, and thanked her. That became the first of many regular sessions in what Rachael called giving the healing process "her best shot."

Much healing and good came into Rachael's life as the connection between counselor and client grew deeper through the next two years. It felt so good to be making progress in an area of her life that had been primarily closed to the world, although it was challenging for her to work through her buried emotions. The counseling and healing process was a major test in her dating relationship, but it was also a blessing. She shared the story of her past with her boyfriend, the first male she had ever talked with about the abuse. He had never dealt with that kind of experience before. Rachael saw his true colors with the test of time, and he was a faithful friend through it all. He did not always know what to say, but he was a good listener and cared about her healing. Both of them learned a lot through the process.

Connecting Through Confrontation

Now Rachael talks of her deep gratitude to God and to all those who poured their lives and hearts into hers. As her peace and contentment grew, so did her courage. During the second semester of her junior year, she was actually at a place in the process where she was able to confront the family member who had sexually abused her. The meeting was scheduled with her counselor, her boyfriend, and the friend she had first shared her story with. It was a powerful meeting that produced another level of healing.

Today Rachael knows there are still many areas God wants her to work on and grow in. She is always willing to get more counseling when needed. Even her mother is supportive of her and now praises her courage to make healthy choices. Her boyfriend attended some of the counseling sessions with her, and eventually they went to see the same premarital counselor. They have been married for more than five years.

Rachael said God knew what He was doing when He prompted her so strongly to seek help and healing. She cannot imagine how her relationship with her husband would be if she had not been open with him about the abuse and not been open to counseling and healing. Well, I can imagine what it would be like. I am so glad Rachael chose to connect and chose to heal.

Facing the Big Lie

Healing is a choice. It was God's choice for Rachael, but for that healing to come, Rachael had to choose to make a connection through the abuse rather than isolate and hide because of it. Just consider for a moment if she had listened to some of the lies that prevent healing: "It happened a long time ago." "You are doing fine; why get help?" There are many more, but the most common of all the lies that prevent people from connecting with others or allow them to stay disconnected is the lie, "All I need is God and no one else." If Rachael had played out her life based on that lie, there would have been a very different outcome. How do I know? I talk to people encased in this belief almost every day.

The "only God" lie is actually a form of denial. It is a lighter layer of denial. The heavier layer only lasts for a while. You can only convince yourself and others that there is no problem for so long, and then reality seeps in and people see your situation for what it is. Outright denial just looks foolish, and you have to retreat. So you give some ground, admit that life has not been perfect, and acknowledge that some of that might have spilled over into adulthood.

You are willing to acknowledge that there is something that needs attention. You admit there is smoke but balk at the notion of fire. You admit to something but deny that it needs attention from others. Rather than just stay isolated inside your own solitary cave, you hole up in there with God, expecting God to meet every need and heal every pain. It does not happen, because that is not God's plan. God's plan is for us to connect with each other to facilitate healing in our lives.

If you are like me, you don't really want this to be true. I wanted to make it on my own; I did not want to be open and honest. I was afraid of further rejection when I shared the news of being rejected. I just wanted to be left alone to grieve and whine and whatever else I wanted to do as I limped through this new dark reality that had come upon me. But the faithful efforts of others kept dragging me out of that dark pit and meeting with me face-to-face.

The uncomfortable connection with others became the healing connection for me, and it will be the same for you. You may have some pretty good excuses to not connect with others, but God has some pretty good reasons that will overpower your excuses if you will allow them to. You cannot read what God has to say about connecting with each other and be convinced that He wants us to face our pain with just Him and Him alone.

You cannot read what God has to say about connecting with each other and be convinced that He wants us to face our pain with just Him and Him alone.

God's Truth for Each Other

I invite you to pull out a Bible and take a moment to let God's Word sink in. Here are some convincing scriptures that God's way is for us to work with one another and be there for one another—connected—as we seek healing. Look at God's truth:

• Romans 12:5 tells us to depend on each other as one body in Christ. • Romans 12:15 tells us to weep with each other, when we often just want to weep alone. • Romans 15:14 tells us to counsel and teach each other, when we want to just wait and hear from God. • 1 Corinthians 12:25 tells us to care for each other. • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage and build each other up. • Ephesians 4:2 tells us to uphold each other, when we try to act like we don't need anyone. • Ephesians 5:21 tells us to submit to each other, meaning you are to do more than just submit to God. • Hebrews 10:24 tells us to stir up love in each other and share it. • 1 Peter 4:10 tells us to minister to each other, so God's generosity is shared. • James 5:16 tells us to tell each other what we have done wrong—then we can experience healing. • Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear each other's burdens, when all we want to do is take them to God. Over and over we see the Scripture pushing us back toward each other. Look at all of the healing actions encouraged by God. Look how God directs us back to one another when we want to hide. It encourages us to deepen our connection with others by love, devotion, confession, honor, encouragement, prayer, hospitality, submission, kindness, forgiveness, service, counsel, acceptance, and fellowship. We were born for connection—it sustains us and heals us. Isolation is the way of the fool. Connection is the way of God.

Making the Connection

Have you made the healing choice to connect? Could the lack of connection or the superficiality of your connection be keeping you from the healing God has in store for you? If so, there is so much hope for you. I have met many desperate singles who were desperate and single because they had never made the effort to learn to connect, and many who had learned to connect, but only sexually. I have worked with many stable and satisfied married couples who did not know what they were missing. Their marriages were stable, convenient, and functional, but there was no rich intimacy because there was no deep connection. Connection is the first choice to make in the healing process.

I have worked with many who looked connected and healthy, but in reality they were lonely and isolated and just struggling to get by. Hamilton was one of those who looked good on the outside but was deeply disconnected to everyone around him. As a college student, he finally realized that for most of his life he had suffered in isolation. He told me that in high school he was involved in nearly every activity imaginable: football, band, speech, drama, student council, quiz bowl, key club, academics—you name it and he was in it. People always looked up to him for leadership, voting him student body president, band president, Thespian Society president, and class president. They spoke frequently of what a good Christian he was and how pure he was. They thought he had it together, but it was all an act.

Hamilton had been addicted to pornography since he was eleven, and the shame he felt because people thought he was a good and godly person just drove him deeper into his world of fantasy and lust. He said, "For the record, I usually was a good person, always nice to people and trying to be the good Samaritan." He had never had a physical relationship with a girl. He felt absolutely alone. He had millions of "friends" (he said "acquaintances" would be a better term), but he had no best friend to help him through his problem.


Excerpted from HEALING IS A CHOICE by Stephen Arterburn Bill Martin Copyright © 2011 by Stephen Arterburn. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Choice to Heal Your Life....................1
Chapter 1....................23
Chapter 2....................71
Chapter 3....................117
Chapter 4....................157
Chapter 5....................191
Chapter 6....................229
Chapter 7....................265
Chapter 8....................313
Chapter 9....................353
Chapter 10....................397
Chapter 11: Final Thoughts on Healing....................449
About the Author....................457

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Healing Is a Choice 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
SingingPilgrim More than 1 year ago
I'm reviewing a copy of Healing is a Choice that is the book plus the workbook. Healing is a Choice presents 10 choices Arterburn believes all people who want healing (primarily focusing on emotional/spiritual healing) should face and decide. Each of the choices is a chapter, along with a 'big lie'. The 10 choices are the choices to connect to your life, to feel your life, to investigate your life in search of Truth, to heal your future, to help your life, to embrace your life, to forgive, to risk your life, to serve, and to persevere. Since I don't mean to have the world's longest review I'll just give you a few reflections: He brings an air of clinical detachment to his writing that just rubs me the wrong way. However, I do think his book can be helpful to those who are seeking healing. I do think he presumes too much, and I imagine him going around clucking his tongue under his breath when he sees people he doesn't think have "chosen healing". But, I also think those who apply themselves to the ten choices he's presented will likely find emotional/spiritual healing. He does address physical healing as well, but he is also not (thank God) a prosperity gospel preacher, and acknowledges sometimes our healing will come in heaven. But we should seek healing here, because God definitely does heal physically on earth sometimes. Overall, this is a pretty good book. I got this book for free from booksneeze in exchange for my unbiased review.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely great book. Healing is a choice like evetything else is our lives. It is Gods given right to us. The choice is forgive is awesome and can change your life. Reading the book is uplifting and should be read over and over again until you have been fulfilled and have forgiven.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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TStephens More than 1 year ago
Today, I am reviewing the book "HEALING IS A CHOICE: Ten Decisions That Will Transform Your Life & Ten Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them" by Steve Arterburn. I first heard of him while attending the Women of Faith event in Atlanta. He was very transparent in speaking of his personal struggles and presented helpful information for me in my own struggle at the time. I was very excited to have the opportunity to read this new edition of his book. Everyone needs healing at some point in their lives. Be it physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually we will need to experience healing. This book teaches us that healing is in God's hands and in order to experience that, we must make the choice of wanting to heal and then present it to God. This book is a blessing. It is so easy to hold on to hurt and prevent yourself from getting your healing. The book is presented by asking the reader IF they want to be healed. It then takes them through a series of ten choices they must make in order to get on the path to healing. The great thing about this book is that Arterburn realized that it's much easier to say you want to be healed than it is to work through the hurt, which is why the inclusion of the workbook was such a great idea. Though the healing will not be completed just by reading this book, it gets you on the path to healing in your life. Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through a book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
BiancaTCBT More than 1 year ago
I received this book awhile ago and when I started reading it the first thing that I loved about it was its practicality. I loved it because the author’s style is very easy to follow and he gives a lot of Bible examples. I loved his way of retelling them in his own manner. Like I said, it’s practical, and when I say this I am referring to the way this book is organized as well. It has 10 chapters, each chapter tackling a different choice and the big lie that stands at the root of that choice. At the end of each chapter, my book (the revised & updated one) had some workbook questions to help you identify the key points that you must work on in order to obtain the healing that he’s talking about here. It was a helpful book, and I am sure this is a book for everyone, because I believe we each have some healing to do into our own lives, no matter what the hurting has been about. So I would warmly recommend this book to those who want to have a healthy life and all the benefits that comes from that.
tFKr More than 1 year ago
First of all this edition of Arterburn’s book is a great buy as it includes not only the main text but also has a supplemental workbook. This bonus buy alone makes it an amazing resource. Arterburn’s basis of his book is that there are 10 decisions that we can make that will transform our lives which are based on ten different lies about who the devil makes us think we are. The book is a thick read and when you do all of the supplemental work book items that are included it will take one time to read. Having an under graduate degree in psychology and a masters from a seminary I’d highly recommend this book to anyone that is dealing with hurt and issues in their life. It will help the reader start their journey and process to finding healing for the hurts in their lives and to make the correct decisions to get them on their way. Half of the challenge of healing is refusing to listen to the lies that are in our heads about our-self and the situations that impact us. Definitely a resource I’ll be keeping for myself and others to use.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
J_Dan_Barnes More than 1 year ago
How many of us carry around baggage that we are not even aware of? So often we are hurt, scarred, bruised and broken and most people don't know what to do about it. This is a good plan for starting to work through the process of healing. I have used many of these tips before, Stephen Arterburn puts them together in a solid and useful manual to help heal. Get a copy for you and another to loan out. It's worth it.
patters2day More than 1 year ago
The power to heal is within each one of us; it is a matter of choosing to become well. The difficult part is deciding that we will let go of the hurt, the regrets and the pain. Where there is anger we need to let peace in. Where there is despair, we need to let hope visit and stay a while. Healing is a Choice is a book well worth reading. Stephen Arterburn, gives clear and concise steps for us to follow and to use to change our thinking and our life. Again, the challenging part is to decide to try them. Having recently faced up to some ¿giants¿ of my past; I found this book helpful in making me aware that I had not completely let go of some of those ghosts. I particularly like his segment on having ¿The courage to take risks¿. He presents a list of suggestions for us to use, in an attempt to change where we are. The ideas encourage and motivate a willingness to try something new. It is helpful, in and of itself, and it certainly aided me in creating a list of my own. A heart or a spirit that has been hurt in the past, is not always aware what is needed in order to heal. Having a list to follow, assists greatly in maintaining focus which then helps drive one forward to energetically reduce the number of things to do. If you are on a path of healing, this book can definitely assist in changing some thought patterns that may be hindering your growth and recovery. Well worth reading.
PJHC More than 1 year ago
Have you ever felt so hurt that you just wanted to crawl up in a ball and disappear? I have. Have you felt like you didn't know which way to turn or who to turn to? I have . I feel that the book has some good points and is well written, even though if you come into it with "preconceived ideas, it may take a little adjustment in your way of looking at things, but go ahead and do it. You will be blessed. This book is a very helpful tool in learning how to be healed from emotional hurt or even physical illness. It definitely helps us to adjust our frame of mind. I like what Mr. Arterburn said. "The power to heal-physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually-- is in God's hands, but the choice to be healed is yours". He also says that everyone at some level needs healing. I personally know this. I went up for prayer many, many times before it finally happened, but a lot of it was timing, after all He will heal us in His timing. Also, I had some things that were hindering my spirit, which was causing a kind of wall between God's power and me. God CAN and WILL heal us, but ultimately it is our choice. There are ten choices to help us heal and ten lies discussed in this book that can keep a person from making those choices. Mr. Arterburn goes through each one in detail. A couple of them for example are: as mentioned above, The decision or choice is to Connect your Life; the lie being "all I need is God and me". Another is Choice: The Choice to Feel your life; the lie: "Real Christians should have a real peace in all circumstances." A third and final one which I will let you in on is Choice: The choice to Investigate Your Life in Search of Truth; the lie: "It does not good to look back or look inside." There are ten of these to go through along with "workbook questions at the end of each chapter. At the very end of the book, it has a complete set of questions of the material of the whole book. If you are having trouble " healing from some personal tragedy, loss, or relationship problems this is an excellent book. It will guide you with practicality and scripture. I would recommend this book to everyone.
PJtheEMT4 More than 1 year ago
Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn is a lifechanging book based on biblical teaching to help the reader address and face the tragedies in life. The author's premise is that if painful memories and experiences are left untreated or buried in the mind, that they resurface later in the form of deprerssion chronic illness or mental illness. This is not simply a secular self help book, but rather a spiritual book based on biblical teaching. This book is a sombering wake- up call, as the author warns that the sick mind is usually not capable of healing itself on its own without outside help. After each chapter is a work book or study guide to allow the reader to take a guided tour through the healing process. This author has a good insight to the purposes of pain and depression and states that depression is a sign that should not be ignored or medicated away, but rather a sign that something needs to be addressed. This book alsoteaches personal responsability for one's actions and feelings- not excuses. In large part, I did agree with the book and its methods to help the reader overcome his or her pain. The author himself experienced a difficult and a public divorce that threatened his ministry career. He included an honest analysis of his own avoidance and dissconnection relationship issues. Nevertheless, his "faults"based on his self- accessment, seemed mild and at times self serving. Yet the author maintained a rigid adherence to certain ideas. I believe there was an undue focus on one's past. It almost seemed as if this could perpetuate a morbid fascination with digging up the past and ruminating on past events or past hurts. If somethong has been buried in the subconscious mind, that it is a survival technique and perhaps it ois best to leave it be then allow it to resurface. The mind and spirit have an amazing ability to heal and forgetting or burying the past (such as traumatic and painful events) are part of the healing process and coping mechanisms. Why go through such lengths to undue the work of the mind with an unnatural expedition into one's past? I also believe that Christian counseling (or any counseling for that matter) isn't always available and financially prohbitive for many people who struggle financially. In an ideal world everyone would get help for their issues, but this isn't an ideal world. Even if one has health insurance, the copays for counseling visits add up- especially ongoing visits. If therapy continues for an indefinate amount of time, the money expense is significant. On pages206-207 the author has a disclaimer warning the reader not to simply read the books and attemp self healing, but that outside help and counseling is essential- and that the reader may do more harm than good in attempting to help himself without the services of a professional counselor or clergy. As a blogger for Thomas Nelson publishesr I recieved this book for the purpose of writing this review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
fizzle7033 More than 1 year ago
As an adult I have been constantly battling the ghosts of my childhood. Having been subjected to the confusion and mental abuse of a mentally ill parent. I have tried virtually everything; counseling self help books, abandoning religion and then finding my faith again. After all of these years I have finally managed to overcome much of the turmoil, but occasionally I do find myself fighting self doubt and depression again. For this reason I choose to review this book, since I am always on the lookout for anything that might help with the next round of depression. I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the suggestions in this book are very helpful. I especially appreciate the fact that this book does not offer immediate solutions; after all there really is no quick fix method for dealing with these types of issues. This book is not the touchy feely type of self help book. This book is hard-hitting and inspires individual action. The addition of the workbook questions is especially helpful for self analysis and change. This book inspires hard self evaluation and analysis which will then, in turn, lead to healing. This is not always a pleasant process, but it is a necessary process. This is a book which I will reread again and again, and I look forward to utilizing the advice contained therein. I would highly recommend this book for anyone that is in need. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JN45 More than 1 year ago
Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn encourages you to make 10 decisions to change your life. It gives 10 lies that Satan will give you to kkep you from making the choice. It includes a workbook to enable you eo work through your healing. God wants you to be healed but the choice is yours.