Jesus spoke these words to a “certain man” waiting by the pool at Bethsaida (John 5:6
I think we hear these words and think, “Well, duh!” Especially in this case – this man had been at the well for 38 years!
Of course we want to get well! No one really wants to be sick or not feel good, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or relationally. If we can tell a person’s values by looking at their spending, we in the US value our health ($4,124 billion in 2020, according to the AMA
It seems the majority of that spending is on prescriptions (about $576.9 billion in the US in 2021) and hospital care. Preventive care spending is a small fraction of overall spending. Illnesses and accidents happen, and not everything can be prevented. But it seems that many of the things we struggle with are either preventable or we keep struggling because we don’t make some life changes that keep us on a better track.
The question Jesus asked has more to do with a healthy life and less to do with symptom relief. Wellness can be defined as optimal functioning. (Note: Optimal is not the same for everyone.) If Jesus healed that man, he had to move away from his longtime home and get a new social circle, as he would not need or belong to th
e group at the well any longer. The question isn’t so much, “Do you want me to cure your illness?” It’s more, “Are you prepared to make the changes in your life that healing will bring?”
Therapy makes us ask that question. We want symptom relief, and that is one of the benefits of the process. In order to relieve the symptoms, your therapist may suggest changing behaviors, thoughts, or ways you are doing relationships with the end goal of banishing those symptoms for good. However, as you change, you don’t fit into your old ways or maybe even relationships the way you did. These are some of the risks of therapy – things may feel worse for a time as you adjust to the changes, and you may lose some relationships that cannot change as you do and don’t value your growth.
Let’s face it, sometimes, in the moment, it feels easier to just address the symptoms and get to feeling okay rather than do the hard work of change to be truly well. Change is hard. But think how good it feels to get past that hard part, to have dealt with the junk or mastered some skills that make life better.
Therapy at Whole and Holy provides symptom relief, but we hope for more than that for you. We want you to be well. We know that the best time to work on your relationships is when things start to go off track, before you have to choose between therapy and
ending it. The best time to work with depression or anxiety is before the symptoms are disabling, so that you have the capacity to develop resources to cope more effectively. We also know that there will be bumps and struggles along the road to wellness, and we offer you support for all of that.
Wherever you are on your wellness journey, give us a shout
. We’d be happy to chat about what therapy might look like for you and how we can help.