Radical Biblical Acceptance
For a while now I have been pondering my relationship with my health conditions, and why I am always so positive and happy despite being in constant pain and fatigue. People often say things to me like “I wouldn’t realise you are in such pain from looking at you because you are so happy/smiley”. It is difficult for me to know what to say in response and my answer is usually something like “Well, you have to just get on with it don’t you?” Deep down, I have known that there is more to it than that, but have not known how to articulate it.
Last week I was reading a novel where the main character had had a life altering accident and was using a method called Radical Acceptance to be able to cope with his pain so that it didn’t turn to suffering. When I read the brief description it resonated with me so I did some research. Radical Acceptance is about accepting what happens to you in life without resisting or fighting what you cannot, or choose not, to change. There are many life situations that are painful and are not in our control. We can't avoid that pain, but we can control how much we suffer over the experience. Suffering is the part we can control. It struck me that this is very similar to my outlook on life, but with one fundamental difference.
Radical Acceptance is a DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) which is rooted in Buddhism, along with mindfulness and other person-centred therapies. While the outcome of the therapy works, I personally do not subscribe to Humanistic person-centred therapy as a solution. As a Christian, Christ is at the centre of my life and my thoughts are centred around my faith in God. Essentially, I am part of something much bigger than myself. So how does this match up with Radical Acceptance?
I realised that the fundamental difference in where I am coming from, and the Radical Acceptance theory, is the foundation of the Bible. The Bible teaches me that God has a plan for me, to prosper, and to not harm me; to give me a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus says that He came so that I could have life in all it’s fullness (John 10:10). The Bible tells me that God will provide for every need I have, and that has been proved time after time all throughout my life., so I have absolutely no doubt that it is true. So, the way that I cope with my pain and health conditions is through Biblical Acceptance; I view my situation, and all other difficult and challenging situations in life, through the lens of my faith in God and His promises in The Bible. I know that there are some things I can’t change about my life, but I also know that God is much bigger than I can understand, and His ways are far beyond my ways (Isaiah 55:9). I recognise that God loves me and wants the very best for my life. That may not always look like I expect it too, but I can tell you this, without a doubt, that even though I have been through a lot of unpleasant experiences in life, God has given me the strength to face and cope with them. God has never left me or let me down, and I know that He has no reason to start now.
That is why I am usually able to smile despite whatever is going on in life. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that I don’t find it hard, but I just choose not to let it get me down inside – that’s what causes suffering.
I hope that this has encouraged, helped or inspired you too. If you want to talk to me further about this, please do get in touch.
Stay safe and well,