Mental Health Monday—5 responses when you meet opposition


Empowerment of the individual often leads to challenges in the hearts of those around. A move to rebuild may well be met with a move to tear down. One of the greatest challenges when you are rebuilding are the voices of opposition. They maybe the thoughts and feelings swirling around in your own mind, but they may well be the words from other people, some who are close to you.

Have you ever had others tell you that what you are wanting to achieve can’t be done, or its pointless. They want to keep you in a box that they feel safe with. I have come to realize that for every push forward in recovery there will be a push back—an energy that will want you to stay the same or retreat back further.

In talking with those who are on the recovery/rebuild journey they often come to a crossroads where they realize that others around them still define them by the box and the labels of the past. They are still treated like the ugly duckling rather than the glorious swan they are becoming. With any rebuilding the relational dynamics between ourselves and those closest to us change. Some don’t want to see this as it will actually force them to face themselves. When one changes it has a ripple effect on others.

Dr. Dan Allender said these words: “The moment your life begins to move, you will face the hatred of the kingdom of darkness, and often something of the envy of friends, family who do not wish your change to have any kind of influence on their lives. If my wife changes I am going to change one way or the other—either for good for ill. In the presence of significant transformation and healing no one can remain the same. There will always be consequences that will invite me to partake of a path always unique and distinct that God has for each person.”

In the biblical story of Nehemiah we find a man with a call to bring significant transformation and healing to the heart of his nation. You would think everyone would be in favor of such a mission, yet this was not so. “When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very upset, angry that anyone would come to look after the interests of the People of Israel”  (Nehemiah 2:10).

Five Responses When you Meet Opposition

  1. Pray. This is a spiritual battle. Scripture is very clear that there is an unseen but real spiritual battle going on (Daniel 10; Ephesians 6:12). Not that we should “blame the devil” on every little struggle we have, but rather have an awareness that satan’s role is to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). One of satan’s key strategies is the use of distraction, to pull your attention away from what is truly important. Let your mind rest on Christ and who you are in Christ—loved, valued, forgiven, cherished.
  2. Lean into the reinforcing mesh. In my last post I talked about the importance of having a reinforcing mesh of God’s presence and a few good friends that will carry the light of hope. It is in these times of opposition and stress that we need to bind ourselves tighter and tighter around these rods of steel.
  3. Recognize that this may not be about you at all. The flak you are receiving may well say more about them than about you. Their fears, goals, dreams are being projected onto you. Seek to understand from them what your changes are stirring up in them but remember that they are responsible for themselves.
  4. Live in the now—this present moment and focus in on what you can do. It is so easy to get distracted and leave the rebuilding work when the heat comes on. I recently read this quote: “The brain takes its shape from what the mind rests upon” (Dr. Rick Hanson). Rebuilding your Mental Health involves the rewiring of the brain. What you rest your mind on, where you find it dwelling, will shape the rebuild of the circuitry.
  5. Keep your eye on the Compelling Vision. What is the vision that compels you forward? Perhaps one of the greatest gifts I have given to people who are rebuilding is a written note about who I believe God is rebuilding them to be. At times, when the opposition comes, they pull out the note and read the vision and imbibe the hope. When the opposition comes, know that you are not alone.

—Barry Pearman