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The Healing Path: How the Hurts in Your Past Can Lead You to a More Abundant Life

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  658 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Don't Waste Your Pain

None of us escapes the heartache and disappointments of life. To live is to hurt, and we all have the wounds to prove it. Regardless of how we've been hurt, we all face a common question: What should we do with our pain? Should we stoically ignore it? Should we just "get over it"? Should we optimistically hope that everything will work out in the end?
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 26th 2000 by WaterBrook (first published 1999)
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 ·  658 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Jon Cooper
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is basically a pastoral volume on theodicy. Like most books in this genre, it is heavy on sentimentality (and turns of phrase) and somewhat light on real thought. But it does a much better job than most in balancing the two, and in weaving narrative with explication.

That out of the way: It's a very, very good book and worth a read or two. The basic thesis (which I'm not convinced he brings out all that well) is this: crap happens; look at such crap as part of your bigger story, and embrace
Rock Rockwell
Oct 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hurting Christians
Shelves: counseling
If you are going to read a few books about working through your pain/hurt issues, you should put this book on the top of the stack. I have gone back and re-read many portions to get a better Christian perspective on how to heal and find joy in the midst of trials and difficulties. I have shared this book with friends who have struggled through various painful situations and each one has noted that the book was powerfully written and helped them deeply.
Rachel A.  Dawson
This one was recommended to me by my counselor (he read many excerpts in our sessions, and I knew I wanted to read the whole thing) and I can't rave enough. This book is rich and helpful and meaningful and so incredible -- if you're on any sort of healing journey from any sort of hurt, abuse, pain, grief, etc... read this one. It's a soothing balm for any aching soul.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have lived long enough to appreciate when someone talks about life like it’s, sometimes, shockingly painful. It is. It so is. But Dan Allender looks at pure evil and tragedy with eyes wide open and yet finds hope. He calls this the healing path, when you don’t deny or ignore or numb your wounds, but you view those wounds as opportunities to grow. This idea is beautiful and sometimes hard to swallow and I’d be lying if I said I found it easy to embrace. (Self-righteousness is the last idol to d ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A quick read. Informative, compelling, and genuine. Many stories of people trying to bury and hide their hurts, or wallow in their hurts, or finally grow with God as they face their hurts. Deals with many of the scripture passages that are untidy and life situations that don't make sense.

I recommend this for everyone who has ever had a life experience where they have hurt someone or been hurt. That would be me and everyone else.
Every page of this book spoke to the inner struggles of my own heart. In my mind, Allender does not give a definitive answer to life's suffering and doubts of God's love for humankind. What he does for the reader, or at least for me, is to lead to a greater understanding of my personal need for Jesus by artfully uncovering my pain and sin and teaching me how to walk in my personal suffering by faith, hope, and love. The Healing Path does not lead to a "dying-to-self" at the cross only, but to li ...more
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. The author empathizes, speaks, and validates pain and betrayal experience, while digging deeper to discover why we may react the way we do to those things, and then seeks to give encouragement on how to be more "response-able" in life. It wasn't really NEW information to me, so much as needed reminders in a calm and kind presentation. Good stuff.
Nov 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people looking for healing, specifically emotional
This book was a wonderful read while working through childhood hurts, emotional scars, bad ways of coping with life difficulties. I felt like I was able to own a number of my issues and respond to God's invitation to healing.
Charlotte Hunt
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps no other book has changed my life other than this book and this author. His impact and short time with him moved me toward the purpose and path the Lord was leading me to. Amazing and life changing book. Must read.
Jordan J. Andlovec
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I bit gushy language-wise, but if you can get past that there are some incredibly helpful foundations to help you shift your understand of the pain in your life.
Ryan Jankowski
absolutely spectacular - one of Allender's best.
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Life-changing. Beautiful. I need to read it again. Allender comes closer than anyone else I've read to making sense of the mess of life.
Steve Penner
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My pastors study group has read this together. We have all found it interesting, challenging and worth the effort to read and discuss. Allender describes the healing path using the framework of faith, hope and love. He uses this frame to identify how our past hurts impact our present and darken our future. The more we learn about how our brains work, the more we know that childhood trauma significantly impacts how live our adult lives. Allender gives practical advice throughout and tells some re ...more
Tyler Simonds
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
I love The Healing Path. Powerful and poetic at times, Dan shares from his life as he inspires the reader to embrace life. If you get stuck at some point or distracted I hope you won’t give up. He ends it amazingly.

Too many of us have sat on the sideline over the years, merely observing. (Perhaps complaining about others and failing to recognize the good potential in front of us.) We are surrounded by mystery. Adventure calls to you, the good life found in fighting for “us” with open arms.

I ca
Gideon Yutzy
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Don't shut out your past but rather find ways to become more whole by finding better narratives to interpret both the past and the present. You'll find some cliches and shallower content, but overall it's well worth a read through and some parts even call for rereading. I love the part near the end where he had the conversation with the guy on the plane. (He paid me a glorious compliment: "I would have never guessed you to be a Christian!")
Samuel Kassing
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The prose in this book are classic Allender. At times I wish he was more practical and a little less wordy but overall this is a very good book.

Allender takes the three virtues of “faith, hope, and love” and shows us how God intends to use those three virtues to make us more human within the body of Christ. And how we can help our neighbors recover their humanity as well.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
"It is a Samson-like suicidal gesture that pulls down the pillars not to escape... but to destroy those who blinded us and made us feel helpless."

I need this book next to my Bible so I can constantly reference it.

Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This thought provoking book led me on a path to greater healing and peace. Dealing with deeper elements of faith, hope and love Allender brought a new and welcome twist to the dark and difficult task of putting together broken lives.
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Choosing to focus on God while going through troubles helps us walk in grace. It gives us hope to continue on to complete the race we have been called to.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another great Allender.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
A spiritual framework for addressing and reconciling your pain/trauma in your work as a psychotherapist. A bit touchy feely at times and redundant.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I would recommend this book to every Christian hurt with hurt their past and wants to live, yes live.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
3 and a half stars. Chapter five was worth reading the whole book.
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. An absolute must-read for any follower of Jesus.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this one. Reminded me a bit.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian
I am finding it very hard to connect with this book emotionally. Logically everything Allender is saying makes sense to me but it's all just words at this point. Mebbe I am in hard-core denial right now?? I might have to start over and take it more slowly.


After finishing: I liked the last couple of chapters much more than the rest of the book. I'm still not sure why I found it a slog, but I did. Disappointing because I have really appreciated some of Allender's other work.
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Some books you just have to be in the right frame of mind to receive what they have to say. With that said, it may have been why I only gave it two stars. There were a few chapters I thought worth reading but too many others I felt I was trudging through. For me, the best morsels dealt with Ambivalence (chapter 2, 6). Chapter 10 as well: "Living a Radical Life"... but it's for a very different mental place--one that took me several months to get to (which is about as long as it took me to read t ...more
Jenny Wells
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dan Allender, one of my mentors online and through seminars, wrote this book in 1999. I was hesitant to read it, because I know he is a writer/teacher whose ideas move forward and interpret the horizon and I wondered whether this book would stand the test of time as his work continues to evolve. But it proved to be a foundational book of his work, that life in fullness, healing, and God involve holding our pain and our hopes hand-in-hand, that the two together show the full picture of who we are ...more
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this, it had a lot of good application that I could apply to my own life. This book answers these questions: What should we do with our pain? Should we stoically ignore it? Should we just "get over it"? Should we optimistically hope that everything will work out in the end? Dan B. Allender answers those questions in this book and goes even deeper in the journey of "The Healing Path". I really like what he said on the last page..."Body and blood swirling over our palate c ...more
May 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm not sure if I completely learned "how the hurts in my past can lead me to a more abundant life" in this book, but I did find much of it to be helpful. Allender's emphasis when it comes to individual hurts is to walk toward the pain rather than away from it, but I would have liked to have heard a little more on how to move beyond it. Some of the chapters fit too neatly like three point sermons and some of the illustrations were trite. Still, the content is weighty, not to be simply breezed th ...more
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Dan B. Allender, Ph.D, is a fly fisherman who also serves as president and professor of counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School near Seattle, Washington. He is a therapist in private practice, and a frequent speaker and seminar leader. Dan received his M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University. He is the author of To Be Told: ...more

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