Returning to the Ocean (the ministry phase)
I believe that the final aspect of being fully healed is actually returning to the ocean and looking for other drowning people. You need to become one of those hands reaching through the surface of the water towards the drowning person like you looked for in the first phase. You should hopefully feel stronger than you did in the previous phase, like you’re no longer walking through sand in your everyday life. You can of course help other people no matter where you’re at. You don’t have to feel perfect, I’m still waiting for that day to come. I just mean that during this final phase your main focus should fully shift off of your healing and onto how you can help others.
Helping others is a strange thing though. It does help to solidify you’re healing and wholeness, but you can’t do it only for that reason. That would be weird and unhealthy. It would be using other people’s pain to heal your own, and when helping them doesn’t make you feel better, maybe it actually makes you feel worse, you’ll just stop and they’ll be even more hurt. You have to genuinely want to help people and go into it understanding that this will be really difficult and draining for you. If you help anyways, in the long run you’ll gain understanding and strength.
When I was trying to figure out where I should start investing my life, my church gave me some good advice. They said to speak into the darkness that you know, meaning help people that are going through something that you’ve been through. So when you reach the phase where you’ve basically come out of depression and you want to help others, look at what you’ve gone through. Maybe you can help other soldiers with PTSD, other victims of abuse, or those also battling grief. The list could go on for a long time. Once you get to this phase, you do still have to remain vigilant. Maintenance is a priority. However, be sure to take time and reflect, being thankful for how far you've come and for those who helped you get here.