I hate pain. I moan, cry, groan, yell, sometimes say bad words. And, that’s when I have a stomach ache. Danielle just rolls her eyes.
As I write this, I am wearing a soft cast boot on my ankle I had surgically repaired about five weeks ago Yeah, just a little painful.
Then to make it more fun, I began rehab two weeks ago. So far that has reminded me of the Thai foot massages I got while living in Thailand. Kind of nice, and kind of not so nice. I know the real pain is yet to come.
How I Used to Handle Pain
I used to run from pain. Any kind of pain. Physical, emotional, relational. If it hurt, I wanted no part of it.
Emotional and relational pain especially. Let’s just say I became a master at either ignoring it or escaping from it. Always made sense to me. Why deal with it if it will go away on its own.
I bet I’m not alone. In fact, I know I am not alone.
I am learning that embracing pain is better.
So why am I saying we should learn to embrace pain?
- It’s healthier. Really it could save your life. God created us to feel pain for a reason. If I touch a hot stove and don’t feel pain…you get the idea. Same thing is true with emotional and relational pain. The feeling of pain tells you that something is not right. If you don’t pay attention to the pain, you probably will end up in a lot more pain.
- Forces to live in the present. I know that many times intense pain needs to be removed so that healing can happen. For example, I am THANK-FUL for anesthesia during the surgery and Vicodin for a few days after. Like many I also “go to my happy place” when I am in rehab or some other physically painful moment. However recently I began doing just the opposite. I put my full attention on the place of pain. I mentally embrace the pain allowing my mind to live right in that moment.
- We can move through the pain. If we constantly avoid or escape pain in our lives, it really doesn’t go away. It will eventually overrun us. Yet when we embrace it, we move through it quickly to sunnier skies.
- Produces endurance. “Let us rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.” (Romans 3:3-5). I can’t say it better than that.
- Communion with God. Instead of running away or escaping, God invites Himself into our pain. If we avoid pain, we miss out on this opportunity. Nothing brings a deeper knowing of someone than one that walks through pain with us.
This whole idea of embracing my pain is new ground for me…at least within the past 10 years or so. It seems odd to say it, but I have found joy in the midst of much of my pain and suffering.
As I look toward many more months of recovery I know I will suffer physical pain, but i fully expect that I will reap great benefit physically, emotionally, and relationally.
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