We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death (2 Corinthians 1:8-9, NIV).
This morning has been a little tough. I was up at 5, which is a habit I am trying to form again in order to accomplish everything in my day. And as I sat in the silence, I began to feel the pain of what I have been going through recently. For a while, I distracted myself with thoughts of what I had to do, and then… everything was quiet and immediately tears welled up in my eyes. I swallowed them.
And then I let them fall. I felt my pain.
Trials and hard times are part of life. In fact, they are an important part of life. Yet, we desperately try to avoid any kind of pain, and when the difficult times come we frantically search for the nearest exit. I think that as a culture, we spend so much time, money and energy trying to mask our pain. Anything, not to feel.
- We stuff our pain with food.
- We shop our pain away at the mall.
- We hide from our pain online.
- We medicate our pain.
- We change the subject of our pain.
- We drug and drink our pain away.
Brene Brown said “We are the most in debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in US history.” A statement that is hard to refute…
I think all of us should give ourselves permission to feel pain… We have feelings for a reason, and I don’t believe we would have been created with them if they didn’t serve a purpose. So feel the pain of today, yesterday and maybe tomorrow. Feel it.
Let the pain from tragic events, childhood memories, broken hearts, and disappointment wash over you. Admit regret, shame and embarrassment. Cry for loss and hug your discomfort. I believe the most beautiful life is often the most broken life. The ashes of death may very well be the fertile soil from which a new life of victory and promise will grow. God is forever covering each pain with His infinite love and mercy, bringing hope and encouragement where there was once only despair and death. We simply need to remember who God really is – the God of all comfort and compassion.That is what I am in the process of doing.
Food, pills, shopping, or your drug of choice will not heal your brokenness. You might look put together. You may even feel better, but your pain will continue to do damage. Your pain will be evident in the way you treat yourself and others, and in how you let people treat you. We need to love ourselves enough to feel our pain instead of pushing it aside. Shallow love rescues easily and quickly. Real love walks with us through the trial. We don’t know exactly what trials Paul endured, but there were bad enough to make Paul think he was going to die. Still, God loved Paul, protected him and controlled the circumstances, using them for His glory and Paul’s ultimate good.
So my challenge today is to feel my pain and offer hope to a hurting heart. Feeling pain lets the healing begin. Only by acknowledging feelings, admitting and embracing whatever hurts so much, can I find the strenghth to ask for help, fix what I can, and then dig in to living better and loving more deeply.
Trouble strengthens our faith and builds endurance, the ability to stay under the load. We have a loving Father who is committed to building the character of His Son in us. His love wants what is best for us, not what is easiest. It is only when you feel your pain that you know how to let it go. Only when you feel your pain can you embrace the joy, love and happiness that you deserve.
I think if we allow ourselves to realize that pain and trials are a source of strength in our lives, we can dance in the deepest valleys and embrace our greatest pain as a friend because what we do and who we become is determined by the darkest moments of our lives.
I just need to ensure that I don’t trust my emotions or give credence to feelings when they tell me to give up. I can step out in faith and into His perfect provision…no matter how down I may feel. I am determined to keep walking through my fear and choose to praise Him.
“So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure.” 1 Peter 1:6