We all feel pain.
But we all have different ways of dealing with it.
Some people overeat. Myself included. *sighs*
Some go to far away places.
Some spend their time on video games.
Some drown themselves in alcohol.
Artists usually make use of the pain to make poetry, music or any form of art.
Sporty people sometimes end up training harder or spend more hours at the gym.
Some career-driven people usually work themselves to death.
…and a lot of other things people do when they are in pain.
I’ve had my fair share of seasons where I experienced different kinds of pain. And I would like to share a few things that I learned along the way during those times.
1. Pain is something you acknowledge.
Remember John Green?
“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”
And I think everyone gave a nod to that. Because that’s just how pain is. It demands to be felt and the more we deny our pain the more it eats us up. The more we deny it, the more it demands our acknowledgement.
I’d like to make myself clear about this though.
Yes, it demands acknowledgement. But it doesn’t have to be the boss of you.
Acknowledging and surrendering are two different things.
One of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re in pain is to be honest about it.
It will still hurt. But it will stop you from suppressing it.
Suppressing pain actually makes things worse because it’s like stacking bombs. When you hit your limit, every single bomb explodes and you just end up losing it and lash out. So it’s not just you who’s going to be affected. Everyone around you including the people that you love.
“Okay. You’re there. But you can’t just order me to do things. You ain’t the boss of me.”
2. Pain may sometimes be God’s megaphone.
I know how hard-headed I am. God has already shown me that many times. But He still loves me and keeps on guiding me despite my failures in obeying His instructions. One of His ways of letting me know that I’m off the track is pain.
The still-small-voice of the Holy Spirit is always there. It’s just that we’re not attentive, too distracted, or we just keep on deliberately ignoring the whispers. Thus, the megaphone.
“No, Son. Not there. Come here.”
In my case, when I’m trying to impress people and I’m not focused on Him and His will, pain starts to sink in. Only then will I realize that I’ve been trying to impress people and that I have kept on ignoring Him.
And one thing I like about realizing that it’s a megaphone from God is this:
Just like any loving Father would, He would come to you as you call on Him.
Imagine this: A child with a wound can still feel the pain but the presence and assurance of his Father calms him down.
3. Pain can sometimes be self-inflicted, without proper basis, and/or exaggerated.
I’m guilty about this. There are a lot of times when things already look bad and there I am making it worse by feeding myself with insults and lies that I never even heard from people.
I remember one of my closest friends say to me one time when I had issues with reaching out to a friend,
“Is that really how he made you feel? Or is that how YOU made you feel?”
True enough. It’s just me.
Pain hurts but it may sometimes be necessary for growth.
But self-inflicted pain? It’s useless and unhelpful.
I know that self-harm sometimes give temporary relief (I’ve talked to a lot of depressed people before.) but that’s just like putting band-aids on bullet holes. It doesn’t really fix anything.
Friends, please do not entertain the idea of suicide.
Trust me, you don’t really want to die. You just want the pain to stop.
Those are two different things.
4. On the brighter side, Overcoming a season of pain strengthens you.
“The greatest warriors are not those who are unscathed but those who have endured and fought a lot of battles.”
When we start to look at pain as an inevitable part of life, and when we accept that it’s needed, we grow in maturity. Plus we get to develop the muscle of submitting the pain we have to God.
You also get the chance to reveal all underlying issues that God is working on in your life.
It can be pride, envy, abandonment issues, insecurities, lack of discipline and a lot of other things that some us struggle with. And as we identify the issues, we get to process it with God and with the godly people around us.
As I always say, we can’t solve a problem that we haven’t identified yet.
5. Also, pain makes your compassion and understanding grow.
“I know how you feel. I’ve been there.”
Disclaimer: I’m not saying that we want to experience every bad thing just to help others using our own experience. We can learn from other people’s mistakes and experiences. The bible tells about people who made mistakes and we can actually learn from these so we could avoid doing them as well.
But if you went through something similar to what people are going through…
the assurance that they are not alone…
that someone somehow understands…
that someone actually got over a similar kind of pain that they’re dealing with…
It really helps people in pain to continue with life. It gives them hope that they can overcome it too. So I’m gonna say it now:
Your season of pain can later be used as an inspiration to other people.
My dear friend, if you’re reading this and you are going through pain, please keep going.
Seek help and don’t fight alone.
Someone out there will need your help too in the future. So don’t give up.
Of course, we all know that dealing with pain doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes time to heal and to actually learn to change our response to pain. But one thing is for sure. And I want to share this assurance we could actually get from God.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
May you find peace in God. God bless!