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Embrace Your Pain (and see what God does) | God Intersections

In an earlier blog I talked about how the pain in our lives effects doing our best.  I have observed that a great deal of my life is spent avoiding or minimizing the pain in my life.  Pain comes in all forms:

  1. Physical pain as in someone or something is hurting us.
  2. Emotional pain someone (including ourselves) inflicts on us because we won’t give them what they want.
  3. Pain caused by fear of what might or might not happen to us (our lack of control).
  4. Etc. (there are others)

The time and energy spent trying to manage, avoid, hide and run from the pain does not resolve anything.  Matter of fact all of these Avoidance Behaviors actually exacerbate the problem.  And they keep us from making our best choices.  In my own life  I have found when confronted with a situation causing me pain (say my wife is doing something I don’t approve of) my first reaction is to try and fix the problem.  Being an expert “try and fix everything” kind of guy I can personally attest to the fact that this “fix it” mentality produces no lasting results.  My attempts to “Fix It” produce stress in the relationship (ie. I’ll verbally attack my wife’s choice) and that stress causes her behavior to change for the short term.  As time goes by her behavior simply reverts to it’s original form.

Not only has this “Fix It” behavior proven ineffective, I recently realized that I was also essentially “Playing God”  in her life.  What gives me the right to decide how another person should act anyway let alone my wife?  She has her own free will and can choose whatever she desires.  When I “shoulded on” her (as in “you should do this”) I was only attempting to project my ways and beliefs onto her.   Funny that in 30 years of marriage this approach has never worked.  How much better to simply listen and encourage her and let the power of a loving relationship provide the real value.

Having given up the “Fixing It”  approach I then moved to the avoiding approach.  This typically involved running away or ignoring her or building thick walls she couldn’t get through.   As I learned more about loving others I discovered that while this approach avoided “shoulding on” people it also resulted in me avoiding the relationship and the painful situation.    And these Avoidance Behaviors prevented me from loving her unconditionally in the situation.  In essence my choice to try and fix or avoid the pain was determining my response to the situation.  And that response was not working.

The God Idea I received was to “Embrace the Pain”.  Having no idea what that meant I experimented.  What I found was that “Embracing the Pain” meant giving myself permission to experience the hurt and anguish and discomfort (this is best done with the help of the Living God).  And Embracing the Pain was all those things.  I also discovered some things are just too hard to experience in my current reality.  When I find one of those I note it and “put it on the shelf” of my life.  God will help me with those issues when I’m able.   The good news is that I have found I am able (with God’s help) to embrace the vast majority of my pain.

And when I embraced my pain I discovered three very powerful things:

  1. I SURVIVED and it didn’t hurt near as much as I thought it would.  In other words, I could do it!
  2. I was now FREE to make the loving choice.  One not colored by my fears.
  3. Making the loving choice created the kind of relationship that PRODUCED JOY and peace and hope.

Be encouraged, Embrace Your Pain and find the kind of relationships that produce life.

Mark

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