Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What’s the point of reliving my pain?

Photo by Amadeo Muslimović on Unsplash

Talking about grief, trauma, devastating life events is hard; many people don’t see the point. ‘Just be happy’, ‘focus on the future’, ‘going back there doesn’t serve any purpose’, ‘what’s the point of reliving my pain?’
Many people over the past ten years have asked me, in a sort of perplexed way, ‘why do you bang on so much about pain and the sad things in life? Shouldn’t you focus on more positive things?’
So, why would I write so much on pain and much less on the joys of life?
It’s because I know that it’s only when we deal
with our pain that true joy comes into view.
It’s because I know we cannot be truly happy or free without being completely prepared to face our truth — including the very things that came against us to hurt and harm us. Jesus says, ‘The truth will set you free.’ (John 8:32)
Many of these things that have come against us we never chose. But they happened. So, there’s no point staying resentful or in denial as if we could wish these facts of our lives away by ignoring them.
When we begin to accept the things we cannot change, we’re on a trajectory toward true freedom and joy.
It takes courage to live this life well. Little blessing and more ultimate pain is served up for those who meander through without processing their feelings, while much blessing and less ultimate pain is served to those who bravely traverse the truth that life dishes up. Little blessing comes from those who refuse to enter their pain, but much blessing comes from those who face with God what the Lord promises to heal. True servanthood comes out of humbly facing the hurts of life.
Facing the hurts of life is about resolving not to be paralysed anymore by fear. It’s fear that stands in the way of freedom. But if we step beyond our fear, which I agree seems to be a massive risk, we stand to be rewarded.
If we cannot face the hurts of life, what happens? We continue along the road to disconnection and ultimately narcissism. Unresolved hurts in us propound our capacity to hurt others. The disconnection of emotional emptiness refuses to meet loved ones in ways they need from us. Without dealing with our pain we cannot empathise, we become more entitled, and we tend to exploit others through manipulation.
What’s the point of reliving my pain?
It is the step necessary to begin the process of healing it.
And even if we commence a journey of a thousand miles with a single step, all that’s required of us is to keep stepping. That we can do. All the way out of our pain and into a reality of life that accepts pain come what may.
If we enter the process of healing our pain, we do so with the appropriate, wise support; knowledgeable, trustworthy people, listening with you to the Spirit of God, are the best guides.
Imagine, from there, living in a way that anticipates and even expects pain. As we step out of our homes and into the days of our lives, that’s God’s magnanimous invitation to us all; step bravely into the coming hurts and all will be okay, for the Lord is with us.
Imagine with me the possibility of God’s pleasure beyond the pain by allowing pain its inevitable place.
True pleasure makes an acceptable place for pain. Indeed, if we can accept pain, nothing can really harm us.
It may sound bizarre, but to relieve our pain we need to be prepared to relive our pain. It’s not done haphazardly, though. Done with guidance, kindness, care and support, we may find more of what we’re looking for deep within the pain itself.
For further reading, ponder Ecclesiastes 7:1-14.

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