Go Ahead, Feel that Pain

Cramps are a killer. {My apologies, Dude-readers…stick with me} Ladies, you know exactly what I mean. They create levels of pain that fall on a spectrum, anywhere from simply annoying to a DEFCON 1, staying-home-from-work-in-tears kind of deal. There’s just nothing else to say about them… they’re pure pain.

And for this kind of pain, there are little miracles like Advil, Motrin, and Aleve. We know what causes the pain, we know it will be temporary, and we don’t have to live with it and let it ruin our lives.

It was a big day for me when I actually realized that pills like this, while they’re super helpful, don’t actually FIX our pain. The chemicals don’t travel to the site of our pain and do something to stop it. They can help with inflammation and such, but when it comes to the actual pain, it doesn’t go away. These pills work with our nervous system to basically block our brain’s ability to understand that we are in that pain. This works for a short period of time, to get us through a day or two, then the actual pain starts to go away and we need these “helpers” less and less.

But these little pills also cause problems of their own if we take them for too long or if we take them too often. See, they’re meant to be temporary, short-term. But if we go to them to stave off our pain for too long, they can actually cause damage to other organs, or they can continue to mask pain that actually could be trying to alert us to bigger problems we need to deal with.

That’s really the same with anything we go to in life that gives us temporary comfort. Some of us don’t take pain-relievers very often, but there are plenty of things we medicate with so we don’t have to notice pain as much.

Late-night ice cream? Sounds like what the doctor ordered. Too-many-shows-in-a-row on Netflix? That will eat up some hours so we don’t have to actually deal with stuff. Working long hours so we can finally feel like we accomplished something since we feel like we’re failing at the other millions of things in our lives? That’s a pill many of us pop far too often.

There are lots of things in life that we run to so that we can feel better short-term. And short-term, they aren’t all necessarily bad. But for the big pain in life, let’s not just block our brain and heart from feeling that. Let’s press into those painful things and see what’s really causing it so it can actually get fixed.

If you’re like me, perhaps you have a lot of painful/difficult things starting to pile up on you. Let’s go one at a time. After all, nobody gets a hip replacement, a heart transplant, and splints their broken fingers all in one day. I mean, *disclaimer,* I’m no doctor here, but I don’t think that’s usually how it works. We’ve got to triage our pain and address the most critical thing first, right?

What is that thing, that if we let ourselves feel it and deal with it first, will make the maximum positive impact in our lives? Maybe we make the commitment to have integrity in our speech at all times, which would improve our relationships as well as take care of our people-pleasing/over-committing pains. Or for some of us it might be focusing on our physical health by starting to exercise regularly, which not only improves our body but our quality of sleep and our mental attitude. Or perhaps it’s time to finally seek some professional health for those traumas visited upon you in childhood, that have insidiously been keeping you from living a full life for far too long.

My dear people, if you have the cramps, take the dang OTC stuff and get on with what you need to do. But feel the rest. Face those pains head-on and root them out. Don’t allow the temporary fixes and defense mechanisms to mask the pain so long that we can’t see the other, more serious problems. After all, if ignored long enough, these small pains will demand our attention later when they refuse to be masked and have created much bigger, harder-to manage pains.

Take the pain in prayer to the God who created you. Take the truth of it to a trusted friend to help you start the next steps. Take it to a professional who can help you sift through the ancient kinds of pain. Use this pain as a wake-up call now, and don’t be afraid to feel it.

Lovely people, I’m a firm believer that God uses many things in this world to help us through life. One of the big things he uses is other people. Whether that be in our own community of people or through the music, art, or writing of someone we’ve never met, we are all really here for one another. As someone who loves to read, I find a lot of helpful wisdom in good books. Others’ experiences can give us the ME TOO realization and help us to not feel alone. Off the top of my head, here are some books that have been instrumental to me in helping me process pain and see it as an opportunity. Many are written from a Christian faith-perspective but can be helpful to anyone.

One More Step by Rachel Wojo

CS Lewis’s The Problem of Pain

Daring Greatly and Rising Strong by Brene Brown

Beth Moore’s Breaking Free

Glennon Doyle Melton’s Carry On Warrior and Love Warrior

Love & Freedom to you,

Krysten 

 

 

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