Posted by: zephaniah317 | January 27, 2007

Pain

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when test and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  -James 1:2-4

The Father is with me.  I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.  In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.  But take heart!  I’ve conquered the world.  -John 16:33

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed something.  But I’ve dealt with it differently.  Basketball season has begun again.  And, I’m in the worst physical shape of my life, I have no doubt.  The only exercise I’ve had in the past year is golf and paintball, and that ain’t “getting it done”.  So, needless to say, I’m in pain.  It’s usually the 2nd day after the game or practice.  Hamstrings tighten up, shin splints show up in full force, my back aches.  I’ve been very weary at times coming home at the end of a day’s work having lugged these aches and pains around for 8 or 9 hours.This year, though, through some of my experiences, God has shown me that in order for my muscles to grow, I have to experience pain.  When I take that perspective into the day with me, at those times when even getting up from my desk is somewhat of a chore, I can push through it, knowing that good things lie on the other side.  Sure enough, the next day, I feel stronger.

It’s amazing how this applies to my emotional life.  I’ve been sheltered most of it, so I’ve usually gone with one of two choices when dealing with pain:  avoid it at all costs or medicate it.  My brain has absolutely raced at times of stress or the possibility of pain (you know, the emotional stuff – rejection, loss, conflict) in order to best save myself from it.  And when I’ve gotten burned in the past, I’ve turned to pornography, TV, self-pity, whining, complaining (oh, if you only knew), gaining the acceptance of people, anything to make it go away quickly.

But now, I hear His voice saying what He’s been trying to say over the din and noise in my brain all along:  “Just feel it.  Don’t insulate.  Don’t medicate.  Just feel it for all it’s worth.  It won’t kill you.  Talk to me about it.  It’ll make you stronger, and you’ll have to lean on me more, and you’ll be OK.  I promise.  It’s the way I made you.”

But, alas, we’re soft as a culture.  Afraid to trust, afraid to love, afraid to take those chances.  And when we get hurt, we medicate, and we’re good at it.  Alcohol, drugs, sex, toys, spending, media, status, money, you name it.  Don’t you see it?  I mean, really, when was the last time I went running headlong into a situation when we knew we were gonna get hurt, just so we could grow?!?!?  What if Jesus had gone down to the local pub and gotten wasted instead of praying in the Garden the night he was arrested?  Seriously!

Well, that’s love for you.  I cannot avoid pain in this world and fulfill God’s purpose for my life…it’s imminent.  In fact, I don’t want to pray sometimes (OK, most of the time) because it hurts.  Now I know why.  He’s making me tougher.  Lord, “break my leg if You must, keep me close to You.” (“Too Many Miles” by the Waiting).  No more insulating.  No more medicating.  Enough.  No more feeling like or acting like a 16 year old in a 37-year-old body.  Enough.

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Responses

  1. […] God is a Warrior Filed under Blog […]

  2. powerful entry, i appreciate your vulnerability in this post.

    & thanks for the time zone help!

  3. the limitations of the typed word may keep this comment from its intended impact so i’ll try to say it to you in person when i see you next….

    I AM SO PROUD OF YOU, BROTHER!!

  4. […] but I’m impatient to continue/get started.  And I know it’s gonna hurt.  Can’t grow without pain.  I must choose, I will choose to not squirm out of the fire, whatever form it comes in.  Thanks […]


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