Pain hurts. It is unpleasant. A digging kind of sorrow. A nagging sort of torture.
As such, we avoid pain at all costs. It is a classic human instinct. We see pain coming and we fight or run. We hide from pain. The fear of agony cripples us.
When inevitable pain finds its way into our story, we do our best to quiet it. We rub dirt over it, sweep it under the rug, pretend it isn’t there. We lie to our friends, our spouse, even our own self. Our childlike instinct tells us to ignore it until it goes away. Our society tells us to get over it quickly, that we aren’t okay if we don’t feel okay (or pretend to).
But it doesn’t quite work, does it? Sorrow is like an alarm clock. It won’t go off until you acknowledge it. We cannot explain away our pain. Nor can we outrun it. So many of us are acting in unhealthy ways because of years and years, layer upon layer, of unaddressed pain.
Let The Healing Come
Our pursuit of healing takes many forms. But there is only one way to truly heal.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, the quickest way to heal is to press into the hurt. Not to make an idol out of it or drive yourself over the cliff, but to name it and address it. Share the truth of your hurt with those who love you most. It will hurt more upfront, but the back end is a quicker path to healing.
Pain is a significant blow to our expectations. It makes us question our reality, our worldview, our comprehension of who God is, who we are, and how life works. The natural tendency is to look for a shortcut to get us back on track. It’s natural to want the pain to end.
Skipping steps creates these chasms in our life. The result is a confused spirit. A mind, heart, and soul that know there is a gap. A hole unfilled and unaddressed.
The great fear is that pressing into pain is succumbing to it, allowing it to be master. This certainly is not impossible. It happens all the time.
The way we keep on the right side of this balance is to bring others in and be honest about what we are thinking and feeling. Habitual pain feeds on secrecy. Finding the balance is not easy. But it is a worthwhile pursuit. Find mentors. Find help. But do not try to avoid the pain. Ducking it simply will not work.
Along with the very real tragedy of pain, sorrow is an opportunity. It can be a path to growth, intimacy, and perseverance. As such, the best way to get over pain is to feel your way through it honestly. There might be a lesson to be learned, or a relationship emboldened. There might be an element of character developed. But none of it happens without the true expression of the hurt within.
We cannot side-step our hurt by ignoring it. The only way around is through. And in the end, a messy acknowledgment is the quickest route to healing.