Posts Tagged ‘pain’

Running from pain

We are always running.

 

Okay, let me try this again.

 

trapped

 

I have spent most of my life running. Running from suffering. Avoiding loss. Trying not to get hurt. Afraid.

 

But Jesus wasn’t afraid of suffering. He embraced it on the cross for us. For me. He lived His entire life knowing how and when it would be over. He knew that He would be separated from all those dear to Him. That no one would fully understand Him, or His purpose. That though surrounded by disciples and the multitude, He would still be alone because they couldn’t fully understand His struggle. Only He knew that He was going somewhere they couldn’t follow.

 

I’ve been so afraid of losing that sometimes I held on to things more tightly than I should have. I lived trapped in a box of fear. Always afraid of getting a text, a phone call, a message that spelled doom for myself or my loved ones.

 

But to live in fear of suffering, loss, sickness, or death, is to prevent yourself from fully living. Negative circumstances and pain is unavoidable. But we don’t have to let hurt change and cripple us. All we can do is pray for strength.

 

Recently I went to go watch a movie that displayed the relationship Jesus has with those of His children who are suffering. In this movie the protagonist not only got to meet Jesus but he got to meet God as well. He began to accuse God of leaving Jesus when He (God) let Him (Jesus) die on the cross. But then God showed the protagonist of this story, His (God’s) own nail-pressed hands. God too was wounded by Jesus’ sacrifice. God told him (the protagonist) that He (God) never left Jesus. Just like He (God) never leaves us.

 

Yes you will face overwhelming circumstances, but God will never leave you. Jesus will never turn His face from you. There is no one better to have on your team. God is more than a mother or a father; he is also a brother, a sister, and a friend. He has your back. He will carry you when you are weak. When you forget Him He will still remember you. I have turned away from God. I felt like He had deserted me. But even as I turned from Him: He kept me, protected me, and He drew me back to His side.

jesushand

 

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#firstworldproblems

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I tend not to complain out loud about my problems unless I am talking to my mother– since we all know it’s every mom’s duty to listen dutifully to just about everything you have to say regardless of whether you are 25 or 40. If I complain about my issues to anyone else it might sound overwhelmingly like #firstworldproblems, an impression that may only be partly wrong. I called my mom once… –just last week if I’m being honest–in the middle of the night after I hadn’t been able to sleep all night for 3 nights in a row, plagued by my own mental demons, and she picked up. She picked up– even though at that time she was with a patient who would be taken off life support soon.

 

She was just reading a few bible verses to him, and I am pretty sure he couldn’t hear her and was totally unaware of his surroundings or anything else for that matter, but I was shocked that she as a physician was taking time out of doing her rounds to read some verses for a patient that couldn’t hear her and to pray for him before he passed… and also that amidst all this that she picked my call because she was worried about me. I proceeded to tell her I was completely fine, she should get back to work and after I hung up I began to cry. The perspective that the call gave me forced me to tell myself that: hey you should be happy and grateful you’re not deathly ill or dying, and that your problems are so small, and in the grand scheme of things– probably even meaningless.

 

But the truth is minimizing our problems by comparing them to someone with bigger problems can be both helpful and at the same time hurtful. It can invalidate your hurt and your pain and trust me it is incredibly hard to heal from something you don’t fully let yourself feel. If you don’t come to terms with pain in your life because ‘hey there are people starving in Africa and you have it much better than them,’ which may very well be true, but that doesn’t mean that your suffering, albeit privileged suffering, is any less real or any less hurtful. Much of our own life is shaped by our mind–our thoughts, and thoughts can be powerful enough to cause a person to pull a trigger, jump of a bridge, or prevent them from trying to achieve something they have always wanted to achieve.

 

It is good to be grateful and to see life from a perspective other that your own. Be thankful for your privilege. But also be gentle with yourself. Know that it is okay to let the small things sometimes get to you. It’s okay to not be invincible all the time. To feel weak, overwhelmed. It’s okay to simply just let yourself feel. Now it’s another thing to dwell, to sink, to never move forward. But just for today I want you to be honest with yourself about the emotions you’ve been keeping bottled up, the frustrations laying there right under the surface of all the pretense and fake smiles and cheerful demeanor. If you can’t be real to people at least be real to yourself, because honesty takes you to a place where true healing can finally begin.

 

Sleep

I am encased by this deep fear.
Night after night sleep evades me.
I seek peace but I cannot reach it.
An enemy chases me that I cannot see.

I call out to my Father, but I don’t know if He hears me.
I am wandering this dark forest alone with no one to guide me.
I ask for direction and all I hear is silence.
I seek love and help from those who dwell on this earth with me,
but their aid is lost just as quickly as it was found.

The journey overwhelms me. I fall, and there is no one to catch me.

I call to my Father in hope that He help me.
That He heed my plight.

I want to give up on hearing His voice.
To claim that He isn’t there,
that He doesn’t care.

But I know He is there.
Standing quietly,
looking on lovingly.
Telling me that the night doesn’t last forever.
That light and relief come with the morning.

So I bide my time and wait.
When I can no longer form words,
and a cry is on my lips,
I just call His name,
Jesus, Jesus,
and I find the peace I need to sleep.

Happy

 

I started about three years ago, recording videos every once in a while, in which I would talk about the things on my mind. I’d gossip to the camera about my own life: the positive breakthroughs, my loved ones, school, and the things I was worrying about at that moment. Sometimes all it’d be is a video of me crying, and not actually saying anything comprehensible. What was the purpose of that you might ask? Well to me it has served as a history of my highs and lows. I can look back and observe my state of mind, the things that were bothering me and see if they were resolved, or if they still aren’t.

I can see how I’ve changed, how I’ve grown, and the ways I’ve stayed the same. And even though there were highs as well as lows in my life I realized I felt the lows more strongly and quickly forgot the highs. Today I logged in another video and literally my exact words when I started recording was “I am so happy.” And I am. 🙂  I’m really happy, and that’s a first. I have a type A personality so for me to not be obsessing over anything is a rarity. Your first inclination may be to ask why? Or what happened that has made me so happy? And the answer is simple. Nothing has happened. 🙂 At least nothing external has happened.

 

My life is not seemingly more perfect than it was a year ago, or 6 months ago, or even a week ago. In fact God has been consistently awesome throughout my life. Yeah I have faced challenges and letdowns that to me—at the time—felt life-shattering. But that is my point. At that “time” it “felt” what I considered to be “life-shattering.” But it in fact did not shatter my life, and how I felt was constrained by time.

 

There are a couple things I have recently come to the realization of:

 

  1. There are very few things that time will not heal.

    Okay so I know you’re reading this and you’ve heard this all before, but you think this statement is not true, or at least that it doesn’t apply to you. That you’re facing something right now that time will not heal. And how do you know this? Well because you’re feeling this pain at this exact moment, and it’s so strong, and has lasted for so long–so surely it will last forever. But humanity has a certain resilience and a great emotional capacity to heal. It may take years. But you can overcome whatever event that has caused you pain—just be patient with yourself.

  2. Happiness – lasting happiness will never come solely from achievements

    …or fame, or another person’s love, etc. Yes these things in that moment can make us happy, but that feeling will not last. The truth is: there is at every moment things in our life that we can dwell on that can make us either happy or unhappy. And it is up to us to make that conscious decision to be happy. Which brings us to my next point,

  3. Happiness is a choice.

    You need to decide you want to live a happy life, and realize that your happiness is up to you. You cannot forever choose to be a victim of circumstance. You have to decide that you will control your emotions; and that your emotions will not control you. And that comes with realizing how easily we let our emotions envelop us. For years I’ve let sadness envelop me and recently I realized I do the same thing with anger. It consumes me and I simply self-implode. Once I realized this I decided to be more purposeful with the way I handle my life and my feelings. So on to the last point:

  4. Be purposeful.

    Why are you unhappy, or angry, or sad, or worried? If you don’t even have quiet time to reflect on your life, how can you improve it? How much time do you take in the day for you? I find peace when I go to the gym every day; it’s a time when I’m doing something just for me. When I walk the 30 minutes from home to work every day instead of using my car, I get time to listen to a sermon, or a TED talk, to think, unwind, and be purposeful about my day. As someone who has struggled with certain things, I have learned what my triggers are and try as much as possible to stay away from those situations.

In closing I just want to encourage you to stop looking for things outside of yourself to bring you lasting happiness. You need to decide to love yourself enough to listen to what you need, and with strength from God you can live the life you want and have the happiness you desire regardless of external circumstances.

I wish you well on your journey to  a happier you 🙂

 

Hated me first

 

hate-debt

 

      They threw stones and it hurt

 

      I fell, tasted blood

 

      or was it dirt.

 

Life is such that you can either disappoint people or you can disappoint yourself. People can hate you, or you can hate yourself. It’s easy to stay in a place of sadness and self pity, but wallowing in misery does nothing to change your circumstances. At some point you need to accept the hand life has dealt you. Accept the the bad times just like you accepted the good and move forward. You can’t force anyone to stay in your life if they have decided it’s their time to go. God has a wonderful way of showing you what is right by taking things away, bringing new things in, and letting some of the old stay.

 

People often have negative things to say but if at every point in life you stay true to yourself and who you are, don’t worry about what everyone else has to say. Luke 6:26 says “Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you.” Instead of focusing on people who quite frankly don’t put food on your table, pay your bills, wake you up every morning, or lift you up when you’re down–focus on God who helps you do all these things. As a Christian when you realize Jesus was hated by many, it’s easier to accept that no matter who you are, people will hate you. In John 15:18, Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

 

    Take heart. God Bless.

Comforted

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“I want to speak yet nothing comes
I find no words to express the depths of darkness
Sometimes I feel the pain is so great that everything will break
The smile is a big cloak that covers a multitude of pains”

Do you know who wrote these words??
I was listening to a TEDx talk on Hope and Hopelessness by Murray Watts and he read this quote. And then he turned to the audience and asked us (I’m saying us like I was there–but I watched the talk from the comfort of my bedroom. Definitely felt like I was part of the audience though).. He asked us, “Which famous 20th century figure penned these words?” And guess who it was?? MOTHER TERESA.

Yes, the same Mother Teresa who won the 1979 Nobel peace prize, who was referred to as the “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta,” and who is admired by both the religious and non-religious for her lifetime dedication to helping others. The very same Mother Teresa who said “peace begins with a smile,” “let no one come to you without leaving happier,” and that “the smile is the beginning of love.”

The truth is Mother Teresa was human, just like us. After hearing this talk I searched for more of her writings in which she shares:

“There is so much contradiction in my soul, no faith, no love, no zeal. . . I find no words to express the depths of the darkness. . . My heart is so empty. . . so full of darkness. . . I don’t pray any longer. The work holds no joy, no attraction, no zeal. . . I have no faith, I don’t believe. . . my cheerfulness is a cloak by which I cover the emptiness and misery. . . . I deceive people with this weapon.”

It’s kinda sad. That someone could be so outwardly amazing, but so inwardly broken. I think though that how she felt describes many people today. People who are so busy keeping up pretenses that they don’t have time to fall apart at Jesus’ feet. It is possible to have a genuine smile that crinkles your skin when it reaches your eyes. It is possible for you to be truly cheerful and be positive about life, even when circumstances are bleak. It is possible for the emptiness to go away, and to swim in faith and love.

I wanted to tell you about Mother Teresa, because in case you’ve ever felt hopeless, you’re in good company: You’re sitting next to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Job in the land of Uz, Paul in Macedonia (where he was “harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within” – 2 Corinthians 7:5). But in the next verse, Paul shares with us an assurance that still applies to us today: “But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us.” (2 Corinthians 7:6)

May God comfort you.

Heal me, and I will be healed

“Pain is inevitable. But suffering is optional.”

Life is full of so much pain and hurt. Whether we are on the giving or the receiving end. And sometimes, it is the inner pain, rather than any physical pain, that hurts the most.

But pain is inevitable. It’s an unavoidable consequence of being alive. The moment we no longer feel anything, we have passed from this life, awaiting the next.

Whether you have inflicted pain on others or are subject to the pain others have inflicted on you, you must not let that pain control you. The most powerful weapon we have in this life is our mind.

Our minds control our feelings of sadness, inadequacy, fear, worry, hopelessness, and guilt. If we learn to control our mind, instead of letting it control us, we can overcome anything.

It’s easier to deal with pain that we feel is undeserved. Because then we can blame someone else. Or we can blame God. But on occasion we will find ourselves in pain that we have caused to come upon ourselves. Pain we feel we deserve.

We can choose to wallow in self-pity, or even self hate. But imagine if we could grasp on to the fact that God does not only heal the pain others inflict on us. But that he also heals the pain we inflict on ourselves.

Healing is a journey. It is not something that happens overnight—even if we want it to. Sometimes we need to sit back and not wallow in tears but rather actively seek God. Actively dwell on things that lift us up, instead of dragging us down.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:4-5

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” – Psalms 103:2-4

“Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” – Jeremiah 17:14