Things happen in life that really hurt. I’m talking beyond the little things that, yes, make us cry, but we pick ourselves back up again pretty quick. I’m talking about the kind of pain that it takes weeks, months, and years to “get over.”
Do we ever truly get over this pain though? And if we do get over this pain, what’s stopping more pain from coming?
Emotional pain is so much different from physical pain, like a cut. After a nasty cut heals, it will probably leave a scar. The scar doesn’t hurt. You can look at it, and maybe remember what you did to get that cut, but it probably doesn’t physically hurt every time you look at that scar. Emotional pain doesn’t just leave scars. It leaves wounds that we try to cover up and “move on” from, often not really even allowing the wound to heal. Even the emotional wounds that people truly have healed from can still hurt. This is what makes healing from an emotional wound is so much different than healing from a physical wound.
Think back to something in your life that left a major emotional injury. For me, it was holding my grandpa’s hand as he died. That was almost two years ago, but honestly, I still cry about it. Probably over time, I won’t cry about it so often, but right now, it’s still a pretty tender wound. When something devastating happens in your life, a lot of well-meaning people will tell you that the pain will “go away.” We’ve been raised in a society where we move on with life, waiting for that day when the pain finally goes away. In attempts to erase the pain, we bury our feelings. We go on with life, doing things that make us “forget” about that pain. When nothing takes away the hurt, we fall into a depression, believing that we will never get over this, and then people around us get frustrated because we just can’t move on.
That pain never truly goes away though. Our incredible brains process and store this pain in different ways, but it’s always there. So, in my opinion, simply waiting until the day when the pain finally just leaves is a waste of time and energy.
A speaker named Robb Nash came to my school a couple weeks ago, and said this: “Pain doesn’t go away. But neither does the strength.”
The reality is that no matter the pain, there is always strength to help you. The strength is not there to get you over the pain or to help you forget the hurt. Rather, I believe it’s there to help you use the pain as a building block for your life. The strength is there to help you reach out and help someone else who is experiencing the same pain you are. The strength is there to keep you from burying this pain, but rather to truly embrace the pain and allow something beautiful to come from it as you move on with your life. That is how an emotional wound heals.
You’ve probably heard that “everything happens for a reason.” To an extent, I believe that’s true. Sometimes though, that reason can be you were being stupid and now you’re enduring the consequences. Or another hurtful person might have dealt a nasty blow. I like Robb Nash’s perspective on why things happen better. He says, “Things don’t happen for a reason. They happen with potential.” With every painful thing that happens in your life, you can choose to become miserable about it, you can pretend that it didn’t happen, or you can use it to do something good. That strength is always going to be there to help you embrace that potential.
Strength comes in many forms. It comes through people in your life who hold you up. It comes from inside of you. It comes from inspirational speeches. It comes from God.
No matter where you are or the pain you are experiencing, I guarantee you that there is a source of strength there that is greater than the pain. Pain blinds us to the resources around us. Often the strength comes in an unexpected form. If you feel like you truly are all out of strength, maybe you need to look for strength in a different form.
I said before that the strength is there to help us embrace the pain. What could you possibly want to embrace in pain? Think for a moment what your life would be like if you had never felt any pain at all. Life would be great right? Except that if you had never felt pain, how would you know what “great” is. Pain allows us to see the good in life. It shows us that we are truly living.
Would you like to read the story of a person who never experienced pain a day in his life? Probably not. Truly great stories come out of the deepest pains in life and the victories that resulted. The painful times in your life are going to make your victories so much sweeter. They’re going to make your story so much more meaningful.
Pain can only be helpful if we choose not to wallow in self-pity and bitterness. If we don’t choose to do something positive with our pain, then it is wasted. And everyone has to go through pain, so why not make something beautiful come from it.
Pain shows us how truly strong we are. For me, it’s also shown how strong my God is. He has been my source of strength. And making beauty come from pain is kind of his specialty.
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. Philippians 4:13 (Amplified Bible)