Pain

A good friend of mine (who takes amazing pictures – you’ll often see them on here…) is in social work and lost a client this weekend. After reading her post, I began to dwell on pain. No sooner did I begin to ponder the scope and purpose when I realized I was trying to view an entire mountain with my nose pressed to the rock. The questions are overwhelming. My heart threatened to burst in comprehending the intensity of a pain so deep that it would push a woman over the edge into a fatal and frigid body of water, and then just as my eyes begin to open to the reality, my heart became colder than the water that consumed this woman.

Why have I become so dulled to pain? In fear of feeling too much, my mind shuts every door that leads to anguish. I feel empathy… I feel pain… but only to a certain point. “It’s not real.” Of course it’s real, but that mantra, that phrase that you repeat to yourself subconsciously when you’re watching a tragic drama or a tearful scene in a TV show, does it penetrate the line between fiction and reality? That switch you flip to keep yourself from crying in the back of the movie theater, does it flip itself when you’re listening to something real? Do you find yourself switching off emotion when it gets to be too much, even when what you’re witnessing is no longer fiction?

When I’m reading scripture, and I’m dwelling on the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and when I’m trying to allow the weight of that sacrifice to soften my pride and break my heart, I find myself visualizing the story on a mental screen. As it flickers in front of my mind’s eye (likely scenes from The Passion), it happens. I’m on the verge of breaking down, feeling something, and the switch flips again. I coldly watch, the image fades, and I’m back in my bedroom with a bible in my lap, and I cannot. Even. Cry. I’m cold.

This woman felt pain at a level so deep, that she was able to overcome what keeps the rest of us above water: that powerful fear and will to live that forces us to swim up and take a breath. I cannot feel a fraction of that pain. I do not want to feel the kind of pain that leads to death. But I do want to feel the kind of pain that leads to repentance. I want to feel anguish because anguish leads to that tight relationship with the Lord that I so desire. You can’t experience true passion without anguish.

We watched a sermon on anguish in Sunday school a while back and it has really stuck with me.

I am asking the Lord to remove the frigid exterior from my heart and open it up to the pain that I know will save me from worldliness and apathy. I’m tearful for the thought of being so self centered that I cannot truly empathize. If I cannot feel the pain of the cross, I will never truly bind myself to the message of the cross. If I cannot feel the pain of the lost, I will never evangelize the way I was called. If I cannot feel the pain of the weary and burdened, how will I serve with a pure heart? How will I live out what Jesus called me to do? My motives will be sinful and impure until I can truly feel the anguish that leads us all to action.

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4 Comments

Filed under Faith

4 responses to “Pain

  1. ~Bree~

    Careful what you wish for… it is possible to be on the other end of the extreme. One assumption so many make, is that when a person succumbs to their pain and "gives up", that they didn't have God in their lives or that their relationship with God wasn't strong enough. That's simply not true. No matter how strong your relationship with God is, anguish can overtake you at any moment. Why, then, doesn't God step in and stop those with whom He has a strong relationship? Who knows. But it happens. My point is this: only you know what is right for you, but don't underestimate what it is within you that makes you shut down, or dismiss it completely. It may be God's way of protecting you. Maybe you are not at a place within yourself that you are capable of handling such emotions yet. It's easy to be insulted by such a thought, but trust God in this. If you are meant to feel more, let it go and you will. If you don't, don't feel like you're failing… just accept it as it must be where God wants you for now.And most importantly, remember that the lack of ability to feel anything does not mean you will never get anywhere on your walk with God, either. You can bind yourself to the message of the cross, evangelize, and serve and all of that without the emotions. You CAN. It's not as easy as it is for those who feel it, but you can. If our relationship with God and our spirituality was based on the way we feel, disaster would occur. God is about what's in your heart, but what is in your heart has little to do with the fleeting and wishy washy emotions you FEEL. FEELING it is nice, but it is a privilge, a luxury, a tool – NOT a necessity. There is nothing wrong with if you if it isn't there. You may just be different from most – but NOT necessarily broken. Just as having the strongest possible relationship with God does not mean you will not succumb to taking your own life due to anguish, not being able to feel emotions does not mean your relationship with God is not at it's strongest.And even if you feel that despite all of that you are meant to feel more… let it happen when it's time for it to happen. Dig deep and get raw and figure out what it is that is acting as a wall but let the emotion come when the time is right – and don't get impatient for it to come, either. There's a reason for everything.

  2. Kimmama

    If our relationship with God and our spirituality was based on the way we feel, disaster would occur. God is about what's in your heart, but what is in your heart has little to do with the fleeting and wishy washy emotions you FEEL. FEELING it is nice, but it is a privilge, a luxury, a tool – NOT a necessity. There is nothing wrong with if you if it isn't there. You may just be different from most – but NOT necessarily broken.Thank you so much for reminding me of this.

  3. Lisa

    Hi Kim, Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I am very touched by your post and how open you are. It was very well written. On a completely different subject, I said you live abou 1 1/2 west of C. We are moving to Geneva. I know it is west also. I really don't have much of a sense about the area, at all. I have never been to this area. Driven through Chicago en route to Milwaukee, once. That is it. Anyway, just wondering how far you are from Geneva. My email address is nursegirl1994 (at) gmail (dot) comI would love to get your sense of the area. Ideas about churches. Anything would be great. Thanks, Lisa @ Blessed With Grace Blog

  4. Aggie

    Thanks for your comment on my post! I loved your post too! Especially the part about asking God to help you to truly empathize with the heavy hearted, in order to use that for His glory. I cannot think of all that Christ has done for me (not just death on the cross, but all that He left behind, gave up, endured, leading up to that death on the cross) without a lump rising up in my throat. And not that I deserved anything that He did (more like completely undeserving) but because He loved me even AS a sinner. Incomprehensible love! "Greater love has no one than this that He lay down His life for His friends?" (John 15:13)Oh how I would love to love with a love like His! He takes ALL of our burdens if we will simply give them to Him.And pain. Pain can be a good thing. Pain can drive us too Him. Pain is what broke my pride and drove me to Him. Pain is what grabbed ahold of you when you thought of a life that was lost and asked Him to help you to feel it more deeply in order to be a more useful instrument for Him.Praise God for the pain that moves us in such ways. Praise God if we can respond to pain in a way that glorifies Him!

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