Some of you will call me a masochist after reading this, and I am good with that; I’ve been called worse 🙂
I embrace pain. There…. I wrote it.
I have not always welcomed pain. In fact, I was like most–I did anything and everything to avoid pain. Now, I am not just talking about physical pain, like in childbirth; although I did have an epidural. I am also talking about emotional pain. I could always manage physical pain easier than I could emotional pain, so I avoided the latter like a plague.
After many decades, I finally connected a recurring theme in my life. I noticed that I encountered the same people with the same problems again and again….they just took on new faces or forms.
After hiring a personal coach to “get in shape,” I had a tremendous breakthrough. Now, the coach was a competitive body-builder….the guy was a beast. After my first session with him, I was unable to walk….for about five days. I cannot describe the amount of pain that I experienced. Let’s just say that on the drive home from the first workout, I was timing the traffic lights so that I would not have to step on the brakes. I slid down the stairs in my home, on my bottom, and made sure to drink very little so that I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom. Got the picture? I was in PAIN. Every move was evaluated to determine how much pain would be caused.
And while I was in a great deal of physical pain, something broke within me emotionally. It was as if there was a connection between physical pain and emotional pain, and once I crossed the physical threshold, an emotional barrier was crossed too. For the first time in my life, I experienced my deepest emotional pain to date:
I knew that my mother never loved me.
The pain of that realization reduced me to uncontrollable sobbing….for hours. To the point that I had to reschedule a meeting that I had later that day, because I was unable to talk. Psychologist say that the need for parental love is crucial for a child’s development; therefore, I had to believe that she loved me to survive. Friends, the proof of her lack of love for me was very obvious, but I needed to believe that she did, so I deceived myself. And that was at the root of why I encountered the same people problems over and over again. Until I was able to identify, confront, and accept my mother’s lack of love for me, I continually attracted people like her. #BOOM
The Other Side of Pain
Once I was able to cross that emotional boundary and accept that my mother who gave birth to me didn’t love me, my life transformed. That childlike desperation to be loved was gone. The overbearing need for acceptance was gone. The constant search for validation….gone. They were replaced with an intimate relationship with an all loving, totally accepting God.
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. Psalm 27:10
But, isn’t an intimate relationship with God something that is available to everyone? Yes, it is; however, few will desperately pursue it because their need will never be as great. Think about it this way: if you came to my home, and I offered you a drink of water you might refuse, because you can get water anywhere. But if we were desert-thirsty, we would break into a home to get water because our need would be so great.
My need for a connection with a loving parent was so great that only God could fill it. Either I sought him or I died–those were my only options.
Your Pain has a Purpose
Today, I am grateful to my mother, because without her I would not have the relationship that I have with the Lord. Why? Because she would have been my first option. I would have ran to her instead of running to the Lord. I would have sought her counsel instead of consulting the Word of God. And when in trouble, I might have looked to her to bail me out. All things that most children expect, deserve and, all too often, take for granted.
Through the process of my healing and forgiveness, I asked myself:
- What if my mom’s only job was to give birth to this beautiful baby girl? Well done mom!
- What if her inability to nurture was to demonstrate to me how to nurture a child? She was a great teacher!
- What if she displayed a lack of care and concern so that I would be a caring parent who knows how to value a child? She scored again!
- And maybe–just maybe, she wanted me to have more than a Sunday relationship with God? She was a great role-model.
Friends, my mother did the best she could with the tools she had. For I choose to believe that when I needed withdrawals, she would have eagerly given them, if deposits had been made into her. But she was empty. Not only do I forgive her, I am grateful to her.
I have a few questions for you:
- What is on the other side of your journey through pain?
- Why do you refuse to discover the purpose of your pain?
- What if all the things that you are hoping, praying and believing for are just on the other side of the pain?
- Do you really want to leave this earth wondering, what if….?
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
What I know about Pain
- It is not forever–it has an expiration date
- It will not kill you, but kill the fear that has held you back
- It has a purpose–allow it to do its job
I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Tony Robbins