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The Gain of Pain

“Pain’s main function is to alert your focus to the real problem, or wound, betrayal or hurt.”

Christa Black Gifford

Whether we’ve been physically or emotionally hurt, pain lets us know something is terribly wrong. Pain informs us that we have been hurt and alerts us that not everything is right in our world. That is the good purpose of pain.

I prefer to avoid pain at all costs. I’d rather deny its existence and sweep it under the rug and pretend it’s not there. The problem with this response, is eventually I begin to trip over those lumps under the carpet. Undealt pain will return, so it behooves us to take care of our wounds when they happen. Freedom comes not from trying to fix our pain or avoid it. Rather, the way of escape occurs, as we face and embrace our pain.

We first embrace our pain by being aware of it, acknowledging it, and putting words to it. “I feel sad, lonely, upset, frustrated.” Speaking how we feel, is like holding up a mirror in front of us, showing us a reflection of our hurt. Clarity comes as we identify the source of pain. Why are you feeling what you’re feeling? Why do you want to raid the refrigerator right after you have had a full meal? What just happened to warrant a need for comfort? What thought, most likely a lie, erupted in your mind that compels you to react or hide? These are questions we may ponder to uncover the cause of our pain.

After we admit our hurt, then we need to feel our pain. In Job 30:16-17, Job described his pain: “And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest.” Grieving our loss and disappointment and letting go of our expectations, are ways which help us heal.

Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to heal and not hide, or to feel and not fix. In order to live from our heart and not from our hurt, we must first feel and then fix.

After we take these steps, we will not only be free to be our authentic selves, but we will be able to grab the hand of others in pain and lead them out of their captivity into a field of freedom. That’s what we can gain from pain.

“Acknowledgment of your current pain is the most powerful first step towards healing. Instead of running from your wounds…it’s time to turn around and face them, realizing that pain itself is not the problem.”

Christa Black Gifford

Relevant Reflections:

  1. How do you usually respond to pain?

  2. What new steps could you take to help you gain from your pain?


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