Growing in pain

Let’s be honest, no one likes pain. Grieving loss isn’t fun and when people cause us pain it hurts. I have yet to meet a person that says, “Yes! I love pain!” Here’s the kicker though, pain is a part of life. We will all face it at some point, through loss, disappointment, betrayal, miscommunication or even misplaced intentions. Yet, pain is never an excuse to stop your growth. There is a way to grow even in seasons of pain and it starts with knowing what to do when we experience pain in life.

When I talk about pain, I am referring to a broad spectrum…everything from losing a loved one, delay or setbacks in your dreams, opportunities falling apart or disappointment in daily life. Pain can go very deep, shaking the core of who we are or it can stay shallow; something we just simply brush off. No matter how large or small, pain must be grieved, processed and mourned. Even simple disappointments can become larger sources of bitterness when left unattended, so learning how to grieve in a healthy way is an essential life skill.

Pain has a purpose and it’s probably different from what you think. The purpose of pain is not for it to stop…even as much as we would like that. The purpose is to alert you that something is wrong. Our bodies have pain sensors that activate when something goes wrong. It’s why bumping into a table hurts or cutting yourself while cooking stings. Your body’s pain sensors are telling your brain, “HEY! We have a problem! Go check it out!” Our body isn’t being mean; it’s trying to make sure we address a potential issue before it becomes something bigger.

How do you address pain? You grieve. And in your grief, you mourn the loss and receive comfort. That is the ultimate goal from the start of the pain is that you would receive comfort. Personal growth in these seasons looks like grieving and receiving comfort in healthy ways. People, behaviors or products that simply numb your pain are not true comfort. When you mask the pain you receive relief, but not comfort. If the pain comes back as soon as the relief wears off then it’s not comfort. Numbing pain does not face it and it does not allow for mourning that moves you into healing. We know this, yet we are still drawn to things that numb us because it takes the pain away…even if only for a few moments and like I said at the beginning, no one likes pain.

This is the first place growth occurs, in realizing that this cycle of numbing will never result in healing and comfort. Embracing a healthy grief process requires courage and commitment to face uncomfortable feelings, but it’s the only way to receive comfort. The second place growth occurs is in trust. Learning to trust in the process and timing of grief…growing to trust the One who is the source of true comfort…trusting yourself to be brave enough to go through grief…and when hope begins to rise again, trusting that good things still await you. Everyone can grow in even the hardest seasons, as long as we know what to define growth as in that season. So if you are in a painful season, don’t give up, comfort awaits you.

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