By: Nancy Abiera
“My children, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:1-5
Many people avoid pain at all costs. People are naturally pleasure seekers. We all know pain is not a pleasant experience. It is deep downright painful; whether physical, emotional or spiritual. In dealing with physical pain, we can see healing takes place as the wounds dry up and become a scar. This is not true for emotional or spiritual pain. These kinds of pain are mostly hidden and dig deep into the soul. Note that these emotional wounds causing pain are from past hurts or painful words spoken into our lives. Many times, it is triggered from deep, emotional traumas experienced as a child. Sometimes, the emotional pain is so great that you would rather run away from it and pretend it is not there. This is when the cause is completely hidden, buried deep within our soul.
I strongly believe in my heart that God never created pain to make us miserable. We go through pain because we are broken people living in a broken world. Sometimes, we sub-consciously create our own pain as consequences to how we perceive them. However, we can shift our focus on the purpose of pain. We can choose to look at pain as lessons to be learned for personal development. This will eventually enrich and make our lives better and not bitter. We cannot just look at symptoms on the surface level. We need to face it head on and deal with it at the root level. Most often, we just treat the outward symptoms and neglect the inward cause. We resort to numb the pain by resorting to coping mechanisms or substitutes like food, sex, alcohol or drugs, etc.. These are just temporary fix and they do not last long.
The emotional pain we experience are like FARTS or FISH
FARTS and FISH are some symptoms of emotional pain. There are root issues that draw us into these tormenting experiences. We resort to use “painkillers” to immediately ease the discomfort of emotional pain. Numbing the pain does not work as the smell comes out eventually that brings more shame. We add more problems rather than finding solutions. Worst, people around us are affected whether we like it or not knowingly or even unknowingly. Just like FARTS and FISH mentioned earlier, you may hide them but eventually they will come out and everybody can smell them.
When I used to battle these setbacks, I can choose to numb the pain using alcohol, denial, perfectionism, addiction to work, shopping, TV, etc. just to name a few. Rather than accepting and em-bracing the pain while seeking God for true healing, I end up just numbing the pain. I push it hard even further down and buried it alive. In doing so, I only deceive myself by postponing or delaying it for a later time. Sad to say, it always resurrects itself with greater intensity. The truth is: when I hide my fears, I make room for them; I feed them; I entertain them while making them stronger and more powerful. People say “time heals”. On the contrary “as times goes by, people get used to it and get numbed but never healed. The wounds fester and go deeper.” Experiencing numbness is not healing at all. We just become hard-hearted or heartless.
How then do we handle these thoughts that become feelings while feeding our emotions? Hit the P.O.T.
First and foremost PRAY. Unless we go to God in prayer for wisdom, the devil will prey on us and deceive us. Our minds are easy play-ground for the enemy. On the reverse, our hearts are great prayground for us to seek wisdom and direction. When we use our mind, we get information. When we use our heart, we find revelations from God.
Second, OBSERVE and not get ABSORBED. Resist the temptations to avoid, run or fix your pain. You might end up in the cycle of fight, flight and freeze. However, as you observe, you will find rest and be not restless. In other words, be in control rather than being controlled by them. Express honestly your thoughts, feelings and emotions to God. Continue to pray and observe. Let go of your control and let God be in control. Pray that He will show you the root cause so healing can take place. No matter how deep the fear is, God can go deeper. No matter how difficult your experience is, there’s nothing too difficult for God’s intervention that will bring you to a complete break through.
Third, as you pray and observe, THINK. Reflect on the thoughts, feeling and emotions. Ask questions from God like: Is it
T True? Trustworthy?
H Honest? Helpful?
I Inspiring? Insightful?
N Necessary? K Kind?
If there is least one “No” answer, it is time to let go and let God take over. Pray that God gives you His mind and you align with God’s thoughts. This exercise is very freeing letting go of your own will as you respond in full surrender to God’s will. It like hitting a jack- POT: Pray, Observe and Think.
Years ago, I was going through various challenging tests in life. I battled daily with uncontrollable thoughts of fear and anxiety, mixed with full-blown panic attacks. I hate taking painkillers. The other ways I used to cope never worked so I was left with only one choice. It was humbling to accept that I could not do anything more. I have done everything I knew and I reached the end of myself. I hit rock bottom. I knelt down and prayed, asking God to meet me in my pain. And if truth be told, that was actually a very good thing. I was so helpless in the pit that there was no more way to go down. The only way was to look up to God for His help. Sometimes, we believe in lies like “God helps those who help themselves.” That is not true as I have experienced God so powerfully in my most helpless state and He did help me.
It has been a long and winding road yet I have learned so much from the painful experiences that allowed me to know personally the wonderful mercy of God. Rather than numb the pain, I acknowledged the feeling and embraced it, trusting God to meet me there and take care of me. And He did. He always does and He will always do. I concluded that we can either use the pain as we embrace it as stepping stones for healing or stumbling blocks for even greater pain.
The choice is yours.
I suggest you go and hit the POT: Pray, Observe and Think. Always resist the easy way of falling into temptation to manage your pain alone. Hug your pain and surrender. Give your pain to God. Ask Him to help you as you face your fears and deal with your pain. He can show you His love and His desire to bring you to peace that surpasses all understanding guarding your minds and hearts. God’s perfect love casts out fear. Moreover, God’s love covers a multitude of wrongs.
Sing: It’s not trying but trusting. . . It’s not running but resting. . . It’s not wanting but praying that you find the strength of the Lord.
Pray: Lord, as I embrace all my pains, hurts and traumas in life, I give them all to you. I let go of them all and let you God be in control. I choose to forgive and release those who caused me pain. I pray that You bless them. Make me even stronger as I continue to yield and surrender my will to You. In Jesus’ Name Amen.
(Please pause, take a few moments and breathe deeply until you experience the healing power of God breathing His breath on you.)
Always choose “On A Bright Side”. I love you readers with the love of the Lord yet the Lord loves you the most. Smile and be a blessing.
Rev. Nancy H. Abiera