Pain stinks. When pain sets in, we react. We usually don’t think about it, we just do it. And those reactions become habits. Now, in our fallen world, most of the time our reactions are worldly and unhealthy, but God can redeem even our reaction to pain.
My Unhealthy Habits
I have a lot of unhealthy habits when it comes to how I respond to and act when I’m in pain. I tend to put on blinders that only allow me to see my pain.
With these blinders securely in place, I’m no longer able to:
- see God working
- remember the truth about who God is
- see others’ needs
- believe that God loves me
- remember how God has used my pain in the past
Instead, I go into self preservation mode, dropping what I was doing in order to do whatever necessary to get free from this pain. After all, it hurts! It’s a normal human reaction, I think, to want to avoid pain, problems, and trouble of every kind. But we can’t. It’s a normal part of human life. So, the question becomes, how are we going to respond?
Any bad habit is an opportunity to replace it with a good habit. It takes time, of course, and perfection isn’t the goal. However, some of these habits make the pain more bearable because they take my focus off the pain and turn my attention to Jesus.
- Change my self talk to “God knows me. God sees this. No matter what, I am a beloved child of God.” Also, it helps to control my breathing and force myself to take slow, full breaths.
- Trust God, even when things aren’t going as planned. Let’s face, it pain is never a part of our plans, but it still happens. In those times, we can remember the truth about who God is, and grow in our trust of him.
- Choose to believe God will use even this for good… and maybe start using my imagination to think of how many ways God might possibly use this pain for good. Not in expectation that one of them will be ‘it’, but more to reignite my creativity and remember how very big and powerful God is.
- Related Post: Four Results of Suffering You Probably Won’t Mind
- Another Related Post: Would I Pick Pain? (hint… you might be surprised…)
- Listen to truth. Find an audio Bible and when the pain hits you, listen to scripture. Or, listen to worship music. Another go-to thing to listen to would be verses set to music, like these at The Verses Project website.
- Pray. Pray for others in pain, pray for whoever God brings to mind, pray for pastors, for persecuted Christians, for family and friends.
The Opportunities Given by Pain
Pain gives us opportunities. It is an opportunity to turn one’s back on God. It is an opportunity to wallow in self-pity. However, it is also an opportunity to lean on God, to let your faith grow, and to practice trusting God even when the going gets tough.
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