Many Christians are afraid of pain and succumb to the religious peer pressure of cheering others up and putting on a happy face at all times. Consequently, hurting people push down their pain instead of confronting it. This leads to a life of unresolved agony, as their bleeding hearts continue to fester and never receive the comfort needed to truly heal!
What’s left is a walking zombie, a bandaged-yet-sick heart, and a soul that never prospers!
Our culture likes to avoid pain because many of us have never been given the tools to work through difficulties in life and come out the other end of the process healed, whole and healthy! Or worse, we see having pain as a sign of not trusting God… what a load of crap!
This results in Sunday conversations at church becoming a boring ritual of empty “How are you’s” and automatic, thoughtless responses of, “I’m doing well, thanks!” without ever stopping to be vulnerable and truthful with our struggles.
But get this! Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4).
In other words, mourning is necessary; it’s the process that leads to wholeness! Joy is a fruit of the Spirit who is dwelling in us, so it is not separate from painful moments in life. Therefore, I propose that God can weave joy into even our darkest moments if we face our pain and allow Him to comfort the hurting places of our hearts.
As children of God, we must learn how to walk through pain, not hide or ignore it, so that we can become healthy and whole people who live truly joyful lives.
6 PRACTICAL WAYS TO PROCESS YOUR PAIN
Let’s take a look at some practical steps for processing through pain.
1. Forgive those who caused you pain. Forgiveness is the first step out of pain, but not the last. Forgiveness delivers you from bondage and frees you to begin living in peace. There are a few things that you should know about forgiveness. First of all, forgiveness is an act of your will, not a manifestation of your desire. In other words, forgiveness doesn’t have to feel good. Second, forgiving someone doesn’t preclude you from experiencing pain when he or she is around, and it doesn’t mean you have to trust them. Forgiveness simply means you no longer will the person to be punished.
2. Change the way you think about pain. One of the greatest misconceptions people have about pain is that time heals. This couldn’t be further from the truth! If time healed, people in prison would be the most whole people in the world. Over the course of many trials and tribulations, I have learned the value of finding joy in the process of my pain and of looking forward to the outcome. Joy—or the promise of joy—gives you the ability to face seemingly impossible circumstances and helps you to thrive when life is hard. Remember, James tells us to consider it all joy when we face trials because of the fruit that is produced in us (James 1:2-4).
It’s critical that you change the way you think about trials, pain, and perseverance so that the joy of the Lord will become your strength in the tough seasons of your life.
3. Allow yourself to mourn. Contrary to popular opinion, mourning isn’t sitting in a dark room thinking about your agony until you become angry and overwhelmed. This may be a part of your process, but it certainly isn’t the endgame. The process of mourning that leads to wholeness has a beginning and an end. As you would at a funeral, you experience grief as you recount the loss, yet tears tend to wash away your pain as you process your memories and recount your history. Allow the mourning process to run its course and lead you into wholeness.
4. Examine your troubled thoughts. Sometimes during the process of walking out of pain, you become so distressed that your thoughts are like troubled children arguing with their siblings. The noise and confusion can be so dramatic that it is nearly impossible to concentrate on the voice of God. This often causes you to feel alone and afraid. In moments like this, it’s necessary to deal with each screaming thought individually. Separate your troubled thoughts and interview them independently. This step is often the most challenging because it requires you to dig down to your root issues, but facing your pain head-on is the only way to find true resolve and, ultimately, closure.
5. Strengthen your broken places. If you’ve spent your whole life shut down because you’re afraid of being rejected and hurt, then I suggest you read a great book on boundaries. It also might be wise to listen to some teaching on how to communicate your feelings. Give a voice to what’s going on inside of you. This is the way to become a powerful person in every area of life.
6. Pace Yourself. My son Jason says that processing pain is a lot like lifting weights. If you lift weights every day, all day long, instead of getting stronger you’ll break your body down to the point that it can’t do anything. In the same way, if you process pain all day long, every day, you will have what we call an emotional breakdown. Therefore, it’s essential that you pace yourself. It’s also important, as you are working through emotional times or stressful seasons, that you eat healthily, sleep well, exercise often, and have fun.
PERSEVERE FOR THE SAKE OF FREEDOM
Regardless of the reasons you’re hurting or you’re numb, the way out is to dive in! By doing this, you will become a master at discovering your pain, communicating for closure, and healing your soul.
Is it possible to walk through pain and come out the other side really okay? Yes.
Is it easy? No way.
Is it worth it? Most definitely!
It’s worth going through the process so that you can be free and fully step into the great destiny on your life! Today I pray that wherever you are in your process of pain, that you would find comfort in the voice of a loving Father, pulling you into His arms and speaking strength and truth over you! How do you process through pain? Do you have a testimony of walking through this process well? I’d love to hear how you’re doing and what you think in the comments below!