Lessons From Rehab- Volume 2

The value of pain…

July 1, 2013, almost three weeks post-op. I have been back in the pool for a week now, just kicking. The shoulder feels great…maybe too good. I want to push it so bad and I know I’m suppose to ‘be patient’. I hate being ‘patient’, it slows me down.

I was reflecting about the injury and how I got to this place. The first thing that came to my mind was, “You didn’t listen to the pain.” Back in November, my shoulder was getting sore. I didn’t pay it a lot of attention, in fact I just worked a little harder. “Push through it,” I thought. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do if you are a man, “Push though it,” act like it’s not there, overcome the constant nagging and “Man up”? Men don’t hurt, right?

There is the problem. Pride! It tells you to push when you should stop. It tells you it doesn’t hurt, when it does. It tells you to act like everything is fine, when it’s not. It tells you not to admit your weakness, not to confess your struggle. It tells you not to let anyone know you are vulnerable. What a pack of lies! Boy, I sure believe those lies a lot! When I believe those lies, I always pay the price. That price has never been worth the pride that caused them.

The fact is: we can be hurt. We are fragile, and it’s really ok. Pain is the body’s way of telling us, “Stop what you are doing and figure this out,” and “There is something wrong here, you need to look into it.” If we don’t do this, it’s just going to get worse and the damage will increase. It really relates to reaping and sowing. You will reap the grief if you don’t manage the pain. First, I have to admit that it hurts.

If this is true physically, and I believe it is, wouldn’t it also be true spiritually? If we do not honor and value our spiritual/emotional pain, we will reap destruction. Proverbs 14:12 “There’s a way that seems right to a man, but its end is death.” I have lived this so many times in my life that I have lost count. If I don’t discover the value of emotions, the pain will always turn to anger. Then my anger will spill over to everyone who is close to me. For me, this is the death that Proverbs talks about. It seems right to ‘suck it up’ and act like everything is ok, but in the end it inevitably leads to more pain.

Learning to honor my spiritual condition has been a very long process. For instance; if finances were tight and we received an unexpected bill, I would start to worry. My spirit would get anxious and I would get really uptight. I’m feeling like a loser who can’t handle money. Before long I’m agitated, impatient, cranky and not very nice to be around. Typically, I’d get upset with one of the kids for no real reason. Carol steps in to protect the kids, and now it’s on! She and I would argue, and before you know it, I’m walking out the door in a rage. Now I really feel like a failure, I’m a terrible husband and father who can’t provide for his family. This is death…..all because I didn’t honor the pain that I was experiencing regarding the bills. Insecurity is painful, fear is painful, distress is painful, doubt is painful. If the pain goes unchecked it will create more damage. That damage will affect everyone that is close to us.

I see this as all part of God’s grand design for us to surrender to him. He created the pain; Genesis 3:17b “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” Painful toil is our lot. The Lord knows it. The question for us is, “What are you going to do with it?” In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all that are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
This is our opportunity to take Him at His word. Will we ‘come to Him’? Or, will we do ‘what seems right’? Jesus is the only one who can offer rest. He is the only one who can offer peace. He is the only one who can offer joy.

Today’s question: How do you manage your pain? Do you medicate with: television, alcohol, sports, hobbies or pornography? Or do you take your burdens to the One who really cares? Matthew 11:29-30 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Amen.

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