Have you ever gone to the doctor for some sort of abdominal pain? I have, and let me tell you, it’s unpleasant. Not only are you already writhing in discomfort, but the doctor’s best way of identifying the pain is to press on your stomach until your bloodcurdling scream informs them they’re on the right track. This process of finding the source of pain to find the freedom of healing happens to us in other areas of our lives as we walk with God, becoming more like Him.
We all deal with different forms of pain: physical, emotional, and relational, to name a few. Some of us are well acquainted with the hurts and pains in our lives, others are less aware. For example, I’ve always been very focused on the physical pain that my body experiences every day, but have only recently learned of the emotional and relational pain I’ve experienced. But, like that doctor, God finds a pressure point in my life and will press into it, eliciting a reaction from me that is often unpleasant, knowing that identification is necessary to correct the problem.
So, what do you do when God begins to press down on those areas that give us pain?
My immediate response is always to run. I’ve said it before, I am skilled at running away. I am well-versed in the art of being physically present but emotionally checked-out. I am good at avoiding people or subjects I’m not ready to face. And lately I’ve been running. I’ve still been doing or at the least maintaining the illusion that I’ve been doing the good, right, Christian-y things, yet have been avoiding a pain point, an area that God wants to work on that causes me much discomfort. It’s amazing to me how gracious God is to let me run around, throwing a temper tantrum like a 2-year-old, as he faithfully waits for me, not willing to move until I come to the space where he is.
We have many different areas of pain, because hurting people hurt people. If you’ve been alive for any length of time someone has hurt you in someway and caused some level of pain. Sometimes we repress it or avoid it or ignore it or medicate it or excuse it away, but that doesn’t make it any less real. I’ve gone through this cycle of pain identification with the Lord a few times dealing with the pain points of anger, unforgiveness, depression, and addiction and walking with him through the sources of all those problems. Each time was difficult; it’s not fun having to dig into your past and unearth old wounds, but it’s completely worth it when those things are exposed to the Lord’s healing light. But it’s funny how after a while you forget all that good stuff and you just remember the hard parts.
My pain point is lack of intimacy and emotional distance with God and others, stemming from a fear of rejection and a need to be perfect. What’s yours?
I am finally ready to face the pain point I have been avoiding and bring it to God.