Pain. A word that has as many connotations as there are people. And a word that I think often gets a bad rap.
Physical pain has been a very real, very constant presence in my life over the last five and a half years. But I’ve learned to live with it. I know what I can do to ease the pain until it passes knowing that tomorrow will be better. And I can press on without it consuming me.
But physical pain is nothing compared to emotional pain. I’m learning lately that the more layers you peel back of yourself, the more masks you shed, the more vulnerable you are, the more you risk in relationships & interactions with others, the more pain you are inviting in. It’s only natural. Not until your heart is exposed & open can it be hurt.
But I would also argue that not until your heart is exposed & open can it really truly feel. And if it can’t truly feel it can’t truly be alive. To be alive is to feel. To hurt is to be alive.
I’m learning that out of pain often comes deep joy. A joy that is chosen based on facts not fleeting feelings. A joy that is founded on the Unchanging. A joy that is unexplainable…that leads to an equally unexplainable peace.
I’m beginning to think I’m willing to endure the pain if it means being alive. If it means having an unspeakable unending joy. Because I want a heart that is open. A heart that can feel. A heart that’s alive. One that breaks for the broken. Hurts for the hurting. Rejoices with the celebrating. And one that can love, deeply & well.
These two thoughts have been rolling around in my head as I’ve been pondering this whole idea of pain:
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It’s his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. – C.S. Lewis
You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy – John Calvin
What’s your take on pain? Is it a welcomed presence in your life?
The world has a million things to say about the essence of “friendship.” And while many of them may be true, the last two weeks of life have taught me that true friendship is so much more than I could ever put words to. To say I’ve rediscovered the value of friends who truly walk life with me would be an understatement. I’m talking the kind of friends who you can call or text at any moment whether you are happy or angry or sad. The kind that you can rehash a story with over and over and over…and they’ll actively listen every time. The kind that love you enough to call you out when you need it…even if you don’t want it. The kind that know you inside, outside, & upside down. The ones you couldn’t lie to if you tried. Those friends are truly priceless. And I believe we all need those friends more than we know. My hope for you is that you have friends who truly walk life with you. I think it’s supposed to be that way.
And to those friends who walk life with me all I can say is “thank you!”
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! – Ecclesiastes 4:10
…On the days when I think I need it most
it seems elusive, taunting me to catch it
but it remains just out of reach.
And so on those days I surrender
I sit in the noise and wait
wait for the silence to catch me.
Today is one of those days…the kind where I sit in the noise & wait for the silence to catch me.
You can check out the rest of the poem here.
“Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back. Sometimes it is only in your head.”
– Mitch Albiom “Tuesdays with Morrie”
I think that is the essence of mentoring. Believing in someone as they learn to believe in themselves. Drenching them in Christian love even though they are rough around the edges, sometimes as destructive as a bull in a China shop. And through it all leaving an impact that, as cheesy as it may sound, truly does last a lifetime.
I’ve been blessed to have a few such teachers…or mentors…in my life. The kind I find my way back to in my head…and sometimes on a phone call. And every time I do I’m reminded that with the gift of being mentored…being taught, comes the responsibility to mentor…to teach.
Who are you teaching today?
I was listening to a missionary give a talk recently & he asked a simple question that has been haunting me since: “Have you put your ‘yes’ on the table?”
He had just gotten done talking about how all God asks is that we put our “yes” on the table. Fully on the table. And then we’ve got to walk away. We can’t stand next to it with one finger on the corner of the paper waiting to pull it back if the conditions aren’t comfortable. We can’t stand off to the side ready to sprint to the table if the timing isn’t what we wanted.
My conviction in that one simple question? I’ve put my yes on the table but I haven’t walked away. It’s still on my terms. And while nothing is impossible for God to work through, He’s asking for my full, complete, unhindered “yes.” And, He deserves that.
I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not about going. It’s about being willing to go. Willing to leave it all behind. To walk away from the known & into the unknown “yes” that God has for you.
Have you put your “yes” on the table?
Do you ever look back at blog posts or journals & simply laugh? Laugh at the way you thought you had life all figured out. Laugh at the way it’s actually turned out. And then take a minute to thank God that His plans always prevail?
I was looking for a Throwback Sunday post this week with this post from Gary Molander on my mind. A little over a year ago I was in a similar spot. I had left my job at my church but had absolutely no idea what was next. I sat down & wrote this post one day about the stories I felt like God was calling me to live in the year/s ahead. Today, I’m re-reading that post & asking myself if those stories are shells or dreams. I’m reminding myself of the difference between the two & trying desperately to stay true to the God-given dreams while surrendering the shells I’ve built to house them.
When was the last time you looked back at something you’d written & laughed?