Saturday, October 03, 2009

What do you do with pain?

I have had a painful week. I awoke last Sunday morning in severe pain from a pinched nerve, so something like, in my lower back. It created pain in my left hip, leg and foot and then the leg and foot went numb. The foot has remained numb most of the time this week. The back pain has lightened and most of the numbness in the leg is gone, just the foot is continuing to play the numb game. I know that what I am experiencing and endured this week is nothing compared to what many people face in their daily lives. I have watched many people as they have dealt with pain. I also realize that for many the pain is not as much physical as it is emotional from devastating experiences in their lives. I am not trying to put myself in the same category of those who have experienced devastating losses or endure daily pain of level I can only imagine.

However, the pain I have faced this week has caused me to ask, what do you do with pain? Do you ignore it? Do you embrace it? Do you enjoy it? Does it devastate you? Do you keep going? Do you give up?

I have tried to ignore the pain. Of course that only works up to a certain point, there is only so much you can ignore no matter how high your pain tolerance. I am not trying to be noble in attempting to ignore my pain, it is much more practical for me, I just don't want to have to change my schedule and other things because of the pain. My wife calls it being stubborn, I prefer to think of it as perseverance. Who is with me on this one?

But I have tried to at least pause some this week and ask what I can learn through the pain. I am still sorting it out, but I have come to a couple of conclusions. I have been reminded that I don't like pain. (How is that for a revelation?) I have learned that pain really spotlights that I am not invincible, nor am I indispensible. I am not real fond of those realizations, but they are certainly true nonetheless. I have learned that I must really depend on the Lord on a daily basis. I don't just mean the lip service dependence I that I (we) usually give to depending on the Lord. I am speaking of the truly can't do what I am called to do with Him type dependence. I must confess that too often I don't live each minute, of each hour of each day in this type of surrendered dependence. How about you?

I have realized that if I am to be who God wants me to be then I need to live in dependence on Him, like I do when I am hampered through pain. However, I think it would be much better to live this way without the pain. How different would my marriage, my ministry, my relationships, my life be if would live in this type of dependence?

So for now, I am somewhat grateful fo the pain this week because what I have been reminded of in my life. But to be completely open about this, I have told the Lord that I would like to try to live this way now without the pain. I will try to keep you informed as to how this goes. As for now I will continue to persevere (be stubborn if you are in my wife's camp).

What are you learning from what you are facing?


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