Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Why is pain quiet?

I was traveling recently and working on a blog post on the plane. What I absolutely love about writing is that God can change my direction within a day of starting to write. It is never my intention to give you fluff, I pray over the words I write so that they are from God and not from me, just thankful He can use my experiences. I spoke to you last year about a friendship break up and the impact that it had on my life. I haven't seen her in almost six months; she lives in another state and we don't speak. God has done a lot in both of our lives and we are wiser and stronger because of what we have walked through. As much as a part of me misses her, the healthy parts of our friendship, I know we are better apart. I didn't think I'd ever be able to say that. This was a person I spent a majority of time with and couldn't imagine my life without. When you are forced to face something and walk through a hard situation, if you press in and stay close to God, His love can sustain you. 

I wrote about “why is pain quiet” a year ago in my journal. I had just found out that my best friend at the time was moving and cried in my closet when I heard the news. Our families were so intertwined and at the time, I was not open to change in my life, so this hit me hard. God literally woke me up at 2am and told me with passion to get out of bed and write. I have yet to post it as a blog post because the timing hasn’t been right and because it is associated with a lot of emotion; it brings me right back to that moment of my life. It has been a journey since my friend and I stopped speaking; I have learned a lot about myself, have had God tell me hard truths with love and restoration, have realized what I want and need out of current friendships and what healthy boundaries are in my life moving forward. 

While I was out of town on a work trip, my old best friend came back to visit and decided to bring me some of my items she still had. I saw her on my doorbell security camera making a delivery of these items. Considering I hadn’t seen her on my porch in six months, this stopped me in my tracks. Had it been a few months earlier, this would have derailed me, instead it just stopped me for an hour as I processed it. I was thankful for the items returned, but sad that it all ended this way. Sad that so much has happened and passed that we can’t even be cordial to each other or on her part, leave a note with those items. It took months in counseling and working with God to sift through the anger and rejection I experienced from that relationship in my life. As painful as all of it was, I can sit here today and say that I am a changed person. That version of me is gone and a refined, restored, healed person resides today. It was an uphill battle and if I wasn’t careful, I could have gone back to my old ways of thinking; I have learned if you stop for even a minute on the climb, you can slip back into your old ways. 

All of these recent events got me thinking - do you ever notice how quiet painful things are? When we are busy, life is loud, it’s lived, full of schedules and phone calls and always going. When pain comes, it is like someone just pulled the plug on your power supply. When I was little, I would wake up to the sound of the power going out in the middle of the night. Seems weird, right?! How do you hear the power shutting off? If you listen closely enough, you can hear the shut off of everything around you; it is the white noise that fills our lives when everything is in full working order. It becomes truly quiet when you don’t hear the buzzing from the devices and electronics that require power; all the white noise stops and it is finally quiet, the ‘real' quiet, the quiet God is looking for when He says, “Be still and know that I am God” Ps. 46:10. The quiet times we sometimes plan into our schedules are not always quiet enough; it is not until pain comes along that all things truly silence. Painful situations silence everything around you and force you to focus your energy on that specific need or situation. 

I have experienced this type of pain with medical issues, loss, broken relationships, disappointments, rejections, etc. I have witnessed that pain is not too selective -  if it can find a route, it will take it. It is what we do with that pain that is important. In that silence when all the white noise is gone, when it’s just you and your struggle, who or what do you turn to? Most times in our lives, we have to feel the pain in order to walk through it. It doesn’t mean that is our 'go to'; many of us, myself included, avoid feeling it at all costs. We pretend we are fine, that it doesn’t have an effect on us; we self-talk ourselves to death and talk ourselves out of the pain. When we chose to avoid it, we really just suppress it until a later time. God wants us to live healthy, full lives, so at some point, it WILL resurface. It takes God silencing all things around us for us to hear and grow from that situation. Many of us seek answers and justice, in places of feeling wronged or abandoned and not knowing why. I have learned that God doesn’t always answer the whys of life, but He does wrap His arms around us while we cry out and feel it all. He loves and cares about every tear, every groan, every frustration and is the only One who can ease the pain over time. God has never promised to take it all away, but He does promise to walk through it with us, to guide us, to give us enough strength for today. 

There are days when the pain is too great, I feel like I can’t breathe and the thought of taking a step forward in my new situation seems unbearable. I pray to make it through 20 minutes - then 20 minutes become an hour, an hour becomes several, and several hours eventually turn into days. When I turn to God with all of it and realize I no longer have control, He provides. Healing hurts, it is a process and a journey with no end point signaling when it will stop. There is no magic date or light at the end of the tunnel/ That is the thing about pain - it takes any route possible and provides no time frame for how long it will last. However, God promises to hold us through it. I encourage you to feel today - stop suppressing the pain or finding ways to mask it, press into God and allow Him to work and heal your heart. I am thankful that we serve a God who allows unhealthy relationships to come to an end, who shuts doors that we think should stay open, who changes courses for us because He truly knows what is best and sees the greater picture. The pain we are experiencing now can turn into amazing growth and compassion for others as we walk out our journey.  I challenge you to shut off the white noise in your life and see what can be taught and felt in the pain. When you look back on your life, those will be the defining moments, the moments you surpassed it.