Saturday, November 29, 2008

Healing from Pain

The black night is closing in around you
The crippling fear moves in as they strap you down
Will you let a moment get the best of you?
Or will this moment bring you around?

When the blood stains dry,
will it bring you around?
(Or) Will it pass you by?

Right now you're bruised and bleeding
I see the hurt within in your eyes
I know your pain is for a reason
You need to feel just to know that your alive

Kutless - To Know that You're Alive

When I was in fourth grade I had the opportunity to start playing and studying music. Ever since that time, I've let it minister and guide me as I've gone though the different seasons of my life. After my junior year in high school, I made Jesus my Savior and my music choices soon began mimicking my changing lifestyle choices. Music still serves as an invaluable tool in my spiritual walk because songs like this one has enabled me to mature spiritually and reflect about my past experiences and current events in my life.

From the end of summer until a few weeks ago, I made the decision to live with my dad until I could get financially stable enough to get married and move out. At first, this decision seemed to be a simple choice for me. "This is where you go if you don't have a place of your own," I though. So even though my dad and I have always had a "hot-and-cold" relationship, I thought spending this time together would help close the gap. Unfortuantely, this turned out to be a poor choice. As the weeks turned to months, I discoved that I knew less about my father than I thought I did, which really disappointed me for a variety of different reasons. But what really hurt more than anything was the way my dad treated people when he got angry, which happened often if you don't agree with him even over the simpliest things. During these (what he called) "conversations," other people just became an object that he yelled toward, saying things that are certainly more likely to cut you down than to build you up. On a particular "conversation" that was had that I'll never forget, my dad gave me a number of hurtful words that really made me consider what I was doing living in a place where I being used more for the rent money than for the joy of company. About two weeks after that I moved out of my dad's house and into an apartment with some friends I had met through a mutual friend. Since then, I've come to the point where I'm willing to forgive the words he said, but still feel that my dad will never reach the point where he thinks he needs to be forgiven. The end result is a bunch of pain that has to stay welled up until the right time to share it with him.

God allows us to experience pain for a variety of different reasons. Physical pain is an indication to our bodies that it needs to remove itself from a situation that is damaging. When we're sore from physical activity, our muscles have become torn and overstretched, and that is the pain we feel. With the proper recovery methods, our muscles eventually are not only healed, but also become stronger than they were before.

So when we experience emotional, mental or spiritual pain, how should we react? I think a model like that of the torn muscle gives us a good lead. Healing of the pain begins when we take the right actions to recover from what hurts us. For me, I know it was best to stop living with my dad because the the arguments and hurt would only increase over time. Additionally, I found a new place to live with people who listen to me, and understand what I have gone through. (It might be important to clarify that listening is something I don't think many people practiced in my dad's house, including myself. So having someone who listened to me made me feel loved, and in return, I'm willing to listen more openly as well.)

Now removed from the situation (in regards to time and space), I'm able to be more thoughtful and thankful for the pain that I felt. Pain, like true joy, is a way for God to remind us how we are created, with a great sensativity to feelings. These feelings are not a curse in pain and a blessing with joy. Feelings are designed for us to gauge how healthy we are spirutually, and namely, our relationship with God. When in pain, this should be a signal to us that we need to change something in our relationship with God. It's no surprise that I wasn't growing spiritually when I was living with my dad. When in true joy or peace, that's God seal of approval that you are following the straight and narrow. Since moving, I've been growing in a lot of different ways and that is what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving season. For had it not be for the feeling of pain, I would not be where I am now with God.

Just like with torn muscle, if we recover properly, we find ourselves fully restored and stronger than before. I know I'm not quite at the point of restoration yet, but I'm certainly appraoching it. When it's said and done, I'll be at a stronger place with myself, the people around me and God. Of this, I have been promised.

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