Facing Pain

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I woke up this morning and promptly had a terrible spasm in my shoulder. I mean, the muscles were LOCKED UP. I tried stretching every which way, asked my husband for a shoulder rub, then sat against my massage cushion. Nothing touched it. Finally, about an hour later it started to loosen up.

When the pain hit, my initial response was to try and conquer it – hence, the stretching, which didn’t work at all. When my husband’s backrub caused more pain instead of less, my knee-jerk reaction was to look for an escape. That resulted in a lot of squirming around, but still no relief. So, I found myself sitting on the side of my bed, crying. But even as the tears streamed down my cheeks a little voice whispered, “This isn’t helping, you know.”

And I did know. If I’ve learned anything about dealing with pain this past year, it’s that tension in the body makes it worse. That idea makes total sense to me. So why did I end up sobbing? Well, the fact is that I really don’t get many of these spasms anymore. And while that is definitely a blessing, it meant that I wasn’t expecting to feel that kind of pain again. I got caught off guard, and I reverted back to some old coping mechanisms – namely, crying.

What is your first response when pain hits?

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Luckily, within a short time I decided that being upset was only going to prolong the problem. So I set up my massage cushion, leaned back and tried to calm my breathing. Sitting quietly, I began to talk to God, remembering scripture verses I’ve been reading this week. The vibrations and the heat began to work, and my back muscles began to relax as my mind settled.

It was a pretty clear lesson – trying to power through or run away from pain is almost never effective. The only real way past pain is to face it. But even more important, I’m not alone as I deal with life’s difficulties. God is always there, a prayer away.

That truth applies to every kind of pain we have to face. I hope I remember that more quickly next time!As it says so beautifully in Psalm 32:  “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”  

That truth applies to every kind of pain we have to face. I hope I remember that more quickly next time!