What to do With Your Pain. Start Here.

Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.

Ecclesiastes 7:3

This nugget sounds like it came out of a fortune cookie. Or found on a meme. It is straight scripture full of that truth that hits your soul on a deep level. You too?  

Sadness does have a refining influence on us.

That verse is from the NLT version. This is from the NIV. Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. Ecclesiastes 7:3.

This refining influence is good for the heart. Even your broken heart.

This pain can heal or this pain can separate. (Read The Ways You Offload Your Pain or every article in Ways You’d Rather Deal with Pain and you will see the separation.)

This pain is a beginning or this pain is a door to distrusting God.

Here are three things I have learned.  

Pain is only the beginning. There will be a beautiful new chapter.

An ending happened and it feels like the end. This is why it hurts so much. We are in need of a beginning. Pain is the signal of that new beginning.

If the most important thing in life is the person you become, then growing is one of the hardest things you will ever do.

Pain feels hard. Pain feels unfair. Pain exposes vulnerability (but that’s not a bad thing, it just feels awful). Pain leads to confusion.

Here’s the beautiful thing about confusion. From the research that Dr. Brene’ Brown does:

“It turns out that confusion, like many uncomfortable things in life, is vital for learning. According to research, confusion has the potential to motivate, lead to deep learning, and trigger problem solving. A study by Sidney D’Mello found that when we’re trying to work through our confusion, we need to stop and think, engage in careful deliberation, develop solutions, and revise how we approach the next problem.” –Atlas of the Heart, Dr. Brene’ Brown, p. 62

 Like many uncomfortable things in life, confusionhttps://bravester.com/lead-your-brain-through-the-chaos-and-the-confusion/ is vital to learning. You are on your way.

The meaning and purpose behind our pain is that it’s freeing us–one painful layer at a time–from our anxieties and attachments, from our shadow self. And it’s maturing us, if we let it. Pain is this hidden gift. Healing rarely comes without pain.

But it does suck right now. Pain is this hidden gift is not a platitude to cover up the real of your pain.

Find your gift of people.

I mention very often about the danger of numbing our emotions so be as shocked as I was when I read this. And then laugh. John Mark Comer wrote this for a leadership blog.

I asked Ronald Rolheiser about how to deal with transference. He lit up and said:

“Transference is the number one thing they don’t teach you in seminary,” he said. “Seminary prepares you to do ministry, but it doesn’t prepare you for what ministry will do to you.”

Then I asked, “How do I process that in prayer?”

“Do you drink alcohol?”

“Whaa… Yes, but…”

Get a bottle of something good, get together with a few other leaders who get the pain, and just hold each other.”

That I will do with my gift of people!!!! I wrote a book about this but I didn’t include doing it with good alcohol!

With my people (and this is boundaried) I find healthy ways to grow to where this pain is leading me. These people hear my confusion, don’t give me platitudes or drive-by prayers, do pray for me, check in on me, and tell me when they see me growing—because sometimes I don’t see it. What a gift.

Some of my favorite people are the ones who will get mad at God with me.

Trust God who sees you.

No matter how safe your gift of people are, there are some things you only feel safe to share with God. Make the time to be your honest self with God. All the pain, all the ugly, all the doubt, all the confusion, all the anger.

This is faith mixed with total confusion. This is what faith looks like. A safe faith says, “I know you are omnipotent so I will feel helpless while I wait on you.” A brave faith says, “Here is my cry and here is my anger and here is how I feel. Thank you for blessing the godly.”

That sounds like most of the Psalms to me. I trust this God who will hear my pain and place those same thoughts throughout the Bible.

I have learned from years of God’s faithfulness that I do not need to fear my pain but I can find God in the midst of it, in that darkness. When I live such a brave faith, my trust issues with God become less and I grow to have no doubt about this. I am growing. I am growing that God’s love is for me and to not interpret God’s love by life’s circumstances

Pain has a Holy Spirit magic way of making you beautiful.

That is not a platitude either. It is something I have learned.

I am suffering well. I am maturing. I am seeing beautiful magic in my life. Sadness does have a refining influence on me.

Photo by David Vázquez on Unsplash


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