How do you respond to pain?
That was the catalyst for my first Instagram Live a week ago.
I’ve tried stuffing it, numbing it, escape, busyness, ignoring it, even servanthood. But many of these really only bring the temporary relief of flight. Not true healing.
Pain tries to reframe our identity. But Jesus comes to frame it back right. He promises in Isaiah 61 to heal the broken-hearted. But how?
Healing is intentional.
We are rarely encouraged to face our pain, mostly because deep down we are afraid doing so will unravel us. I believe we can face our pain with Jesus and thrive.
Why would anyone ever want to face their pain?
That is the question asked in a comment from that first live on Instagram. To answer it, two of my daughters joined me in a second Live video. Ashley and Abby were in a very traumatic accident a decade ago. Both share how they didn’t face their pain initially, and why. Then we unpacked a bit of how not facing the pain affected them and their closest relationships, what they recognize now, and why they want to face their pain (and do!).
Please join us to hear these brave young ladies’ stories. Not brave because they went through pain in the first place – they didn’t choose that – but brave because they face their pain now.
A few highlights from the Live:
ABBY: “Sometimes what’s worse than feeling things is feeling nothing. That can feel a lot worse in the end. When you can’t feel anything you’re almost soulless in a way. Once you’re brought to a place where you can face that, ‘Hey, I do feel that – fear, pain, disappointment, shame, guilt, all of the above,’ that’s admitting to what’s been built up so long. Like opening a coke bottle (all that pressure built up) and all the fizz flows out. At first it’s almost overwhelming, and it feels almost suffocating. Once that pressure is released and all of it is out in a safe and healthy place, it’s very freeing. All of a sudden you breathe for the first time. There’s breath and there’s life and there’s freedom.”
ASHLEY: “You feel human.”
ASHLEY: “I was just stuffing all that pain, all that shame, all that guilt down. I was ignoring all of that, ignoring my physical injuries as well. I struggled. The biggest thing it taught me about why it’s necessary to face your pain: you cannot, you literally CANNOT experience healing until you face the pain. I can’t have physical healing until I finally tell someone, ‘Hey, I’m experiencing this pain. I’m acknowling that fact I have pain and I’m telling somebody about it who can come alongside me and help…’ It’s when that happens I can finally start to experience healing.”
ME: “You said something beautiful there. You made a perfect analogy, having experienced both physical pain and emotional pain…until you told someone and involved others, you weren’t going to get better. I have found we tend to diminish the emotional pain more and not take it as seriously as we do physical pain. Something else you said that was very important is how it affected your relationships with others. A lot of things happen when we’re very young and don’t have the capacity to understand how it’s affecting us or how we’re living in response to that pain. Oftentimes it’s in the years gone by in older relationships we begin to see how it (unaddressed pain) is affecting (a particular) relationship.” This is another reason why we need to face it.
Recalling Your Story
At the end, my husband asks us this question: “In recalling your story, even tonight, is there anything that comes up emotionally for you guys that reveals some unhealed places, or maybe some places where you feel small, or just a feeling that “Hmm, maybe that’s why I do _____ on a regular basis?” Be sure to watch for our answers.
It is scary to think about going back to those places but it’s the only way to become whole and function properly again. Towards the end of the live, I explain this with an analogy God gave me the first time I began facing my past nearly 20 years ago. Thank you for allowing us to walk alongside you. May you borrow from our courage to bravely face your pain and become whole again, too.
I’d love to hear how and/or why you are encouraged to face your pain. Share in the comments below.
From one healing heart to another,
If you haven’t read the initial story of what happened that fateful day in the orchard, you can read it here: