As promised, this is a continuation of last week’s article about pain. In case you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here.
Disclaimer : Today‘s post is pretty long 😁
There is another aspect of pain. This kind of pain, we try to disguise. It’s the one with scars running deep that we are ashamed of. It’s funny how good we are at pretending to be whole on the outside yet deep inside by the minute we shatter like glass.
I have a scar on my face, just beneath my right eye on my cheek. For as long as I can remember, I was ashamed of it. I did not like that part of my face because I felt like it made me ugly. As I grew up, I developed a defence mechanism. I would style my hair in a way that would always hide the scar.
It so happened that at the last minute before my mum gave birth to me, I turned, the doctor said. The only way that they could get me out was by having a C Section performed on my mum. But there was a risk involved. There was a possibility that one of us wouldn’t make it. So they did what they knew best at the moment and fortunately, I got cut beneath the eye.
Yes, fortunately. If not, who knows what would have happened. I may have the scar, but my mum had both the pain and the scar at the same time. Her wound was very big and it took her a while before she could get up and about without help.
So where am I going with this? My story reveals two characters.
•My mum – who despite the pain and the scar, never tried to beautify her pain and pretend. She embraced her process. She looked at the bright side. She was alive, so was her child and both were in good health. And as at right now, she has no scar whatsoever.
•Me – I may not remember the pain but I have a scar. From the scar, I opened a door. I sought approval. For so long in my life I struggled with low self esteem but I rarely let anyone see it. I gave pain power that it didn’t have. I chose what to show people and in an effort to pretend all was well, I got hurt so many times by what people said and thought of me. It depressed me.
Here’s what I realized though, prior to seeking approval, I had already passed a vote of No confidence in myself. The low self esteem, was conceived as a result of what I thought about me. I meditated on the possibility that others might not accept me and in turn wounded my own heart. So now, I had an internal wound that was unexplainably painful and a physical scar which obviously was a healed wound.
I tried to sell fake to others but there were those that later discovered that there was more than what lay on the surface. Unfortunately, they didn’t know how to unearth the real so their words that exposed the pretence did more harm than good. How? Their purpose was to expose and not correct. They didn’t do it in love because if they did, there would be healing, right? Doesn’t love cover a multitude of sin? But how could they love a person who didn’t love herself?
I didn’t guard my heart. I let their words get to me. I constantly replayed them in my mind like scenes from a favorite movie. And before I knew it, I had touched a wound that wasn’t healed so it got infected.
These two characters represent two kinds of people going through similar circumstances.
The first one experiences more pain than the other but remains optimistic and focused on the purpose of the pain. Hence, providing a good environment that supports healing. Whereas, the second one experiences only a fraction of the pain that the first person went through but develops negativity and self pity out of something others may never even notice.
Which one are you?
Are you like me? In so much pain but you can’t even expose it and you just keep covering it up? Unfortunately, that only makes it worse. Your wound swells up. It becomes so sore that you can’t even look at it leave alone touch it.
The worst thing about it is that you can only conceal it for so long. Sooner or later, the cat will be out of the bag. You’ll inflict your pain on others. Isn’t there a saying, hurt people hurt people? It will manifest in your speech, in your character and in how you treat people.
Before you know it, you’ll become so bitter. You will always point fingers at others yet the problem is within.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
It has happened in my life. I have hurt people out of my pain. I was looking for love and approval from all the wrong places.
I was so focused on pursuing people that I became blind to the one who was always there. He stuck by me giving me strength when I could even comprehend how deep I had drowned myself in pain. It took the wounds for me to awaken to His Presence that was and is always there. It took pain for me to see I had such a warped perception of God.
I related with Him from the pain I gave and got from people. I subconsciously thought He too, was like all of them. I would trust Him with limits. In vain, I tried to beautify myself yet He had the make up kit in His hand. He just wanted a chance to put me together but I would have none of it. Being such a gentleman, He didn’t impose Himself on me. He continued reassuring me even when I wasn’t even looking to Him.
It took losing all friends to see the damage. I couldn’t get myself out of the pit that I had dug. He was my only hope. With reservation, I partly opened a door for Him. He surrounded me with people who radiated nothing but His love and for once in my life, I felt truly loved and sincerely appreciated. Even so, I questioned His motive. When He said He loved me, I didn’t believe Him. I would go to church and the worship leader would tell the congregation to profess their love for Him and I would keep quiet and wonder. And when I said it, I questioned myself and found out that I didn’t love Him. Atleast not sincerely.
I had not yet dealt with the layers of pain that I had accumulated over time. I longed for what others had with Him but the tree of pain had developed such firm roots in my heart and I wasn’t willing to go through the pain of having them uprooted. But there is something about the purity of His Love and what it can do. Gradually, I opened up. I learnt that with Him, there’s no room for pretence. He already knows the situation at hand and He desires to help you but only if you allow Him to.
What’s my current state you ask? I am a whole lot lighter on the inside by God’s grace. I am a work in progress.
All the same, it comes down to the fact that pain will always have two sides. The positive and the negative. And both, have a purpose. But the choice is yours. You can either go through or grow through pain. The most powerful people I believe, are the ones who choose to remain focused and full of hope of a brighter day in the midst of the Storm. They find purpose in their difficult seasons.
From which angle have you been operating from? That explains the results you’re seeing today. There’s so much to say about this but it all amounts to your perspective.
What you don’t deal with now, will destroy you tomorrow. Deal with pain from the root.