We are liars. Not necessarily to other people, but to ourselves. We tell ourselves some big whoppers.
We tell ourselves that our pain isn’t a huge deal. Someone else’s pain is bigger, so ours isn’t anything to worry about.
· Yes, your friend died, but she was HIS wife.
· Yes, your child has allergy issues, but HERS has cancer.
· Yes, you ache for your parents after a move, but SHE can’t even talk to her parents.
· Yes, you have depression, but SHE just went through a divorce.
We think that because our pain looks different than someone else’s, it must not be valid. We tell ourselves that it’s not worth dealing with because it’s not as big as her pain. We tell ourselves to suck it up and move on.
I did this ALL THE TIME when my husband was recovering from brain surgery. I didn’t feel like I deserved to admit howmuchit hurt when my husband was incapacitated. I never felt like I had therightto feel such sorrow. By denying myself permission to be in pain, I just made the pain worse by adding guilt to it.
How do we balance our own healing from pain with the guilt that our pain isn’t as “big” as someone else’s?
1. Admit that your pain doesn’t have to be as big or as bad as someone else’s pain. Pain is pain. It all hurts.
“When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” –Psalm 91:15 ESV
Notice that God didn’t say how big the trouble had to be. He is still with you in big troubles and small troubles.
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him.” –Psalm 103:13 ESV
As a parent, I comfort my child whether she has a scrape, hurt feelings, or a broken leg. I don’t wait until she needs an ambulance to offer hugs and kisses. God is the perfect parent. He doesn’t make us wait until we are near death before He offers comfort, either!
2. Tell God how much you hurt. Allow Him to comfort you through His Word.
“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to Your Word!” –Psalm 119:25 ESV
“The LORD is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” –Psalm 9:9 NLT
If you have not experienced the life-giving power of God’s Word, I encourage you to read Psalm 119. Write down all the things God’s Word and God’s Laws will do for us. Another good resource is Jen Hatmaker’sA Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study.
3. Use your new understanding to help others in pain.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” –2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
At this stage, God redeems our pain. God allows that pain, no matter its size, to enable us to help others. When we see good coming out of the pain, we experience the ultimate healing.
Pain is pain. Don’t minimize it. Don’t make light of it.
Admit it. Seek comfort from God. Take that comfort to others.
Carol is a wife, mom, piano teacher, and blogger for Alaska Christian Women's Ministry. Having grown up in church, life made her dissatisfied with empty religious traditions and trite answers. She discovered that Jesus alone is the way to real life and true contentment. Ever stumbling and learning herself, she invites her readers to experience God's love and forgiveness like never before. Read more at CarolDunfee.com.