I’ve been running away from pain for a long time.
When you live life like that, it–ironically–causes a lot of unintentional heartache. I’ve done some really stupid things to try and control pain—and none of them worked. Like I said, they only made things worse. I probably caused myself more pain by running from it than I would have experienced otherwise. Running away from pain affects everything.
It Affects How You See God
If I am petrified of pain, I will do whatever it takes to assure that I don’t feel pain. And that forces me to slowly change how I see God. You see, if my beliefs were like a salad bar, I would tend towards tender light flavors of beliefs that confirm my desired worldview that if I do and say the right things, nothing bad will ever happen to me. And I’ll stay away from the sharp, bitter tang of the reality that this is a broken, sinful world where bad crap happens.
I won’t accept that there’s a balance in there somewhere. That life is a blend of the sour and sweet that I have to trust, ultimately, in a loving God.
It Affects How You Feel
Pain sucks. Mental anguish can be just as relentingly painful as physical pain. Often worse is that there’s a stigma associated with mental pain. We, and others, see ourselves as weak for having brain pain. Others don’t understand why we don’t just get over it, (much like a person with a broken leg just gets over that splintered bone, I suppose.) Because we don’t like the pain, nor do we like the social stigma associated with it, we try to ignore the pain in the hopes that it’ll go just away.
The problem is that when you put a wall up against one feeling, none of them can get through. Sooner or later, you find yourself not feeling anything. Happiness, anger, joy, nothing. And that’s a hard place to come back from, trust me.
It Affects How You Live
If I don’t fully invest in you, I won’t fully feel the pain when you leave. Because, everybody always leaves… right? If I expect failure, I won’t be surprised. If I reject you first, you can’t reject me. Problem is, If I live like that, I’ll also be distant and depressed. I won’t take chances and I won’t love with abandon.
Trust in Love Instead
So, I’ve found, through the pain and weariness that comes from running away, that I can’t change a thing. Not the things I want to change anyway. That running only makes things worse and that life is best lived boldly. Not because I’m gonna muscle through the hard times. (Good luck with that, too.) But because I trust that God is love. That, as much as I still fear pain, God’s love is bigger than that pain, and he will never be far away; His arms will always be right near me to pull me close.
Photo by Ryan McGuire