There’s something that happens to us as humans when we feel pain or feel like our backs are up against the wall. The first reaction is to run away … to escape … to hide … to disappear … to avoid … to distract … to deflect. Often, the second reaction is to fight, either with our bodies, our words or our emotions.
This is primal. This is a survival mechanism hardwired into our beings so we can protect ourselves from physical danger and so we learn to avoid unsafe places. If we didn’t have these natural instincts, the human race would have been extinct a long time ago.
But when we apply every human instinct to every kind of pain — a.k.a. the hard places of growth and maturity — we end up kicking our baggage down the road. We end up running from healthy change. And we end up avoiding God’s wholistic plan for our lives in the process.
Sometimes the uncomfortable pain we’re experiencing are not places to avoid; they’re moments to turn and face — which goes against every human instinct we have.
Sometimes the pruning seasons that never seem to end are not seasons to dismiss, wish or pray away, they’re seasons to lean into and accept — which is completely illogical and irrational for the mind to understand.
And sometimes the way God desires to use us is while we’re in our moments of pain, rather than waiting for them to be gone, thinking then that’s when we can be used — which is the exact opposite of anything and everything our modern culture preaches today.
Perhaps the center of our pain is exactly where God is leading us because it’s not based on human strength, it’s based on His.
Perhaps the center of our pain is exactly where God is waiting with arms open wide because His love, His wisdom and His comfort can only be embraced by the spirit first, the heart second and then the mind will follow.
Perhaps the center of our pain is exactly where God desires for us to sit and learn and love and lean because His ways and His truth are so much higher, wider and deeper than any promise this world could offer.
The hard part about pain is that we often think of these painful moments as moments to escape.
But perhaps, instead, our moments of pain are actually invitations into something so much more beautiful, truer, deeper and more real. They are opportunities to rest, to be free, to let our guards down, to let our true selves be seen and to allow God to use our brokenness in a way that only He can do — safely, lovingly, thoroughly and completely.
So no, maybe this isn’t a moment to escape. Perhaps it’s time to try something different … to try a new approach … to live a different M.O … to accept … to lean into …
Maybe this is a moment to embrace, not escape.