Pain: why it helps to acknowledge and name your pain

Pain was present but I’d been pretending to myself, and to God, denying its reality as I pushed feelings aside, stuffed them down in a misguided attempt to seem okay, to negate the negative clawing away within. Maybe you can relate?

I didn’t want to admit that this new ‘normal’ didn’t sit well with me, especially as necessary adjustments had been made to accommodate my beloved being sick, physically in pain for months, relying on me to be strong for both of us.

There was no other option apart from gritting our teeth and going through as we traversed this new territory. I willingly laid aside my usual pursuits in order to help him, unreservedly invested in supporting his recovery and healing.

Fumbling through each day, I somehow neglected to acknowledge an ache growing on the inside, a heart’s cry desiring change in our circumstances. How I longed to turn back the clock, restart summer.

Then one day, God reminded me how each thing we go through becomes the moulding of you and me, our continual shaping into Christ-likeness. Our lives are not set in concrete and neither should we be. Flexibility is a virtue when life tilts us sideways.

We grow most by bending in our brokenness, yielding and leaning on God, surrendering everything Click To Tweet

Tests, trials and life’s afflictions sear us, playing their part in producing broken lives and broken hearts, but they don’t have the final say on who we are in Christ and what we are becoming by His grace.

Prayer Whisper: ‘Name your pain’.

capture the moment WoJ + Prayer Whisper“You have to openly acknowledge your pain; you have to stop concealing it in distractions. Instead of hiding yourself from My presence, I invite you to come closer. Believe you are My precious, dearly beloved child. Allow Me to wrap arms of comfort and love around you.

You’re struggling to stay strong because you are relying on your own strength more than drawing freely from Mine. I know it is hard to concede your weakness on a daily basis. Pride tends to trip you up in this area and you become blind to your self-sufficiency pulling you away from Me.

There is no shame in sharing how hurt you feel, how much you ache inside, how hard it seems when your hopes and dreams appear to have shrivelled and died. It is time for a reality check. Maybe some of your dreams had more to do with pure ambition than they had My seal of approval.

Sometimes I plant a seed in your heart that is slow to grow. At other times you experience distress  because you long for things that are not My best plan for you. Remember to stay rooted in My word, to abide close by My side. Then you will be well placed to hear whispers of wisdom, words of discernment to guide you through the maze of choices and decisions to make each day.

Reflect on Scripture as you allow it to renew your mind and inform your life. Spend time airing your concerns to Me and listening for ways in which I reveal how to deal with them.

My heart aches for you when I see you soldiering on regardless, forgetting to seek My presence. I know every worried thought you have, and I long to take the burdens from you.”

It’s humbling to realise we have neglected to seek God’s face in the midst of our mess. Thankfully, He stands ready to receive us whenever we become aware of being absent, offering hope and help when we stop to listen to Him.

In yielding to God we learn to become better rather than bitter, soft and malleable instead of hard Click To Tweet

It pays to own our pain, to admit when we are hurt and struggling, to allow family, friends and loved ones to support us.

Primarily, we need to let God into the situation. Even if things don’t change or improve, our ability to cope will increase when we’re enveloped with His light, love and peace. There is grace to cover everything, always.

name your pain - prayer whisper

16 thoughts on “Pain: why it helps to acknowledge and name your pain”

  1. Love this, Joy! Your honesty about this daily challenge to be authentic with God and with others about our real struggles, without gloss, or masks, or pretending its all fine, when, as you put it so beautifully, we can “remember to stay rooted in His word, to abide close by His side” rather than “soldiering on regardless”, remind me it’s then we allow Jesus to draw closer still to us, not imposing our own unhelpful barriers of self-imposed martyrdom (or “stiff upper lip”!), but meeting him amid the pains and frustrations he so deeply understands as “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Blessings and love to you!

    1. Joyce, I love what you say here: ” it’s then we allow Jesus to draw closer still to us, not imposing our own unhelpful barriers of self-imposed martyrdom (or “stiff upper lip”!), but meeting him amid the pains and frustrations he so deeply understands..” Oh yes! How easy it is to impose our own barriers to communication with God, completely forgetting that He already sees and knows everything, values above all to be in intimate relationship with us. Thank you for adding your valuable wisdom and insights to the conversation here. Blessings and love to you!

  2. Oh Joy, I can relate so much to this whole post! This: “We grow most by bending in our brokenness, yielding and leaning on God, surrendering everything” touched me so much, because I realized that bending is the last thing I want to do when I am feeling broken. But that is where His healing reaches us, and comes so close. Thank you for these precious words today.You are always in my prayers! –Blessings & Gentle Hugs!

    1. Bettie, it’s hard to be broken and in pain, but I am finding it harder still when I don’t admit it, forget to let God into the picture, or neglect to rely on His grace and strength to sustain me in my weakness. Bending to His will is a lifetime activity, because surrender doesn’t necessarily come easily to us. And as you say here: “that is where His healing reaches us, and comes so close.” Yes, indeed! Thank you for your own precious words and thoughts, my friend. Blessings and gentle hugs returned to you!

  3. Yes, I can relate so much to your words here, Joy. It’s like you know my heart. The prayer whispers are like balm to my spirit. I need to remember that even if He doesn’t change our circumstances, He is changing us to be more dependent on Him and to grow in Him. Your entire post is so encouraging to my heart. May we bend in our brokenness and lean into Him with all our hearts! Blessings and hugs to you!

    1. Trudy, I cannot say I know fully your heart, but God certainly does. He places words and thoughts before us just when we need them. I often find such nuggets when I visit your site. But I am aware how similar our journeys have been as we traverse this territory of desiring healing and restoration from a painful past, dealing with daily compromised health and challenging circumstances. I echo your words here: “May we bend in our brokenness and lean into Him with all our hearts!” Amen, my friend, may it be so! Blessings and hugs to you.

  4. “…soldiering on…” Yes, that can be me far too often. I lift my voice unto God and say it out loud…”I hurt” and he knows that already but He needs to hear me humble myself and admit, say it to Him. YES! Why is is so hard? It is pride and lack of humility and so many other reasons that bring me to the point of wishing I could tell someone. Thank you, Joy, for opening up this can that I keep hidden far too much.
    I shall be praying to Jesus because I hurt today.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. Oh, Linda, I empathise and sympathise with your struggles to be real with God, to admit when I am hurt and in pain, in need of His grace. These words could have been my own: “Why is is so hard? It is pride and lack of humility and so many other reasons that bring me to the point of wishing I could tell someone.” God sits patiently with us, longing for us to turn to Him, to recognise how He is the answer to all our needs, the ache in every human heart. Sheer wilfulness can keep us from God, as can our self-sufficiency which takes pride in a ‘go-it-alone’ mentality. Joining you in prayer. May you sense just how much you are loved and forgiven as you lean more on our precious Saviour. He wants to cradle you close, dry any tears and provide all the soul sustenance you need to overcome those hurts. Caring through Christ – Joy

  5. Thank you Joy. Words I needed to hear today. I do share my hurts with God, but tend to not wait “expectantly” on Him and then try to solider again. Robs me of my peace and joy.

    1. Hello Brenda. Thank you for sharing here. I appreciate it, and I can relate to what you say. It seems that independence is such a strong streak in the human race. We want to appear stronger than we are, and we tend to forget our great need of God in the ordinary-everyday. Keep on sharing those hurts with the Lord. In time it will become as natural as breathing, which is what prayer tends to be for those who maintain continual communion with God. Turning to God will help us to regain peace and joy anew. May you be strengthened and encouraged in the days ahead. Praying for you, friend.

  6. Beautifully written and heartfelt post Joy. As someone who lives in constant physical pain since the stroke, I can relate to your story here. God used my pain to make my heart fertile to His will for my life. I can feel you heart for God as i read your words here. I love your pictures too. They are stunning! I’m thankful that through everything, I never became bitter but better as I grew in His strength. So blessed to visit you here today. Have a wonderful week and may God richly bless you and yours in all your endeavors!

    1. Hello Horace, how lovely to meet you! I am deeply touched that you have read and commented on this post. As one who also lives with constant physical pain, I have a sense of what you go through each day. Your story is sad but oh so inspiring! I love how you have been able to become better rather than bitter through your struggles. It’s a real gift of grace, a yielding few can attain when pain invades their world on a daily basis. Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you will visit again. Feel free to browse the archives or subscribe by email to receive future updates. May you and yours have a wonderful weekend ahead. It’s good to have connected with you, friend. God bless you as you continue to witness to His work in you.

    1. Hi Tanya. It certainly feels like “raw honesty” has become a hallmark of my writing life! It’s humbling and encouraging to know this post has resonated with you. God bless you for the light you shine so brightly for others. Despite how you may feel, God is working powerfully through you, my friend. xo

  7. Your words point us to the truth that we are nothing without God. In the middle of pain, struggles or whatever else comes our way, we will be okay when we invite God to be in that place with us.

    Your transparency in sharing your journey never fails to draw me in. Your honesty allows us to open up and share who we are with you too. Sending you love and hugs!

    1. Mary, I love the way you see so much in the words I write. It’s humbling and gratifying how God uses our offerings to be blessings for others. No matter how we are situated in life, or what we may be currently dealing with, all is made bearable, redeemable, and “we will be okay when we invite God to be in that place with us.” Amen! Thank you for revealing God’s goodness and grace to me each time you visit. Love and hugs returned to you, my friend!

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