Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What to take from pain

The last 5 weeks have been rough.
Painful. At times debilitating. Frustrating. Expensive.
It's often hard to see the forest for the trees.
It's often hard to see the beauty in the ashes.
It's often hard to remember that brokenness is a season, an opportunity, a blessing.

But until that holy shift in perspective comes, it just feels like a gloomy day; a day where the sun is hiding and the light has gone away.

I am a sort-of runner. I say sort of because if there was a different "thing" I could do that would reap the same benefits for the same cost (ie. free), then I would probably do that instead. I don't love running per say. I'm more of a team sport kind of person. But I have discovered running is good for my mental health as well as my physical health...mostly.

I am a sort-of soccer player. I say sort of because I really love soccer, but I'm not terribly talented at it. I can hold my own on the turf, and I'm smart so I make up for my lack of skill with an overabundance of firing synapses. I play on a team where the average age is probably 40 so none of us are gonna be world class players--ever. But we have fun and it's good exercise and I like the folks I play with.

Combine the two, plus a 38 year old body, and sometimes that body doesn't cooperate like it did a decade ago. Thus my last 5 weeks.

It was my own fault. I knew my lower back wasn't right. There was pain for quite a few weeks and that pain wasn't really going away and every time I played, I aggravated an already aggravated issue. I let the issue compound itself and build into and upon itself until one game, my back told me, in no uncertain manner, that I was done. DONE.

I had crazy pain. Pain that I might just equate to labor pain. It was horrible. And awful. And excruciating. And constant.

I was sad. To put it mildly.

And as I sought treatment for that issue, I realized that while I was relatively fit, parts of my body had been sorely neglected and were now sending that message in quite an unfriendly manner. The realigning of my lower back sent my hip flexors into a revolt against the rest of my lower body. For those anatomy buffs, the hip flexor (aka the psoas) I've learned connects to the interior of some of those lower back vertebrae so when you start moving those, then the hip flexors resist, which pulls on the hips which irritates the IT band which then irritates some other muscles. It's super awesome. So these last weeks have played out like some crazy dramedy (you know-- drama plus comedy) which should've been cancelled before it began. I say dramedy because pain is drama. There's no getting around that. But to an outsider who's watching me slowly get in and out of my car, it's probably pretty funny.

I have come to have a great appreciation for how God has designed us. And I have also come to realize that fixing one issue often peels back the veil on several other issues. Or deeper issues.

So it goes with our souls. We might find ourselves dealing with fear and then we find ourselves dealing with anxiety and avoidance and denial and faith because of the fear. It's never just about the one thing. God sees us holistically so He also deals with us holistically. He peels back the layers of our hidden selves to see what we deem unseemly.

He plucks those unseemly bits like so many weeds and He doesn't mess around. When we surrender, He goes for the gusto and yanks the whole root out so that that weed is good and gone. But what's left is a raw and gaping hole where all that weed used to be. In His goodness, He doesn't leave us to our own devices because we'd go right back and fill that hole up with the first thing we could find that might sort-of fit. Instead, God offers us the very essence of Himself, His goodness, His grace, His love and as His grace flows down, those holes are filled with the stuff of holiness and grace. God straight up sanctifies those holes and what grows from the beauty He plants are vines laden with abundant fruit.

When I ignore my brokenness, my pain, my fear and try to bury it, the issue only gets worse and again, it becomes a mess derived of my own creation. Pretending something isn't there is a sort of perverted creating because it doesn't go away and the act of ignoring gives permission for that "thing" to then become.

Procrastination in doing, in surrendering, in addressing an injury does not speed healing. It negates healing. Denial of an injury does not promote healing. It prevents healing.
It doesn't really matter what the injury is or where the injury is.
And if 'injury' is too literal for you, replace it with 'brokenness.' That works, too.

I've learned some important lessons these last 5 weeks:

Embracing the pain and breathing through the pain help immensely with perspective. It's a season. If I'd addressed it earlier, the season might have been much shorter, but there are consequences for procrastination and denial. Thus the importance of breathing.

Rest is good. Rest promotes healing. Inside and out. Body and soul. While forced rest isn't always what we might order, I have found it's often what He orders when we've ignored the signs and symptoms for too long.

Jesus is faithful. Even when I don't understand all the ways my body freaks out, I can hold fast to the knowledge that He knows exactly what's not right since He knit me together. The Creator knows which offers me some peace when I don't know.

Broken things take time to un-break. I can't say that I'm back to fighting form yet. I'm better than I was a week ago and for that I'm grateful. But since I didn't break in a day but over a span of months, it's unrealistic to think that I can be put back together in a week or two. Healing takes time. (I know, you're probably saying "Duh, I know that" but this mama apparently forgets these simple truths sometimes!).

Little victories lead to big victories. I have to celebrate the small triumphs so I can keep my head, keep my peace, keep my wits. And the accumulation of small victories leads to those bigger victories that become stones of remembrance in a season where it's not just about the pain, which I'd like to forget, but about how Jesus met me right there in the middle of it.

Grace always Rises,

Hey there, I'm linked up today with some lovely ladies: Holley Gerth at Coffee for your Heartand Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, I've been there and that pain is unbearable! I remember thinking I might actually die from pain. And chronic pain can be so depressing. Praying for you and hoping you feel better very soon!