Matt. 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
So many of us spend our lives trying to avoid pain. We escape painful conversations through avoidance or dry wit; we self-medicate to dull the senses; we get lost into a virtual world to fake it through life; we sit statically instead of physically pushing ourselves; we want to be comforted not convicted. We would rather become StatusQuo Joe, Even Steven and Unchanged Charlie.
Change though is painful. My wife, in counseling, often told clients to expect that counseling will be painful. Things will get harder before they get better, because as we uncover our life, we expose old wounds. Just like starting a new exercise regime, evaluating and exercising new muscles takes tearing old habits in order for new habits to be built.
If we listen–and embrace–the pain in our lives, we can realize it is a strong motivator for change: Pain Provides Motivation.
Being attune to the presence of pain can highlight where things are not going well, and cause us to look for new directions. Pain originated in the garden after Eve took control; pain is a natural consequence because something is out of whack.
Pain lets us know that something is not right, and challenges us to do something different to alleviate the pain. Otherwise, we become debilitated, trapped and mired in a painful existence.
And strangely overtime our nerves stop sending the alert that something is wrong; we become numb. So unless we recognize the power of pain in our lives to change us, we will become numb to the normal.
So while Pain alerts us, we then need Possibility to change:
Without pain there is no motivation. Without possibility there is no direction in which people can address their pain. ~Rendle
Pain without possibility is torture. We are stuck without a hope of relief. Power comes from both pain and possibility.
Christ brings us both pain and possibility. He highlights the areas of pain in our lives–challenging us to face them. Then he provides us direction–a way out of the pain.
Christ is not a warm blanket to cover over our pain. He is not a ibprofen to be taken when the pain gets too much. Instead He is a pain-maker to initiate change in our life’s direction.
He tells us to pick up our crosses and follow him, after all.
What is causing you pain? How are you being motivated to change? What possibility of relief is out there for you?
(thankfully, God also comes as the Spirit who is the Comforter and peace-maker, but that’s a later devotion for once the pain of Christ gets you going)