by Sabrina Schlesinger
I was eleven years old and the star of the musical, Oliver. My big solo was coming. I was escaping from the orphanage and running away to freedom, all while singing the saddest and sweetest song, Where Is Love? Do yourself a favor and google it right now. But grab some Kleenex first.
During the interlude of this song, I would need to exit the stage, run behind the set and enter on the other side of the stage to signify my long journey. But as I was exiting, unbeknownst to me, a gap had formed between the stairs and the platform and my foot ungracefully found that open space. Down I went, one leg in the abyss and the rest of my body hitting with a loud thud onto the platform. As I went behind the stage to get to my next scene, I cringed in pain, which quite frankly aided to my character’s angst, and I kept moving forward. After all, the show must go on!
Why do I share this sad, painful and embarrassing story? To tell you this.
As you well know, there are going to be unforeseen potholes that trip us up in life. They may be caused by someone else’s poor and evil decisions, you may bring them on yourself, or it’s simply because you are a part of a broken world. Whatever the reason for the misfortunate fall, you will have a choice of what comes next. Here are three common responses to pain.
• Some choose to remain stunted by the kick in the gut life gave them. And since they feel paralyzed by the pain, they have placed a pop-up tent around them and are calling it home.
• Some have chosen to raise hell about the hurt inflicted upon them. They want everyone to know how they were wronged and have placed barricades around that place of pain so no one can hurt them again.
• Others ignore that the hurt ever happened. They bare the marks of it–the bruises and scars–but pretend nothing has happened. They are embarrassed and ashamed.
If you are like me, I have found myself in each of those scenes at different times in my life.
Can you self-evaluate and be honest with yourself? Because it matters where you are. I’ve got good news. No one has to stay in any of those scenarios forever. Even if you’ve built a brick house around your pain. Even if it has become your identity. Even if you don’t know how to move on. You can flip the script on your pain.
Are you ready to move onto the next scene? If your answer is “yes,” here are three steps you must do:
So many people ignore the pain. They have lived with it for so long they’ve resolved to just tolerate and medicate it away. Our medications today can look like hours on social media and binge-watching shows…to name a few. But until we acknowledge the anguish residing in our heart, our mind, and our emotions, we will not begin our rehabilitation.
What we don’t reveal, God cannot heal.
Remember the guy with the withered hand in Mark 3? Jesus asked him to bring his deformity out of hiding and to extend it to Him. Jesus already knows what is going on, but there is something miraculous that happens when we willingly show Him those shattered spaces. He is tender. He sees you. And He invites you to reveal your damaged heart to Him.
The enemy of our soul has taken so much. Don’t let him rob the lesson from you as well. Allow God to take your place of pain and turn it into something useful, helpful, and healing for you and others because God wastes nothing. Mine for the diamond inside the rock. Reach for the gold inside the fire. My friend, beauty can always be found in the pain.
This world needs you to get up, to heal as you go, and to turn what was meant to destroy you into a pathway of hope for those coming behind you. You may have to limp, and your knees may be bloodied, but no matter what, cross that finish line!
We are all called to run this race that is set before us, pain and all. And thankfully we have Someone who modeled how to run a race and finish it well while being hit with betrayals, disappointments, unfair treatment, physical abuse, public humiliation, and so much more. He came out of it victorious so you and I could have unending access to the extraordinary overflow of His grace.
Sabrina Schlesinger is a mother to three biological girls and one adopted boy. She is a pastor’s wife, certified health coach, author of What Other Moms Never Told Me, and founder of Mom Mentor. Along with her husband, Matthew, they pastor Grace Church in Oceanside, CA and host two podcasts, Parenting on the Go and Marriage on the Go. She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines almost every day. She prefers reading books over watching tv, shopping over hiking, and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!