When You Just Can’t Go There: Living With Private Pain
You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
It’s not anyone’s business.
We all have areas of private pain that plague us. It’s part of being human. For whatever the reason, whatever the cause, we all carry them. For some of us those areas are so deep, or perhaps even so buried that we can’t even access them. We’ve lost our ability to go there. We can’t. And in this particular area, we may even feel disabled. For others of us, we are constantly aware of them, we know what they are and what they’re all about, and they continually nag us, making life difficult.
This post is definitely about healing and restoration. Yet before we visit that application – God is leading me to take this post another direction first. I believe He wants me talk about how to handle these areas, because I believe He wants you to know that you are, in fact, normal.
It’s time to put away the labels. They don’t help.
We all carry private pain that no one else has any business knowing about. Yet one of the temptations for those who are hurting is to find a safe place to share. We do this in an attempt to find the comfort and understanding we need, and even to obtain help. And at times that is absolutely necessary. I’m a huge advocate of receiving ministry, counseling, and other helps for obvious issues such as divorce, suicide, depression, etc. In no way do I intend to diminish these vital areas of ministry.
But this is different.
The pain I’m talking about here is not necessarily so easily or neatly categorized. Sometimes the pain we suffer from is regarding such private matters, such holy things, such precious individuals, that they really need to be given a sanctified place with God – and God alone.
These are not things you talk about. They are not topics of conversation with friends. They are not issues another individual will even understand should you ever attempt to share. They are unique to you, your loved ones, and your own experiences which are many times impossible to categorize or verbalize. They don’t fit anywhere on the spectrum. They are yours. And with that being said, I want to tell you:
God understands this kind of pain. These matters are utterly clandestine. They deserve a sanctified privacy. Therefore, I want to talk about how to handle this type of pain wisely so that you are not further injured. Because in an attempt to receive the healing we need, which God has promised us, we often make well-intentioned mistakes to obtain it by seeking human help. When that is done without proper discretion it can bring further confusion, and exacerbate and perpetuate the pain unnecessarily.
Once accessed, this kind of pain requires intensive care.
Before I go any further I want to preface this post by making one thing absolutely clear: God wants to heal your pain. Regardless of its cause, in no way does He intend that you suffer indefinitely or alone. Begin to prepare yourself to receive His healing. Seek His face in how to approach this. If that includes human help, by all means obey God in that leading.
You Can’t Go There
I know what it’s like to suddenly be blurry-eyed in the midst of a casual conversation upon the mention of one word, or a name – and suddenly I’m sucking back tears. I know what it’s like to listen to other people talk about something that strikes that one delicate chord, or plucks that one vulnerable heart-string that just sends you over the edge emotionally, and suddenly you have to politely excuse yourself. And only you know why. I know what it’s like to witness something in a crowd that turns you emotionally inside out, yet for everyone else it’s just another normal day, and no one even notices.
And when you suddenly get that look on your face that no one else recognizes, and it seems so out-of-place – it’s actually very appropriate for you. And that’s okay. I get it.
We all have things that we privately endure that are not a matter of counseling. They’re not a matter of conversation. They’re not a matter of anything that needs “fixing”. These are not matters anyone can truly counsel. These are deep, complex, private matters of the heart that only you and God know about. No one else. This pain is unique to you, and you already know that if you were to try to explain it to someone, you’re going to be very isolated, because there’s not a human being on earth dead or alive who would possibly understand. And even if there was, it would take half your lifetime to explain – and you just can’t go there.
Yep, I get it.
You know what? I believe that applies to all of us. We’ve all got those areas in us that are uniquely ours. We own them. They’re intensely private. And that’s okay.
I want you to know that they should stay that way, and that you are normal. Really – you are. This is called being human.
But that doesn’t mean you have to surrender your life to this pain. Because there is someone who can go there, and I’d like you to know Him. Regardless of the issue at hand, there is no reason you should suffer indefinitely or alone. It’s time to heal.
God Can Go There
In those areas we can’t seem to access, God can go there. He’s done that for me on numerous occasions and He often taps into that area through subtle instances such as those I described above. They come gently throughout the course of any ordinary day or interaction with others. They’re often unanticipated, and at the time may seem very unwelcome – yet they are powerful invitations, because they touch that place into which God wants an entrance. And if we’ll recognize those opportunities with Him, He’ll be able to heal those areas in us that we just can’t visit or figure out.
Your heart is the sanctuary of God. It’s where His Spirit resides. That does not imply, by any means, that we are immune to pain, suffering, or heartbreak. Even Christ Himself suffered a broken heart for our sake upon the cross, and He intimately felt the pain of others. He was utterly crushed in body, soul, and spirit. If anyone knows pain, it’s Jesus Christ. He has purchased your full redemption in body, soul and spirit.
The safest place to go is to Him – the One who created you and who knows your heart intimately. Allow Him access to that area by inviting Him into it. It doesn’t mean you have to try to open up the door, because you may not even know where that door is located. You may not even know how. You simply need to give Him permission to access that area, because only He knows how to handle it. This is not something anyone else can do for you. This is not something you entrust to human hands and hearts. It’s not something you can even do yourself. This healing is something only the LORD can perform and provide.
Please trust Him to do that for you today.
It takes time, and it’s a process, but it’s so worth the journey. Truly, God is enough for you. His grace is sufficient for you in all your weakness and infirmities.
This is a short post, and it’s one that I felt led to write. Whoever you are, I just want you to know that if you have one of those moments when you’re the only one holding back tears, putting on a poker face, or politely excusing yourself, that you are a normal human being. And just because you can’t go there, doesn’t mean God can’t or that He won’t. Whatever it is, He knows. He understands. And He is able to heal that deep place you can’t seem to reach.
It begins with one simple prayer, “God, I welcome you here. Come into this place and heal me.”
I promise you, you will never be sorry for praying that prayer. May His healing be yours, fully. Today.
Cheers & Shalom,
Image Credit: kalhh | Pixabay