Finding Pain Out — Before It Leads Us On

Pain tends to be the one thing in life that always gets our attention. Perhaps this is the reason that we all tend to hate pain. It forces us to deal with things we would rather ignore or avoid. Paul Tripp

Physical pain — hate it.
Emotional pain — hate it.
Mental pain — hate it.

Who likes pain?

No one I know.

Author Paul Tripp makes a good case for viewing pain (in all its forms) from a different perspective. His bottom-line premise is that since none of us can avoid pain, we might as well make it our ally.

Crushing long-lasting pain or small, brief moments of pain…both become instructors.

Sometimes little moments are the best place to learn significant things. In the big, cataclysmic moments, we are working so hard just to survive that it is hard to learn much in the middle of them. Because the little moments get our attention without being so confounding, they can be better teachers.

Tripp is right in this observation for when we are in the midst of a huge catastrophe, we’re only trying to survive it. On the other hand, the countless “small moments” of pain can be much more instructive because we have more energy, time, and thought to give to them. It is in the daily pain that we can grasp hold of the bigger picture and work toward solutions that “work” over the long haul.

One of the primary dangers of reacting (overreacting) to sudden pain is that we can make decisions we will regret once the suffering subsides.

Tripp writes —

When you are in the middle of the painful heat of difficulty, it is very hard to keep the big picture in view. It is very easy for your view of life to shrink to the size of the difficulty of the moment. When this happens you begin to live more for survival than with purpose. This often leads to decisions and actions that you later live to regret.

What Tripp points out is hard to hear, painfully hard. Life, even when ridden with pain of all kinds, must be lived with more than a mere “survival” mentality. Otherwise, our lives become solely reactive.

Reacting to this, reacting to that, and then paying the painful price for those knee-jerk reactions rather than stepping back allowing the pain to “inform us” instead of “leading us” into conversations and situations we’ll soon regret.

For two good reasons alone Tripp believes we should accept pain as necessary parts of our lives.

1. Pain announces to us that something is wrong, and therefore, dangerous to ignore.
2. We need to listen to our pain because it is telling us something we need to hear.


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