Lately, pain has been my constant companion. It has crippled me in ways that I am unable to explain. Just the thought of putting myself out there again is in some ways unbearable. I’m not writing this for your sympathy or attention but I have been searching and seeking some respite in the form of courage.
Have you ever had a season where pain has found you like a long lost friend?
Google has been my doctor. I’ve sat in his waiting room seeking guidance and comfort. Friends have become my refuge. With heaviness sitting awkwardly between us. My thoughts have been laced with cynicism and finding the discipline to reframe their weightedness has been harder than ever before.
Late last year I remembered my state of confusion when it seemed I had lost the capacity to feel. I had numbed myself to the pain, but in doing so I lost the human vehicle designed to feel the heights and beauty of a life lived sown.
Twenty Seventeen began as my season of learning to feel again. Rather than escaping the pain that had followed my previous year, I found safe spaces to process the pain, through to a space of feeling again.
At the beginning of the year, I gave found one word that I was seeking focus and intention around for the year. This word was “Strength”.
Strength. What God you want me to find strength this year?
Strength. What in a season that I feel the weakest ever?
Strength, how? When all I can do is keep myself from going under?
Strength, I am.
Strength, I seek.
Strength, Beyond my own capacity.
Just recently in the midst of this saunter through self-discovery and grace, I realised that maybe all those angry feelings that had been exploding out, all over my life. Maybe those feelings were the expression of things I had held captive in a season of pain. Maybe when I was told I should be quiet and not to cause strife. When I wanted to focus on the right things rather than the wrong and discover myself again.
Anger expressed made me feel weak. But strength was uncovered when it was directed at the right cause.
Cynicism and disappointment discovered made me feel shameful. But they were placated when the true source of their hindrance was uncovered.
Confusion and frustration snuck up from behind and tapped me on the shoulder. But a counsellors couch clarified that my feelings of betrayal and isolation were in fact very valid and my voice mattered.
Just as muscles need to rip to swell into their place of strength and breadth, maybe the recovery of my true voice and calling again needed to be found at the bottom of a pit of vulnerability. In a place where I felt so unable, that I reached out for help again.
Growth is awkwardly uncomfortable and I have realised that learning to feel again is a place of discovery.
We never arrive.
Vulnerability asks that we are honest.
The secret place of wisdom asks us, however, that we find safe spaces to learn to dream again.
Oh Pain, I am learning that I need to face you and hold your hands.
Because growth is accompanied by pain and I never want to stop learning.
Twenty Seventeen you will not be my undoing, in fact, you could possibly be my finest hour.
Growth, I will embrace you and find forgiveness in the depth of your arms.
3 thoughts on “Finding strength through the pain of growth”
Thank you for being so open and honest. I really needed to read this today.
Sounds like a huge journey. Interesting, when you messaged me the other day I was sitting at school listening to someone give a lecture on why it is not enough to paint out world with gratitude when resentment lurks under the surface. We need to let resentmeant (she called resentment pain that was unsent/not directed yet) out in order to heal and then continue in gratitude. This was my paraphrase for the day anyway.
Reading your words just made me think- we stay in those pain places sometimes cause we try to cover them with all the things we are grateful for. Our intelligence tells us that we shouldn’t be sad at our own situations when we look at the rest of the world- we should be grateful… but pain is still pain and our pain is valid. It needs to be felt, heard and passed through us in order to move on.
Always love your thoughts Amanda and the journey that they steer me on. Thanks for allowing me to wander/ponder for a little. Thanks for being real. Xxx
Love your realness and vulnerability Amanda. Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately, yes deep hurts and unresolved ‘issues’ can have negative consequences we often may mask.
There came a time when I couldn’t do life anymore and I totally crumbled for nearly 2 years, unable to function at any level. Thankfully I am still here. God is faithful, loving and carried and sheltered me. He brought me graciously through the pain, the disappointments, the loss, grief and loneliness, rejection and more. He unravelled layers and literally ‘rebuilt’ me. I found myself in a deeper relationship with Him than I had ever known. Being striped back, totally exposed and having to ‘deal with’ everything was a long, slow, painful and incremental process.
Today I live free having experienced and learnt much and I’m still learning. I’m not saying there will be no more challenges because they add to our growth, wisdom and more. I can say that I recognise more now that I need to deal with ‘things’ as they arise and in God’s timing and not stuff things under the carpet, so to speak, smashing the mask to be no more.