All our lives we learn to avoid pain. I don’t think anyone needs to teach us. Steering clear of pain often comes naturally, and sometimes we learn it the hard way. The older we get, the wiser we are with our decisions to stay pain free. But sometimes leaning into the pain is how we will experience healing. Leaning into the pain instead of avoiding it. It’s so counter-everything we know.
My 2 year old has had some trouble with “digestion” lately. Or really she’s having trouble staying regular. It happened about a month ago. I don’t know how or why it happened, but the experience for her was traumatic enough she has since figured out a way to avoid it. When she felt the moment coming she would simply clench and avoid the issue. (sry if this is TMI) As the weeks went on, it was obvious to me what she needed to do to solve her problem. She needed to stop clenching, let go, and lean in. She needed to face her pain head on as the only way to resolve her issue. Try telling that to a 2 year old.
And while I’ll save you the details of how I help her daily overcome this issue, I couldn’t help but look at her little body, walking on her tip toes, clenching her tiny butt cheeks, doing everything she could to physically keep herself from what she believed would be painful was actually making the problem worse.
And isn’t this how it is with us as well? We do everything in our power to avoid our pain, when really letting go and leaning into pain is the very thing to offer freedom. It is the very thing that will heal our souls. And let me tell you I wish there was another way. I wish that life really was all unicorns and days at Disneyland. But its not. Life is hard. And when we clench our fists and clench our hearts we end up in a space of spiritual constipation, unsure how and why we got stuck.
Much like my daughters problem we can dance around our pain, we can employ tactics and techniques to avoid, escape, and distract. But there is no real healing there.
The healing comes in the letting go: opening our tightly clenched fists to Him…what have we been holding onto to protect ourselves? Let go and let Him in. He is gentle and humble. He will sweep clean the areas of pain we’ve been holding onto. The sweeping might be a little painful, but it doesn’t last long. And its a good kind of pain, the kind of pain that heals fully.
And He is not unfamiliar to pain. This is the pain He faced head on. He endured the cross – knowing that as He leaned into His own pain there would be true life and freedom on the other side for all of eternity.
“Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!” Hebrews 12:2 TPT