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Living With Pain

Faith. It’s such a mystery. Just when you think you’re living it something comes up to show that you’re not or not entirely. Pain has a way of revealing that truth. I’ve lived with chronic pain for 21 years. I don’t even remember what it feels like without it. Going from doctor to doctor and receiving no help, I just grew to accept it. It is what it is. Throughout the years, I asked God to teach me things that could be positive in living with it. He did. I learned to be more intentional about what I am doing rather than signing up for anything that sounded good. I learned that quality is better than quantity in what I did. I learned that pacing myself resulted in more success rather than running around stressed. Pain is a good teacher.

Although I’m still in the process of grasping all these lessons, I’ve decided I had had enough of its lessons. I’m tired of its presence. I realized that somewhere along the line of accepting it, I lost my belief in healing. I continued to put myself last in the family order. No sense spending money on vitamins or other things especially when there’s more hope for someone else in the family. My lack of belief ended was a block to my healing.

As usual, December didn’t disappoint. Every December I either suffer from a month- long headache or some kind of fibromyalgia flare up. After 2 years of dealing with an arm and leg injury with no healing in sight, I reached this December exhausted. I gave up. I no longer cared about fighting the pain. It is what it is. Well, that attitude only made things worse. By the end of the month, my whole body was in pain. It felt as if I was being crushed by my own muscles every morning. Food tasted horrible, and soon I was losing interest in that. I felt discouraged and I felt angry, not at God, but more at myself.

As I sat looking at my empty white board wondering what I should put down as my year’s goals, the thought struck me. At the end of 2023, I’d like to be pain free. The absurdity of the thought made me shrink back. After 21 years, would this even be possible? Then again, I did see God do a lot of impossible things in 2022, why not this? With renewed determination, I wrote it down for the first time ever. I would do whatever it takes to be pain free by 2024.

My first test came when my daughter and I were told to see an acupuncturist. I had never been. Being stuck with needles wasn’t really in my wheelhouse, but I was willing now to do whatever I needed to do. As we were waiting in the exam room, the receptionist walked in looking sad. She told me that our insurance didn’t cover it and that we could leave if we didn’t want to pay out of pocket. God’s still small voice whispered in my thoughts, “Faith. Whatever it takes, remember?” With firm resolution, I responded, “We’ll stay.” My thoughts were more like, “God, you’re going to provide for this right?” I know the answer already. Yes, my father in heaven who cares for the birds will take care of me.

It’s always good to start the year off with a question that you can pray about throughout the upcoming months. My question to God is this - what is the difference between surrendering to something versus a lack of faith which results in giving up? When do we lay down our swords and when do we pick them up? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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