Our hearts can grow tough and brittle. The difficulties and challenges, the trauma’s and tragedies that we all have experienced in some form or fashion, can do a number on our internal reserves.
Often we shrink from these things. And often rightly so. Yet many years ago I learned a very valuable lesson that has stood me in good stead ever since.
It was the birthing day of my oldest child. I’d never been in labour before, was young and not familiar with pushing through pain and quite simply, looking back, did not know the strengths I possessed.
One memory stands out strong. I was laying on my side in the bed, with eyes closed, breathing through each contraction, using a bit of gas as I went along.
At the end of a contraction I opened my eyes to find my doctor standing against the window-sill, simply watching me. Observing how I was handling the pain, how I was coping.
And he spoke to me the most profound words I have ever heard:
“Just let the pain do what it is supposed to do.”
I’ve carried those words ever since, and while I won’t go into the long story here, let me say that I’ve had lots of practice letting pain do what it is supposed to do.
The results have been magnificent.
You see, we have two options when it comes to pain. We can shrink from it, our souls and minds becoming shriveled and pinched, with life shrinking-in and our spirits playing smaller and smaller with each passing day.
Or we can allow pain to wash over our being, exactly as a contraction washes over a woman’s body when in labour, birthing in our lives strength and resilience and flexibility of heart, spirit, mind and body.
Shrinking back from pain results in tightened muscles, anxious anticipation, nervous reactions and wasted energy.
All of which make for brittle living, embittered spirits, exhausted hearts and limited vision. We go from weakness to weakness. Like worn out wine skins, weathered tennis shoes, or neglected car leather, our inner being becomes increasingly fragile.
We cannot contain the glory of God, do not have emotional reserve for miracles or blessings, and we wonder what the heck has gone wrong with our life.
The study of oil is of great interest. Physically we use oil to soften parched skin, add shine to hair, seal wounds and when massaged oil brings relief to sore and weary muscles.
It is the perfect picture of God and us.
I’ve seen firsthand time and time again, how the presence of God soaks into an individuals reality, bringing an oil of sorts to worn-out hearts, restoring sheen to lackluster spirits, and vibrancy to life’s muscle.
Pain need not have the last say in our lives. Inviting God into the atrophied parts of our being, makes for something profound.
I guarantee it