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Naturally, we try to avoid pain every chance we get. And certainly there’s no wisdom in seeking pain for its own sake. But pain is not always a bad thing. In fact, it can be a sign of something good.

For example, there tends to be much pain after surgery or recovering from any type of injury.

And while the pain is uncomfortable to say the least, it is also a sign of life and healing. Dead things don’t experience pain. 

And this is true for our emotional and relational pains as well.

The wounds of betrayal or the grief of loss, for instance, cut deep. And the initial pain is like none other. We’re overwhelmed and our pain feels all-consuming.

And, of course, in this moment we would love for nothing more than to stop the pain and to not hurt anymore.

But the pain is a sign that this injury matters and that our hearts are still alive enough to feel it.

We’re not affected in the same way when our hearts are dead toward a particular individual or situation. 

And the pain is also evidence that our heart wants to heal.

While our nerve endings are exposed and we’re sensitive to everything, this is part of the healing process. And regardless of how we were initially hurt, we must go through this necessary suffering to heal.

We inadvertently kill our own hearts when we simply try to stop the pain and avoid the hurt.

The only way not to feel the pain of life and relationships is to die inside. But this deadens us to the profound joy and beauty available as well.

In the end, don’t hold on to your pain any longer than necessary. And don’t run from it either. It’s often a good sign that your heart is still alive and willing to heal.

Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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