cour·age~noun \ˈkər-ij, ˈkə-rij\
Definition of COURAGE~ mental or moral strength to venture; persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
Courage is often defined as the ability to do something that frightens one, and also strength in the face of pain or grief.
Children who suffered abuse are usually taught two things; 1) they get punished for trying to defend themselves, and 2) they get punished for trying to express their painful and negative emotions about the abuse taking place.
Because of the abuse we often grow up with fears. One of them can be the fear of intimacy with people we know and love. We fear getting too close, we fear being known. When trust has been broken and damaged we fear connecting with others. Often we hide from people in plain sight!!
I can’t help but wonder if addictions, whether it is drugs, work, or food, in a sense it keeps us on the run, keeps others at a distance and prevents us from facing the pain that lurks below the surface.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, When Fear Drives us to Run, my greatest fear was pain….I wanted to avoid pain at all costs. When life got messy, or when circumstances caused me pain, I ran!! I went into hiding, hoping the pain would disappear….I didn’t know how to deal with pain, what to do with it. As a child I was never given the tools to handle pain in a healthy way.
Some people have had so much pain that they are overwhelmed by it. When they think of trying to work through the pain, to face the realities of what has occurred, they want to shut down and give up.
We think that if we ignore it then it will just go away and when that doesn’t happen we try to run away and hide.
But whether we try to ignore it by hiding, or by addictions, or whether we literally move to another city or area of the country thinking that the move will allow us to escape the pain, it will follow us. There is no escaping pain, no matter how hard we try.
But there is hope…..
There is a way to work through the pain and come out on the other side healthier, stronger, and perhaps even able to help others through their own pain…but first comes having to face it.
I have come to believe that fear is based on our inability to control life….. it causes us to be anxious and focus on non-realities, imaginary and often irrational possibilities that stand precariously on the remote possibility of it acutally happening.
With permission I am sharing some very wise words regarding pain from a friend, Vern Hyndman. http://notsafebutgood.blogspot.com/
I met Vern through a Christian website and I have the utmost respect for him. He shares from a heart that has been tested and come through….he knows of what he speaks!!
This is what he has shared with me: “Avoiding pain, the inability to effectively live THROUGH pain, fuels some of the most destructive behaviors and beliefs.
Pain, like happiness, is a byproduct. Pain, like happiness, is a gift. Pain and happiness are not destinations, happiness isn’t a place that we can move to, and pain is not a place we are sequestered to… particularly emotional pain.
Attempts to deny or avoid pain simply prolong it, but all pain generally can be managed; one cannot manage something that one refuses to acknowledge.
We cannot effectively stop pain, but we can choose our response. And truly, for ALL pain, the best response is Jesus… because Jesus treats pain holistically. Jesus doesn’t anesthetize the pain at expense to our liver, as many of our pain management schemes. Jesus does not see pain as THE problem, pain is simply the indicator that reminds us to engage the Creator… like a cosmic “check engine” light.
Most of the most valuable gifts from God in my life have been unwelcome initially.
Pain is like the wrapper that some of the best gifts from God come in. We are shaped by God into who we are by the process, and the process is painful.
To be blessed by a life with no pain is to live in blessed ignorance, with no depth of gratitude. Those who have lived through the valley of desolation, and have learned to surrender to Jesus, and who are being healed and restored, these people know how to live in a blessed moment, because they know so well what other alternatives look like.
Manning said that Jesus, when we finally embrace, is not so interested in our accolades and achievements, He wants to see the scars we took in His name.
I think God redeems pain, that He takes what we least like to talk about, and like the ultimate junkyard warrior, builds something intricate and beautiful from what was meant to kill.”
Wow, lots of good words from a wise friend….
In my own life I have learned that pain that isn’t acknowledged takes up space inside of me…I need to process it in order to find healing.
Stephen Arturburn in his book, HEALING IS A CHOICE: Ten Decisions That Will Transform Your Life & Ten Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them, points out that God has provided the properties to heal within every facet of our nature — bodily, emotionally and spiritually. He writes: “It takes courage to seek out, obtain, and utilize whatever resources you need to treat the untreated areas of your life. But not everyone has the courage. Not everyone is willing.”
Just as fear is based on our inability to control life so is faith: faith causes us to trust and focus on possibilities and promises that have in times past proven true for those whose hearts recognize that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
When you look at fear versus faith they have two completely different foundations and outcomes; one is based on the absolute faithfulness of an unchanging, eternal and loving Heavenly Father, while the other one is on our weak and anxious attempts to grasp at the wind.
It takes courage to bring to God the broken pieces of our life, but when we do He creates with them a masterpiece. God takes what the enemy meant for evil and supernaturally transforms it into a blessing….He takes the land of cursing and changes it into a land of blessing.
Fear drives us to run while courage helps us to heal.