How are you coping with the pain in your life?
Coping is meant to be temporary until the healing you need is available and you’re ready to receive the healing.
Coping can provide immediate pain relief, but it won’t last forever. When the relief stops, the problem will be bigger and more painful.
Because coping isn’t the same as healing, you will eventually reach conclusions like:
- My coping doesn’t last long enough.
- My coping is creating more problems.
- The pain is too much for me.
Addiction is one way to cope. You can use it to hide your underlying symptoms so you don’t have to experience them. A simple definition of addiction is using something in a way other than how God intended it to be used. Any of the following can be used for pain relief:
- Video games
- or anything else when using it beyond God’s design.
In order to heal, you need to be in touch with your painful symptoms. You need to stop coping before you can start healing. You need to face your pain. Maybe you’ve become aware of your pain in one of these areas:
- Spiritual Pain
- Personal Pain
- Relational Pain
You can gain the whole world, but still feel empty inside. God placed in our hearts a desire for Him–a desire for meaning and purpose that transcends anything with can do or experience outside of a spiritual connection with God.
Life can throw curveballs at you. Sometimes more than one at a time. When you’re experiencing pain directly from a recent event, that’s Present Pain. If you don’t dwell on all the painful details every day or you’ve forgotten why you’re hurting, that’s Past Pain.
A recent experience–like you just stubbed your toe–can leave you feeling overwhelmed. You may be in shock and unable to function in your normal routine. The best time to deal with a traumatic event is as soon as possible after the event.
Work pain is a good example of present pain. It’s hard to forget because you experience it on a weekly basis. Work pain can become past pain when you find a new job. However, since God made you to serve Him, work pain will always be present.
You have a purpose to accomplish the work God prepared for you. But you can struggle to feel useful especially when you don’t know who you are or why God made you.
Work pain can be from a calling to work outside the home at a company, but it can also come from a calling to parent your children. If you have work pain, you might be thinking any of the following:
- I’m not contributing significantly.
- I’m unproductive.
- I failed.
- I lost my job and it feels like I lost my identity.
- Because my children are struggling, I must be a terrible parent.
If you aren’t willing or able to deal with event pain while it is still fresh in your mind, it can fade into the background and become enduring pain. After event pain goes underground, it can transform into any negative feeling such as:
Enduring pain can sometimes be “out of sight, out of mind,” but, unfortunately, it can resurface at any time with a vengeance. Eventually, the pain will be unavoidable and you’ll need to process the trauma and/or heal the emotional damage to your self-worth.
Parents, peers, children, friends, and romantic partners can all be sources of relational pain. You can be in a relationship and still feel lonely. You can be single and not lonely or struggle to find satisfaction being single.
At some point in their life, most people attempt an intimate relationship with the opposite sex. Without a good foundation, marriage can result in pain like nothing else on earth. We want you to enjoy all God has planned through marriage.
Whether you are single by choice or single until married, you need intimate relationships. But to have quality relationships, you need a place to grow in your relational skills. We want to help you identify and reach your goals in life.
Solutions to Heal Your Pain
Matt utilizes a form of therapy he calls Christian-identity therapy (CIT). The goal of CIT is to bring your self-image into alignment with your God-given identity. Having your self-image out of sync with your true identity can produce a significant level of discomfort. Most people cope with this pain through distraction and numbing. But grieving and lamenting are healthier options because they communicate any emotional pain directly to God.
CIT is an insight-oriented therapy. It helps you build awareness of your identity so you can grow into who God made you to be. Your identity is who you are. Your self-image is who you think or feel you are. Your identity can’t change, while your self-image changes frequently. Life’s challenges (sin, loss, abuse, and neglect) and creation’s curse can seriously distort your self-image so that you can no longer comprehend who you are. The resulting confusion prevents God’s people from thriving.
Read more detail about this therapy including symptoms, techniques, and benefits: