If you would’ve told me four years ago, or even a year ago, that pain would be a gift, I would’ve said you were crazy. Pain is painful, right? So how on Earth could it ever be a gift?
Pain is a signal, a cry for help from a body that’s suffering. It’s a way to tell you that it needs something. The confusing part, usually, is what. What does it want?
Does it want more kale, more sleep, more fresh air, more exercise, or more rest?
Does it need more of a certain vitamin or supplement? Maybe it needs a certain nutrient from food?
Maybe it’s less stress or more contemplation. Maybe it needs medicine and less winging it naturally.
Chronic pain and its signals can be equally frustrating and helpful, but it’s often painful.
You can’t go to sleep because you can’t get comfortable, or you wake up early in pain.
You make plans only to have to cancel because you’re too tired or in too much pain. Or you never make plans because you’re never sure how you’re going to feel, and you’re tired of disappointing people.
You take time off work or decide that you’re not well enough to work altogether.
It’s all these things and so much more. But is there anything to learn from pain? I believe it can be our greatest teacher if we let it. Here’s what it’s taught me:
- That I need to rest or that I did too much the previous day
- I need to drink more water or pay attention to what I’m eating
- I can be equally reliant on lifestyle modification as I can on medication
- To be more empathetic towards others who are suffering
- To control what I can and let the Lord do the rest
- Asking for help isn’t weakness; it’s the greatest strength
- Not to stress over minutiae, but allow room for growth
- To change my perspective of success
- To advocate for myself when I need something that my care team isn’t willing to provide
- The best time to help others with their struggles is when I’m in the midst of mine
These are a few of the deeply meaningful lessons that my pain gives me. What has it taught you?