What Your Emotional Pain is Trying to Tell You
Earlier this year, my check engine light came on for my car. My car drove perfectly fine, so this caught me by surprise. I went to visit my mechanic to find out what was causing the issue, and they ran a series of tests. After completing their inspection, my mechanic gave me a rundown of what was happening. He shared that there was a small leak that was causing the problem. He said, we could just ignore the issue for now, and he could turn off the check engine light, but eventually, that leak would cause the other parts of the engine to malfunction, and I would have a much bigger problem on my hands. I could either choose to let them do the work now or be forced to do more work on my car later.
Just like a check engine light, God provides us with signals that there are aspects of our lives that need care. Initially, the signals might be small, and if we are able to still function during our day-to-day lives, we assume that everything is okay. However, if we continue to ignore the signs, our problems will only get worse. And when that happens, we will be forced to stop. One such signal is our pain.
Since I began my healing journey, I have developed an interesting relationship with pain. I guess it would be appropriate for me to refer to it as a love-hate relationship. I hate how it makes me feel at the time, but I understand it serves a purpose. We can think of pain as an alarm system that God gave us. Pain sounds the alarm, and says, “Hey! Something is not quite right here, and it needs your attention.” Just like a natural alarm, we have the ability to turn it off and ignore the warning, but it doesn’t mean that the problem is not there. It’s our job to take the necessary steps to explore what the pain is trying to tell us so we can properly care for our needs.
Bestselling author Caroline Myss notes that you must “commit yourself to healing all of the way to the source of the pain. This means turning inward and coming to know your wounds.” Coming to know your wounds can be a scary experience, especially when it requires us to be willing to sit in the emotions that many of us have tried to run from for years. This is a process that goes against what many of us have been taught to believe. Society has conditioned us to think that we should always run or avoid anything that causes pain or discomfort, versus explore it. We must challenge ourselves to develop a healthy relationship with pain because it’s something we cannot avoid. In fact, the Bible warns us that we should expect it (1 Peter 4:12). These warnings are not to discourage us, but to prepare us so that we don’t become overwhelmed when it happens.
Too often we place emotional Band-Aids on our wounds, so we don’t have to look at the damage underneath. Don’t be deceived. Running from what happened won’t make the pain go away. It still exists, and if we are not careful to treat it, it will infect every other area of our lives causing significant damage to us and those around us.
We must begin to address our hidden wounds by understanding that it will take time and a level of commitment that stretches us beyond our comfort zone. If we broke our leg, we would expect it to heal overnight. We would go into this process with the understanding that it’s going to take work, time, and commitment to fully recover from my injury. Our emotional healing is no different. There is no healing without the work, and a commitment to sit long enough in the discomfort that we feel when facing our wounds.
The discomfort that we feel while going through this process will be drastically overshadowed by the reward that awaits us. God has plans for us, and the challenges of our past and past do not change that. God is waiting to show us off to the world, “ For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT) Our emotional healing equips us to serve as agents of healing for others. In order for this to happen, we must trust God and stay the course. The healing process is not easy but the good news is, that you don’t have to go through this journey alone.
If you are looking for additional support to help you navigate your healing process, schedule a free counseling information session with our team. We would be honored to support you on your healing journey.
About the Author
Rev Jocelyn J. Jones
Rev. Jocelyn J. Jones is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in journalism. After earning her B.A., Jocelyn worked for channel 20, WYCC. She left the television industry to serve as the Executive Director of the ARK of St. Sabina, a youth center on Chicago’s Southside. While at the ARK, Jocelyn earned her master’s degree from the University of Chicago in social work. Tragically, the lives of several families she served were shattered due to gun violence. Those experiences and her own quest for emotional healing inspired her to establish her company, Faith on the Journey Counseling. Jocelyn earned her master’s degree in theological studies from McCormick Theological Seminary. She is an ordained minister, a training facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute, and the author of the book Breaking the Power of the Mask.
1Caroline Myss, Anatomy of the Spirit, Harmony Books, New York, 1996 p. 214