Remember how we talked about pain? I've had a few really good weeks. It's been awesome! And then this week some pain came back. My legs and hips hurt so much, and my thighs are so tight that when they are rubbed, they bruise right up and down. (It's super-pretty... watch out, swimsuit season!)
As a side note, I have been feeling 100% better mentally, and I believe 100% that it is because of God answering prayer. I would take physical pain over feeling like my energy and my personality are depleted any day of the week. And I'm still praying and believing that God can heal my physical pain as well, because He certainly can.
Some kinds of pain come in cycles or waves, I think. Maybe you have a pain that comes back over and over, too? I'm glad we can sit together over coffee and talk about this, because it always helps me when I put words to what I feel. You, too?
How do we persevere? How do we push against the hurt that wants to dull our sparkle?
This is a completely non-exhaustive list of ideas:
* Kiss - When my hubby kisses me, it makes the whole world sparkle, whether my joints creak and my muscles feel like petrified wood or not. I highly recommend kissing. Although you do have to find your own kisser, because my husband (although magical) is already taken.
* Laugh - Sometimes my kids and I get laughing, and our faces are like 2 inches apart, and we can practically see up each other's noses, and I can't even catch my breath. Who even knows what we laughed at, because the laughing itself became so funny. Especially when my 4yr old does the "Weezy" laugh from Dragon Tales, where she laughs-then-snorts, which cracks her up and then becomes a crazy cycle of laughing and snorting. (And she may have inherited this from my mother's side of the family, because I know I have heard this somewhere before.)
* Spruce Yourself Up - Not even joking. You know how even on a day you're home sick you feel like ten thousand percent more human when you are dressed in real clothes? Same basic idea. When your body (or your heart) hurts, I think it always feels a little bit more hopeful to make time to take care of yourself.
* Create - When there is something crummy you can't change, there is still always something you can change. When we create - whether words, photos, crafts, decor, jewelry, sewing, organizing, cooking - we become part of a process of making change that feels really restorative and encouraging. I believe this is because we are made in the image of a God who is a Creator. (This may not be a popular sentiment these days.)
* Reach Out - The temptation is to look inward when we hurt. And sometimes we need that for a time. Some hurts are really big. Some things hit you and knock you down for a while and you just need to curl up and feel everything for a time. But when you get back up again, a really good place to start finding healing is in looking outward and expressing care for someone else. My un-scientific theory is that everyone is carrying a little bit of hurt most days. And sending a note, making a call, taking time to connect with someone personally will probably make your hurt and their hurt feel smaller.
* Don't Flip Out - Ladies, this is for us. Or maybe for just me. That's possible, too. When things are tough, it's easy to get short-fused. Each of us has our own way of losing our cool when we've had a difficult day, so just DON'T do whatever that flipping-out-thing-you-do is. Ok? Keep perspective. Things will improve. You will survive. Breathe. It will be ok, friend.
* Use Your Words - Another un-scientific theory: When you give your feelings words, the heavy stuff falls away and sometimes you feel better as soon as you've spoken them. This theory is best practiced with someone you are really close to and to whom you can say the words, "Ok, can I just vent for a sec?" to prior to spilling all your emotions everywhere. It's not about any answers. It's totally just about getting words moving, so that I'm-so-sick-and-tired-of-this-stupid-crap feeling can get unclogged. Really, truly, just saying it helps! (I swear this is true, because I feel better right now, sitting on the yellow couch telling you all this than I did a little while ago. Thanks for helping!)
* Get Your Heart Right - Pain can cause a lot of discouragement. The only way I've found to keep from being overwhelmed by hard things is God - reading His words in the Bible, prayer, being encouraged by what other authors share about the Lord, being with my peeps who love Jesus. His grace is very cool. He is the reason any of us can keep getting back on our feet when circumstances knock us around a little (or a lot). I'm not sure how people who don't know Jesus do it. I don't have the strength in myself alone to withstand hard things. I can only get by because of Jesus. (If you have a hard thing you carry, and you don't know Jesus, but you are curious about maybe getting to know him, you can definitely talk to me, and I will try my best to answer your questions or help you find answers or to pray with you, friend.)
I'm going to pour another cup of coffee. Would you like one? It has been so nice to sit together and talk. Are there ways you get through the hurting places or deal that you can share with us? You can leave ideas in the comments, and we can get better at this stuff together.