Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Last time you heard from me, I was totally vulnerable and bare before you—reminiscing on a few revealing moments I had with the Holy Spirit. While uncomfortable, I wanted to be honest with you on purpose. Not too many bloggers invite you into their own personal world of chaos, and personally, I think that's a little bit unfair. We all have traits that are quite unpleasant. We all fall short of the kingdom, the Bible says.
But, I've learned that the fall is what God draws near to.
He loves a good mess to rescue and redeem. And, by mess, I mean exactly that. A whole, nasty hot mess. Not the kind we often sugarcoat, thinking that God only forgives the tiny white lies. No way. He steps into addictions, sexual immorality, mental illnesses, unexpected pregnancies... (the list could go on and on)... and turn it around for good.
In other words, He's not afraid to get near the dirt.
He'll walk right into it. The Bible says that even if we make our bed in hell, He is there (Psalms 139:8). And, if He promises to be with us in the depths, don't you think He wouldn't mind holding you through the fire? Do you really believe that God would act too bad and boujee to help you out? I hope not, because with what we're going to talk about today, you're going to hope that God doesn't show Himself out of your life when it starts to get crazy. You're going to hope that God doesn't mind a hot mess when pain starts to kick in.
Ever met someone who has an incredibly low tolerance for pain? For example, even a paper cut could send them over the edge? Well, if you haven't, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce myself.
I'm Ayana, and I don't do pain.
I don't tolerate it in my body, and I especially don't tolerate it in my heart. But, you want to know a horrifying fact? When you're in pain, your brain can't tell the difference between emotional pain and physical. So, in other words, a breakup can literally hurt just as bad as a broken ankle.
May I repeat: I don't do pain.
So, what do I do? Anything and everything I can to avoid it.
And when I am in pain? I find any and every way to make it stop—no matter what it is, no matter what it takes. I don't negotiate. I don't ask questions. If something helps me get rid of the pain, I sign up.
This sounds innocent at first, but realizing this about myself was very scary, being that I wouldn't question the opportunity for a temporary moment of relief, no matter what it would require of me. But, since I was so honest with you in the last post, I may as well peel off another layer of truth about myself in this post too: I'm big and bad when I don't put any limits on whatever it takes to be pain-free, but when someone tells me that all I have to do is pray, (brace yourself), sometimes, I get deeply offended.
I may have some reasons to defend myself on why I get this way, starting with the fact that sometimes, the pain is so bad I won't have any words. Sometimes, a weak, vulnerable, "Help!" is all I can offer to God. And, now that I'm more transparent with you, I'll tell you this:
Those type of prayers don't make me feel good at all.
It emphasizes my desperation. It doesn't get rid of the pain. And, mind you, all I want to do is one thing: get rid of the pain!!! So, when the advice offered to me is, "pray," I will admit: I get offended, because there have been moments where my mind was too preoccupied, too full, too damaged, I almost didn't know how or what to pray. Even while I knew that my seemingly terrible excuse of a prayer, my cry for help, would be sufficient for God, I felt like it wasn't sufficient for me.
The second reason why I would get offended? I not only want to get rid of the pain, but I want to get rid of the pain instantly. I want the pain gone, gone quickly, and gone for good. And I had to learn the hard way that God doesn't remove pain like that all of the time. Sometimes, He does it in a moment. Other times, He'll do it years past the original request. (All for really good reason, might I add. I never understood why God wouldn't move in the moment I wanted Him to, but looking back, I realized that His timing was way better than mine. Shocking, right?) One of my favorite speakers, Pastor Robert Madu, puts it this way:
"Everything may not change in a moment with God. But, because of that moment, everything can change."
I love this quote so much, I'm just about ready to tattoo it on my body (A pain I actually can handle, believe it or not.) But, when I'm hurting deeply, I wish everything could change in a moment. I wish God would just spill the why, who, what, and how all in that moment. You know why? Because I've found that a lot of my pain disappears when I know every single detail.
For example: Closure. I hurt a little less when I have closure with someone, knowing the exact reason why we didn't work out, whose fault it was for it not working out, where we're going to go from there, what's next for us both...the details! It's a know-it-all's favorite word. Details.
This is why my relationship with Christ is so interesting. He calls me to live by faith, not by details.
Big sigh, on my part. Again, I really only want to rid of the pain, and if knowing the most intricate details does the job, I will press on until I get the full report. In fact, if you want to count something other than my fragile "help" as a prayer to God, next in line would be me begging for God to show me the other side of the pain.
I want God to tell me whether or not it'll work out in the future. Even if it won't, I just want to know. Knowing the outcome, for me at least, would serve as sufficient medicine for my emotional pain.
And, really, that's what I have a hard time dealing with the most.
It's the pain in my heart that gets to me—the emotional pain that makes me sensitive. I feel everything deeply and thoroughly and completely, definitely not the time of my life for someone who has a low tolerance for pain.
And, being a follower of Christ doesn't make me immune to it.
Everyone goes through pain. The only difference with me is that I've made a personal decision to go through it with Christ. (Keep in mind that my God has been beaten, spit on, betrayed, mocked, and nailed to a cross. So, if anyone knows about pain, it's Him.) It's true that He doesn't give all the details, but I've learned that details limit our expectations for what God could do. And, if you want to know anything about God, you should know that it's His delight to exceed your expectations of healing. As Pastor Robert Madu once said: "We pray for a healing, but God wants to give us a resurrection." But, to demonstrate why pain kicks in in the first place, Madu also revealed this:
"The prerequisite for resurrection is death."
So, even when it hurts like hell, I'll praise Him. Even when I'm offended, I'll pray. Because while I'm itching for ways to make the pain go away, God has already prepared to give me more than just a pain-free life, but an everlasting one.