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This feels awful, and it’s only partially helpful to know that someone’s inability to love you is their problem, not yours. The only real cure is to love. Find somebody you can love hugely, with open affection, with words and deeds, with generosity. As you give, so it will be given back to you, but a hundredfold! Fill your love bucket by pouring out love wherever you can.
It’s an uncomfortable thing to become aware of your own lack of excellence. The only cure is to work at and to give of your less-than-greatness. The work may improve you, and the giving-anyway will help teach you humility. Humility is a plus for the greatest and least of artists, learners, mothers, or whatever your area of weakness.
Being in Pain
Whether your pain is emotional, or physical, you’ve got a real burden to bear. The only cure is to suffer creatively. There’s no good way to avoid pain entirely (distraction and drugs may help, but one doesn’t want to go too far in that direction). To suffer it creatively is to release it to Christ as whole-heartedly as possible, turning it into a prayer for your intentions, or asking Him to use it as He will.
Hard things often need a simple, direct approach. When you’re suffering, a complex one may make things worse.
It is not always a pleasant thing to come to Christ. All around us are women in varying stages of hardened self-defense against the pains of un-love, abandonment, violation, fatherlessness, abuse and sin. To such women, from another, these poems have been written. The pair can be read individually, or back and forth from verse to verse, as a dialogue. ‘Cacophony’ is the cry of a woman’s heart to be loved, purified, and husbanded. The journey she has begun, of trusting her wooer, has become extremely painful as her vulnerability increases in response to his love. She feels betrayed and frightened as her self-protective cover drops away, revealing sin and pain. ‘Euphony’ is the response of Christ to this woman. His calm resolve to love and have her as his own is not upset by her self-loathing frenzy. Unperturbed even by her seeming hatred of him, he sees through to the deep need of her soul for healing through faithful love. [Read more…]
There is something you’re avoiding. So you distract yourself with something else. It works for a while, but there’s a catch. The more you tense-away-from The Thing, the more it seems to be pulling you to turn back to it.
Like an exercise in which you pull a rubber band away from a wall, escapism guarantees you’ll need more and more oomph to pull away from the pain, the need, the person, the issue that needs attention. Of course, the more powerful it seems to get, the more you want to get away from it!
That’s the trap. Not only does your distraction ratchet up the level of tension, it also slowly narrows your focus to a point as getting away from The Thing takes more and more of your effort to focus your attention away, away, away.
Jim Robbins, in The Open Focus Brain, discusses ways he helped patients in chronic pain avoid this trap and thereby eased their pain. These are lessons worth remembering and passing on:
- Move toward the pain, relax and try to release any effort you’re exerting to pull away from it.
- Diffuse your focus – engage your senses: What can you smell? How does this fruit taste in your mouth? What do you see all around you? What sounds can you identify in the environment?
- Think about negative spaces in your body (nostrils, the space enclosed by your lungs, the space between your fingers) and in the environment.
I’ve had tremendous improvement in migraine headaches following his advice, but I also recommend it for any situation that pushes your ‘Escape!’ button. Relax, diffuse, engage your senses, contemplate negative spaces. There are more things that are REAL than The Thing! Don’t try so hard to avoid it that you see it alone in your narrow focusing. Staying distracted is a symptom of being tensed away from something you’d do better to face, resolve, accept.
I’d like to know if you take this advice. Please let me hear your story!