This might seem a weird post just before Christmas, but I felt someone needs to read that you are not your pain. Don’t let a season of struggle, suffering, or grief become your identity. The last thing I would ever want to do is diminish someone’s journey, or make the mistake of assuming everyone’s pain and recovery process are the same. They’re not. But you rarely think you could become dependent on pain until you already are. When you look at life through a wound, physical or emotional, it’s easy to get consumed by the bitterness of why it’s happened to you, and drained of all your energy trying to protect yourself from getting hurt further.
Many people have physical limitations they brilliantly overcome by seeing what’s possible, especially from God’s perspective, and determining to go after it. But if your hopes and dreams get focused on what could have been, and imagining what horrible thing might happen next, then your pain can become an excuse for not going forward. You refuse to take all the steps you need to really heal—just enough to numb yourself. You stay in that place, slowly wasting away, even rationalizing that it’s God’s will, the cross he’s s given you to bear. You walk in little circles, telling yourself you’re moving ahead, but you’re just wearing away the ground, slowly digging an ever–deepening hole.
In Mark 10, a blind beggar hears Jesus is near, and calls out to him repeatedly. Jesus asks the blind man what he wants. That seems like either a stupid question, or a cruel one. But it’s actually brilliant and merciful. Jesus knows what the man needs, but the man needs to hear himself say it. He’s been a beggar for years, maybe all his life. It’s his identity. It’s all he knows. To have his sight means the end of the only way he knows to live, and trusting there’s a better one. He said to Jesus, “Sir, I want to see.”
Jesus responded with something amazing: “Go your way, your faith has made you well.”
He didn’t say, “I make you well,” but “your faith.” The man’s belief that there was a greater reality possible, and Jesus was the way to that reality, healed his sight. I don’t know exactly how that all works, but he partnered with Jesus in his own healing. He agreed with Jesus’ life–giving view of him, instead of going back to what others had thought of him all his life, which was negative and hurtful, but secure. In choosing to trust in God more than the pain, he climbed out of his hole forever. And that’s really good news.