Pain hurts. It is unpleasant. A digging kind of sorrow. A nagging sort of torture.

As such, we avoid pain at all costs. It is a classic human instinct. We see pain coming and we fight or run. We hide from pain. 

When pain inevitably catches up with us and finds its way into our story, we do our best to quiet it. We rub dirt over it, sweep it under the rug, pretend it isn’t there. We lie to our friends, our spouses, even our own self. Our instinct tells us to ignore it until it goes away. Our society tells us to get over it quickly, that we aren’t okay if we don’t feel okay (or pretend to).

But it doesn’t quite work, does it? Sorrow is like an alarm clock. It won’t go off until you acknowledge it. We cannot explain away our sorrow. Nor can we outrun it. So many of us are acting in unhealthy ways because of years and years, layer upon layer, of unaddressed pain.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, the quickest way to heal is to press into the hurt. Not to make an idol out of it or drive yourself over the cliff, but to name it and address it. Share the truth of your hurt with those who love you most. It will hurt more upfront, but the back-end is a quicker path to healing.

Although pain hurts, sorrow is an opportunity, a path to growth, intimacy, and perseverance. As such, the best way to get over pain is to find the lesson, to feel your way through it honestly. We cannot side-step our hurt by ignoring it. The only way around is through. And in the end, a messy acknowledgment is the quickest route to healing.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
– Romans 5:3-5