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  • Need Advice: How to integrate joy and pain in a way that honors both?

    I'll try to keep a long story short. Most of my 40 years on this planet have been pretty darn comfortable by any standard. However, in the last year or two my community and family have suffered many losses: tragic death, failures of close relationship, breakings of long-treasured bonds and traditions. The soul-deep hurt in and around me right now is like nothing I've ever experienced before.

    In times of particularly sharp pain, I've been angry with God like never before. I've come closer than I ever imagined I could to being repulsed by God and abandoning faith completely. But in His great mercy and love, He has walked with me through it. I believe our good Lord has taught me valuable lessons and revealed more of His heart to me in all of this, for which I'm so grateful. I can truly say that I've seen at least the edges of beauty in suffering.

    But now, I'm finding myself stuck. In my soul, it feels as though I can't behold the pain of these events and the grace of God at the same time. I know that both things are present, and in some ways are the same thing. Yet I'm finding that when I think of the pain, I lose sight of God's goodness and become fearful. Then I turn to dwell on the goodness God has shown me and I drift away from the pain, but I seem to lose empathy. I forget to love and pray, and to honor the pain of dear brothers and sisters suffering much deeper hurts than mine. It feels like I'm spiritually bipolar or something, and it's exhausting. I feel like there's another lesson, a vital one, just out of my reach.

    Has anyone ever gone through a similar experience? Were you ever able to integrate peace and encouragement with sadness and mourning?


    Your Message


  • #2
    Re: How to integrate joy and pain in a way that honors both?

    Originally posted by faithmyeyes View Post
    I'll try to keep a long story short. Most of my 40 years on this planet have been pretty darn comfortable by any standard. However, in the last year or two my community and family have suffered many losses: tragic death, failures of close relationship, breakings of long-treasured bonds and traditions. The soul-deep hurt in and around me right now is like nothing I've ever experienced before.

    In times of particularly sharp pain, I've been angry with God like never before. I've come closer than I ever imagined I could to being repulsed by God and abandoning faith completely. But in His great mercy and love, He has walked with me through it. I believe our good Lord has taught me valuable lessons and revealed more of His heart to me in all of this, for which I'm so grateful. I can truly say that I've seen at least the edges of beauty in suffering.

    But now, I'm finding myself stuck. In my soul, it feels as though I can't behold the pain of these events and the grace of God at the same time. I know that both things are present, and in some ways are the same thing. Yet I'm finding that when I think of the pain, I lose sight of God's goodness and become fearful. Then I turn to dwell on the goodness God has shown me and I drift away from the pain, but I seem to lose empathy. I forget to love and pray, and to honor the pain of dear brothers and sisters suffering much deeper hurts than mine. It feels like I'm spiritually bipolar or something, and it's exhausting. I feel like there's another lesson, a vital one, just out of my reach.


    Has anyone ever gone through a similar experience? Were you ever able to integrate peace and encouragement with sadness and mourning?


    Your Message
    Wow. Great first post Faithinmyeyes and welcome to the forum.

    I'm no counselor and don't pretend to be but I think myself and several others here can relate to what you're going through. I can only speak from my own experience, but something that I've noticed in my own life is that when I get knocked down it generally makes me look up and to seek God. And for me personally, letting go of the pain and isn't losing empathy, it's simply God restoring me. In my past experiences concerning betrayal, loss, and mourning I see that there came a time that I had to let go of things to be in God's will. Sometimes it wasn't easy and sometimes it was very hard.

    Perhaps it's time you simply made a choice to no longer dwell in your pain ?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How to integrate joy and pain in a way that honors both?

      Originally posted by faithmyeyes View Post
      I'll try to keep a long story short. Most of my 40 years on this planet have been pretty darn comfortable by any standard. However, in the last year or two my community and family have suffered many losses: tragic death, failures of close relationship, breakings of long-treasured bonds and traditions. The soul-deep hurt in and around me right now is like nothing I've ever experienced before.

      In times of particularly sharp pain, I've been angry with God like never before. I've come closer than I ever imagined I could to being repulsed by God and abandoning faith completely. But in His great mercy and love, He has walked with me through it. I believe our good Lord has taught me valuable lessons and revealed more of His heart to me in all of this, for which I'm so grateful. I can truly say that I've seen at least the edges of beauty in suffering.

      But now, I'm finding myself stuck. In my soul, it feels as though I can't behold the pain of these events and the grace of God at the same time. I know that both things are present, and in some ways are the same thing. Yet I'm finding that when I think of the pain, I lose sight of God's goodness and become fearful. Then I turn to dwell on the goodness God has shown me and I drift away from the pain, but I seem to lose empathy. I forget to love and pray, and to honor the pain of dear brothers and sisters suffering much deeper hurts than mine. It feels like I'm spiritually bipolar or something, and it's exhausting. I feel like there's another lesson, a vital one, just out of my reach.

      Has anyone ever gone through a similar experience? Were you ever able to integrate peace and encouragement with sadness and mourning?


      Your Message
      faithmyeyes, I can relate in the sense of a numbness (lack of empathy) toward others who are hurting and at times, a numbness within myself when I am hurting.

      A very wise person was led by God to write this:

      Ecc 3:For everything there is a season,
      a time for every activity under heaven.
      2
      A time to be born and a time to die.
      A time to plant and a time to harvest.
      3
      A time to kill and a time to heal.
      A time to tear down and a time to build up.
      4
      A time to cry and a time to laugh.
      A time to grieve and a time to dance.
      5
      A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
      A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
      6
      A time to search and a time to quit searching.
      A time to keep and a time to throw away.
      7
      A time to tear and a time to mend.
      A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
      8
      A time to love and a time to hate.
      A time for war and a time for peace.

      9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of Godís work from beginning to end.


      I know from my personal experiences, as God's Word illuminates, v11... that there WILL BE times when all is well. Based on how we are holding onto His promises, when we aren't holding on then waiting on such "beautiful" times can be unbearable. We have to keep saying to ourselves that God is faithful and that His promises are NOT going to fail. So, I took one step at a time even if some of the times I was dragging myself because I couldn't take a willful step forward. Does that make sense

      I was also led to James:

      v2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

      I began to ask God what is needed and "wisdom" was always what He ministered as James also illuminates:

      v5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver,


      Notice I cut the verse off at, "Do not waver." I did because when I wasn't able to take a willful step forward and I begin to drag myself forward instead, well... I wasn't wavering and God SPOKE to me in those three words as a comfort that while I struggled, I was gaining momentum. Momentum only begins when one somehow or by some way STARTS to move or keeps moving. In time you will gain momentum.

      Keep seeking after God!
      Slug1--out

      ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How to integrate joy and pain in a way that honors both?

        Originally posted by Pbminimum View Post
        ...letting go of the pain and isn't losing empathy, it's simply God restoring me. In my past experiences concerning betrayal, loss, and mourning I see that there came a time that I had to let go of things to be in God's will. Sometimes it wasn't easy and sometimes it was very hard.

        Perhaps it's time you simply made a choice to no longer dwell in your pain ?
        What you're saying feels something like what I'm experiencing. I'm getting to a point where I feel like God is prodding me a little bit to let go of the sadness. But I'm finding it hard to even want to. When I track my feelings to discover why I don't want to, I find that
        • Part of me doesn't want to leave a place where I have felt driven to seek God, and have in fact found Him in a deeper way, even though it's sad and painful here.
        • I feel that if I choose to lean away from the sadness (what a luxurious option), I assign a specific value to the significance of the events that made me sad. "This awful thing is worth precisely five months of my grief." I would feel terribly guilty to make such a judgement.
        • I'm afraid that I will lose the ability to connect with, honor, and love my friends and family whose grief is on a different timeline than my own. I don't want to offend or reproach them by seeming to have "moved on," when in reality I care for them more than I can possibly say.
        • I've found that embracing a more joyful perspective has, on a couple of occasions, knocked the needs that still exist around this pain completely out of my mind, and I've forgotten even to pray. Again, guilt.


        I do feel like I have some degree of choice at this point, and as I said I've felt a little bit of prodding from the Lord, such that continuing to mourn now seems self-indulgent in a way. But I feel like I need some sort of middle ground. To re-imagine Proverbs 30:9, "if I am too joyful, I may forget my brother's need; and if I am too sorrowful, I may dishonor the graces of God." I just can't seem to find it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How to integrate joy and pain in a way that honors both?

          Originally posted by faithmyeyes View Post
          I'll try to keep a long story short. Most of my 40 years on this planet have been pretty darn comfortable by any standard. However, in the last year or two my community and family have suffered many losses: tragic death, failures of close relationship, breakings of long-treasured bonds and traditions. The soul-deep hurt in and around me right now is like nothing I've ever experienced before.

          In times of particularly sharp pain, I've been angry with God like never before. I've come closer than I ever imagined I could to being repulsed by God and abandoning faith completely. But in His great mercy and love, He has walked with me through it. I believe our good Lord has taught me valuable lessons and revealed more of His heart to me in all of this, for which I'm so grateful. I can truly say that I've seen at least the edges of beauty in suffering.

          But now, I'm finding myself stuck. In my soul, it feels as though I can't behold the pain of these events and the grace of God at the same time. I know that both things are present, and in some ways are the same thing. Yet I'm finding that when I think of the pain, I lose sight of God's goodness and become fearful. Then I turn to dwell on the goodness God has shown me and I drift away from the pain, but I seem to lose empathy. I forget to love and pray, and to honor the pain of dear brothers and sisters suffering much deeper hurts than mine. It feels like I'm spiritually bipolar or something, and it's exhausting. I feel like there's another lesson, a vital one, just out of my reach.

          Has anyone ever gone through a similar experience? Were you ever able to integrate peace and encouragement with sadness and mourning?


          Your Message
          Without being too wordy... it sounds like your spirit is wounded. In the natural, the word I would use is "gun shy". Sorry, that's the ole country boy coming out of me. When I got hurt really bad, I was afraid to be too close to God. When I had obeyed, hurt set in. Though I wanted to be close, I remembered the pain. I felt like an abused dog that wanted to be petted, but was fearful of people. I would get so close, then pull away. Like a dog that wants to hunt but is afraid of the loud bang of a gun.

          Anyway, the Lord healed that in me and things are much better. I'll try to post more later, if you are interested.

          Proverbs 15:13 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
          But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.

          Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine,
          But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

          (bones are a type/picture of the soul)

          Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man can endure his sickness,
          But as for a broken spirit who can bear it?

          The Lord Jesus longs to heal you and will speak healing words to you. He will also use all of this for good so that your sorrows will not be wasted. Check out "Healing of Damaged Emotions". It's a very good book to read and see the way to healing of our inner man.

          God bless!
          Matt 9:13
          13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
          NASU

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How to integrate joy and pain in a way that honors both?

            I often read the Psalms when going through times like you're describing. David could relate as well.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How to integrate joy and pain in a way that honors both?

              Hi faithmyeyes, please forgive my wordy response below:

              I've been where you currently describe you are now.
              I've been there numerous times over my many years, and each time over a different situation in life.

              Psalms was a good comfort for me, but it did not directly speak to what error in my thinking was making me feel hurt and bitterness over things that are just to ugly to bear anymore, ugly things in life that actually made me angry at my Creator.
              ....Psalms did sooth my hurt and belayed my bitterness temporarily by the Holy Spirit's using the time that I gave to Psalms, He used it to move me to praise my Creator rather than just keep being sour about how ugly life can really be for us at points in time.

              Even though the Holy Spirit used the Psalms to redirect my hurt and bitterness into praise for the same amount of time that I stayed in Psalms.
              I realize that my life is not going to be a profitable life if I stay safe praising God here in the book of Psalms for the rest of my life, the hurt and bitterness is still in me, even after praising of God, is what I mean.

              What actually brought me out of that hurt and bitterness of mine more than four different times now was going into a solitude place, I mean really solitude and then begin speaking unedited toward God.
              Not editing my thoughts, nor editing my words spoken there, nor my disgruntled childish attitude(s).
              Not editing anything at all about my current state of being in His prescience.
              ....I was at His very throne stomping my feet and telling my Creator and Redeemer how I feel about this and how I see Him in a light as He being an indifferent tyrant who doesn't have to experience first-hand the affects of this fallen World that we are forced to live in and deal with daily while He is up here sit'n on His throne with His holy angels sipping mana-tea and trumpeting music.
              Yeah, you would think such irreverent communication would get me smite on the spot, but no!
              Jesus's death on the cross opened God's very throne in heaven to poor blind miserable naked wretches such as ourselves.
              ....So my advice is just to find a time when you are not currently obligated to another person or thing in life for about an half hour or more, and then just start telling God vocally (not in silent prayer) what's is on your mind, why it is on your mind, and how it is affecting you and those around you.
              And don't edit your communication while there, even if a cuss-word or two slips out. Just stand there on what Jesus did for you and communicate honestly to God who knows your every thought anyway.

              Well then, after I decided to be honest with Him at His throne (each time) He decided to be honest with me and showed me what I needed to see, not what I wanted to see.
              He fixed, in His own way fixed what I was crying about. (each time)
              He showed me why I was in error about how I saw Him as indifferent. (each time)
              Each time, He also gave me long awaited answers to really-deep questions that were unrelated to what I approached His throne so boldly for, but He knew the answers to those unasked questions were keeping me from growing into His Son's likeness. I suppose He waited to answer those long awaited answers until He saw me approach Him ready to communicate honestly with Him.
              ....Yeah, and He did and does those things to bring Glory to His name, not necessarily to bring us out of our hurt and bitterness.
              The coming out of our hurt and bitterness is just a quick(almost immediate) default result of God's Glory being revealed to us personally when we speak honestly to Him.
              He delights in bringing Glory to His name, and looks forward for opportunities to do it too.

              Anyway, besides staying in Psalms and or reaching out to sympathetically knowledgeable folks close by for comfort and encouragement: just go boldly to the throne of our Creator and tell Him whats on your mind, why it is on your mind, and how it affects you and others around you.
              ....You'll be quickly pulled out of your hurt and bitterness and seemingly BIG problems will become small again, and as a bonus He's shared some awesome unrelated stuff with you all in the same throne room meeting.

              A word of caution though: do not intentionally be irreverent by pre-arming yourself with angry words before you approach His throne.
              But, if during your talk with Him an angry word arises from within you, do not edit it out, just keep babbling until we've said our piece, then wait silently for His still small voice.
              Just be honest and say exactly what is on your mind then and there.
              Go to God's throne with an intention of Him fixing things currently going on, or fixing our perspective on what is currently going on, or both.
              ....Show Him your honest communication and He will quickly show you His honest communication in return.
              The key-word here is "unedited/honest communication", communication like Job displayed toward God in the later half of our bible's book of Job.
              Don't seek too much knowledge. You just may be putting more weight on your shoulders than you're able to bare.
              Let God be the one to decide how quickly you grow

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How to integrate joy and pain in a way that honors both?

                Here is a testimony of a woman who is known by God, known by Him because she allows Him to show her where to find what she needs to know, rather than where to find what she wants to know:
                https://bibleforums.org/showthread.p...on-forgiveness
                Don't seek too much knowledge. You just may be putting more weight on your shoulders than you're able to bare.
                Let God be the one to decide how quickly you grow

                Comment

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