Chasing the Pain
In March 2016, I was in an advanced yoga position, fully extended and feeling strong, when something in the bottom of my left foot suddenly tore. Often, I joke that exercise is the best way to get injured. Well, the joke was on me that time! So, one injury led to another, and the second injury led to a medical boot.
In six months, I saw four doctors. My first and second doctors told me to take high doses of Ibuprofen for the inflammation. For about 180 days, I took 800mg, three times a day. But the medicine didn’t resolve my pain or heal the injury, and it created more problems. Even though I took all the recommended preventative precautions, I developed gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining).
Two months in a medical boot, and some physical therapy after that, allows me to walk normally again, mostly pain-free. But last week, about ten months after my original injury, I had some testing to check out my upper GI area. Let me just tell you, I would take six more months in a boot over one more appointment like that—I’m scarred for life! If you don’t know about being wide-awake during four different endoscopic tests, the same day, you can just think: waterboarding in Guantanamo Bay. I’m having flashbacks now where the doctor is telling me to swallow a device about the size of a Lego brick. He is growling, “No! No! STOP GAGGING! You must swallow it! Swallow! Swallow!”
Now listen friends, I have always been an advocate of Ibuprofen; it is some seriously good stuff, a blessing of the modern age. But, high amounts of Ibuprofen, for too long, can wreak havoc on your stomach and that’s what happened to me. It would have been better for the doctors to find out the solution to my problem, instead of just trying to kill the pain.
Do We Settle for the Wrong Solution?
My Ibuprofen problem got me thinking. How often do I settle for the wrong solution, just to get out of pain?
- Secret binge-eating in the pantry is never going to cure difficult relationships!
- Stumbling into an amazing career—I know, weird, but this is what I fantasize about—isn’t going to suddenly make me feel useful and valued. I struggle with my identity as a stay-at-home mom, but I’m sure I’d find a way to feel inadequate if I was a pharmacist or corporate attorney.
- Beautifying our home by decorating and organizing and cleaning won’t give me a peaceful home-life. Living in reconciliation with one another and showing kindness—that’s what we really need.
Our cultures encourages many ways to kill the pain in our lives. “We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated [adults]…in U.S. history” (Brene Brown). People are trying to fill that God-shaped hole with everything BUT God. Today, let’s recognize that emotional and spiritual pain are often the sign of our need for Him.
Here are some wonderful scriptural reminders that we can find what we need, in the Lord. Take just a moment and pray these words, inserting your own name. or “me,” or “I” in the verses:
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (Isaiah 58:11).
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
I say to myself, “The Lord is everything I will ever need. So I will put my hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:24, NIVR).
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