My dear, pain doesn't define you. Don't wear it around your neck like jewelry. Choose joy when the world doesn't want you to.
Pain- it can become the very thing that defines us if we don't give careful attention to the source.
Such as the case with an eight year old neck/shoulder pain I have carried. At first glance I thought it was from hours of sitting with my baby girl in NICU, worrying that we might be in the position for what felt like forever. Missing my other four children, wondering how we'd pay the mounting medical bills. All of these things paired together would certainly increase a potential for neck pain.
An injury a couple of years after only exasperated the pain. My children are now familiar with my arm over the passenger seat, desperate to stretch it out, maneuver, wanting sweet relief but rarely finding it.
I have prayed over it, asked for healing applied every pain essential oil, CBD rub you can think of- only to receive little ease from the pain. It wasn't constant mind you, it came and went, with seemingly no rhyme or reason.
If you've ever felt at the end of your rope with pain, you understand where I'm coming from. All the praying and seeking and applying and chiropractor and stretching all seemed for not. I knew the Lord did not have in mind for me to struggle in pain, it's so contrary to His word! Jesus bled so I could be healed, He was beaten for my sin. Goodness, surely this wasn't anything He wouldn't heal.
Healing comes in a few different ways. If you look at the miracles Messiah Jesus performed, you'll see they aren't all a cookie cutter, same kind of healing. At times He spit on the ground (ewww), other times He touched them or they touch Him. Still, other times He admonished to not sin anymore lest something worse fall on you...
This is where my healing comes in- unresolved sin. Specifically the sin of fear of man. Ever since I can remember I cared what others thought. Not so much because I wanted their approval, quite the opposite. But because I was fearful I might be in sin or against what the Lord had in mind for me. Surely others around me, especially those who walked longer with Jesus knew better, and if they felt I was in the wrong, well then I must be. Hungry to be right with God I found myself listening to others for fear I might have missed what He was telling me. Even asI type this I am laughing, as if someone outside my own mind could possibly know better. **face palm**
Their words never felt right. Oh and yes, that was sin too, going with your feelings..."wise" believers don't go with a feeling but facts Lord have mercy...
It really wasn't until I was pregnant with my first child that I began to feel the burden of others, the burden of their way, and this being the way- not just a way- but the absolute way. Inevitably when I would go against the grain because I follow Jesus, and He being my source, created me to live life with abandoned- this included how I birthed and raised my children.
How many of you know that when you do something different it may make a whole lot of folks uncomfortable? i.e.- When discussing the possibility of a natural birth to my SIL who was a LDN, she didn't think I could do it. After all, it is incredibly painful.She mentioned rarely did women go through with it once the real pain kicked in. I just kept thinking, but for millenia women did this sans drugs. How could it be that bad? Surely I wouldn't die from pain. It wasn't that I was prideful and wanted to be different, but the thought of a needle jabbed in my back was far more terrifying. Not to mention the birth complications and infant deaths occurring as a result of medication, no thanks.
The list of ways I did life "wrong" in the eyes of others goes on and on-
Homeschooling my kids
Refusing chemo for my son
Choosing a vegan diet for our family
Not taking Sabbath on the right day
Moving to Boston to minister to those hurt by the Catholic church
Refusing government mandates in favor of ministry
This is simply an example of top of mind ways I have confounded the masses, all with the notion of perhaps the Lord was not pleased with my choices.
The challenge and pain arose for me with every instance that someone spoke "wisdom" into my life regarding these circumstances and more. Being a first born and wanting to please my Heavenly Father, it was so terribly difficult to make a choice and be confident in it. What if I was wrong and walking in sin? What if I was being stubborn and neglecting what He has for me to do? Worse yet, what if I was wrong and someone died?? (the case with my son and baby girl leap to mind!)
There are enough situations in my life that I am able to look back on and say "even though the masses said nay, it worked and it was very much in the will of God."
As the pain grew fiercer in my neck, I imagine the Lord standing before me saying, "ENOUGH ALREADY! STOP listening to their counsel and listen to ME!" If you've ever had a brother or sister in the Lord tell you to seek godly counsel you'll understand that this can be tricky. Many wise sages have said to me I couldn't possibly hear from the Lord without confirmation from a fellow believer.
Do you realize that godly counsel is discussed more between you and Him and than between you and them?
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:20-21
This is listening to HIS instruction, not theirs. We are called to boldly go before the throne of grace with confidence. Our delight is meant to be in the law of the Lord and on that law we are to meditate day and night. (Psalm 1)
Freedom was at my fingertips in the form of meditating on this truth and using an essential oil called Kunzea. I was so drawn to it and knew there was a write up on my essential oil group from it.
"Kunzea is simultaneously a comforting and stimulating essential oil with applications for reducing stress, tension, and sadness."
Ok... go on...
"It can help release exhaustion and mental sluggishness, rejuvenating the spirit of people feeling unwell. One of Kunzea’s unique features is that it can diffuse and transform deep emotional pain, that has hardened in the body. Robbi Zeck, ND, writes, 'Where there is pain the body, there is always an emotion attached to the pain. Kunzea assists in (both releasing) ...emotional pain and in transforming the immediate shock of accidents.'"
Nail hit on the head. Emotional pain, hardened in my neck and shoulder, feeling exhausted by other's expectation, tension and sadness over the thought of 'I wish they'd just leave me be to my way of doing life'. Yep, there it was.
The Lord in His kindness reveals truth when we seek it and not only that, He provides a way to heal when we seek it as well. It was time to release their burdens and receive His path.
For me, it was a matter of applying the oils, breathing them in and asking the question "who's burden am I carrying? What is the backpack they have heaped on?"
The answers came flooding out, faster than I could write. With every name and circumstance came the desire to speak truth. Nearly 99% of the time, there was no scripture to back up their words, only pop cultural opinion. I find we must be very careful to not align with culture and only the Word of God. His word doesn't change, culture, oh goodness. Shifting sands indeed.
Once the names and words were clearly written on the paper, one last inhale of Kunzea, imagining all of the hardening loosening, I tore up the paper into the tiniest littlest shreds possible and pitched it. A morning walk was in order shortly after and I enjoyed the freedom and ease in my once tight neck and shoulder.
Is there pain plaguing you? Or any other condition?
It's emotion, count on it. The question is, are you willing to release it and receive healing? Eight years is an awfully long time to carry someone else's burdens, don't wait as I did- trust that you know best because you are His sheep.
Experience sweet release, dear friend.