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Know Pain Know Gain
by Rick Stephenson
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I know, I know – we are all probably a little tired of word play and maybe I should be more straight to the point with this one, but as they say, there’s a method to my madness so if you will please indulge me.

To know something means that information has been obtained, that we are certain of something or that we have gained an understanding through experience or study. It may also imply a certain closeness and intimacy as happens with intercourse.

Given this definition of what it means to know something, when I put it in front of the word pain, we may all cringe because I believe there is no one in their right mind who would want to have a closeness or intimate relationship with pain. However, I can say without a doubt that pain is something we are all too familiar with. No matter if, it’s physical, emotional, social, mental or even spiritual pain, I believe its sharp hurting hand has slapped us all.

The dictionary defines pain as an unpleasant sensation, a feeling of discomfort or distress, even something that is extremely annoying or causes many problems. Yet as difficult as pain can be, even within it’s definition lie the clues on how to relieve it. For example, discomfort is the absence of comfort, so to relieve it is to seek comfort. Distress is the abundance of stress, so to relieve it we seek less stress. When we encounter the annoying, we seek relief through things that sooth and to problems, we seek solutions.

Think about this though; could the pain we experience be for our benefit? Not that we would purposely seek out pain but whenever it finds us, I believe there is a reason for it. Again, I believe the reason is in the definition of pain and how we seek to relieve it. Unfortunately, many of us react to pain by either sucking it up or over reacting. I’ve seen some who get bumped and bruised just shrug it off and keep moving on, while others have let their pains immobilize them. Personally, I don’t think either method is the right method.

I believe the right way to address pain is to understand it, that is to know it properly, which will in turn allow us to relieve it accordingly. You see there is a reason that pain is linked to our nerve endings that then run to our brains to inform us that our body is in pain. It’s the job of the nerves to assess the damage done and to notify us. However, it is the brain’s job to register where the pain is, what caused it and what to do about it. For many though they let the nerves dictate the situation by only focusing on the pain and not thinking it through well enough to know what would be the proper thing to do. So we over react, we flail and add insult to injury. When someone cuts us off in line or attacks our beliefs, we resound with an improper jester or another hurtful comment meant to stick like a barb. I don’t know about you but I heard this saying enough when I was growing up that; two wrongs don’t make a right. When we respond this way situations spiral out of control and what may have started as a mental or social pain now escalates into potential physical pain.

On the other hand, others are ruled by the brain’s process and attempt to ignore the signals sent by the nerves. They end up saying silly things like rub a little dirt on it and it will be all right. They stuff their feelings deeper and deeper inside but just as a smidge of dirt in an open wound will infect the site, they become infected by bitterness, resentments and bad emotions. Their reactions span the range of avoidance and denial or else they blow up suddenly at something totally unrelated.

A delicate balance is meant to work between the brain and the nerves so that the pain is properly understood and adequately addressed. That means we must (yes we must) become intimately acquainted with what causes us pain and in reality what that means is we must become intimately acquainted with who we are as individuals and then (yes only then) we can properly address the pain in our lives and grow.

You see the original phrase we all have heard is no pain, no gain, which is often the motto used in weight lifting. What happens in the process of weight lifting is that the exercised muscles are affected by stretching and lactic acid build up which results in physical pains. Because of this stretching and acid, the body responds by creating additional cells, which will be available to stretch further and to chemically process the acid faster, hence, muscles develop. Therefore, the gain of bigger muscles is a direct result of the pain felt. This explanation is a known for muscle development by understanding the reason for feeling the pain associated with it. Knowing alone, does not change the process or the pain, however, I know from experience that the understanding obtained can make the pain at least more bearable and perhaps that is the point.

So, when you encounter other pains in your life, it could be that they are there to help you become aware of a growth process. Sure, you may not have the ability to control the incoming pain but you can control your reaction to it. It’s not easy – it never will be, but the gain from channeling the pain in the right direction can have a tremendous positive affect. As some will say the pain can either make you bitter or better the only difference is the I or the E in the word. If you only focus on yourself, chances are you may become bitter. But, if you focus on the E, as in how can you help Everyone Else who has gone through a similar experience or E as in where will you place your Emphasis then you can grow and gain as a result.

Here are some scriptures to help you understand what I mean:

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18 KJV)

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” (Philippians 3:8 KJV)

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (2-Timothy 2:12 KJV)

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, in as much as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1-Peter 4:12-13 KJV)

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1-Peter 1:7 KJV)

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2-Peter 1:5-8 KJV)

I would encourage you today to please not gloss over your pains nor to focus on their hurt but rather to see if you can strike the balance between the cause and effect. In other words, see if you can see into them to realize what is it about them that they have to teach you because by knowing your pain you will be able to know your gain.

God Bless! - Rick


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