I probably don’t have to tell you that life’s really tough, sometimes.
I’ve done so many posts about pain – about depression and anxiety, about feelings of hopelessness, about when life throws things at us that we’re not ready for, about what we’re supposed to do when we literally have no idea what to do.
And my first reaction, honestly, is to go hide away in my room and look for a distraction.
It’s awkward to admit that, but it’s true. I want distraction over comfort, desperate feelings over peace, extremes over hope.
It’s…messed up, perhaps, but don’t we all have our different coping mechanisms, at times?
Enough about me. This post is about so much more than me, it’s about us, and more importantly, about focus. I don’t want to make this a ridiculously convicting post that’ll make you feel guilty so you’ll go live your life better. No.
This is about humanity, about our collective problems, and what small things we can do to make a world of difference.
My family sees me as very introspective, and I assume many of you that know me or read here regularly would agree. I think. I look inside myself. I analyze. I feel. I examine. And I do it all over again.
I’m not saying whether this is good or bad – it’s part of what makes me me.
But there is a point that we approach wherein all of our thinking becomes our focal point, and instead of focusing on relief, on solutions, we focus on simply the problems, and teach ourselves that’s the way things go.
We fix our eyes on what is wrong – and forget the One who makes all things right.
We focus on our distress – and forget about the peace that passes all understanding, that comes through knowing Christ.
We look at our depression – very real and genuine, truly – but focus on treating the symptoms without getting to the root of the pain.
When we talk about our pain, we often look to dull it. We fill our lives with social media, with Netflix, with full schedules and excessive gifts at Christmas and jobs and friends and food.
But when is that enough? When does that fix us?
I could be blunt, direct. I could shout, “THOSE THINGS WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH FOR US!” and I’d be right – but that still wouldn’t fix the problem.
Here’s our dilemma: we all long for something greater than ourselves, some sort of meaning to our lives, a hope that fulfills us even at our lowest of points.
And as Christians, we know in our heads that we have that hope, but we don’t always feel it.
So we turn to the immediate distractions instead, knowing that they won’t satisfy, ultimately, yet seeking after them anyway because they’re tangible.
But we come up dry.
Movies conclude, parties end, food gets eaten, gifts become boring, we all eventually have to return to our normal lives.
But what if we lived lives that didn’t require us to escape to feel fulfilled? What if we lived lives with meaning and purpose, even in the pain? What if we learned to trust God, even when things aren’t as we imagined?
This is something I’m learning slowly, slowly, day by day.
I’m learning to make Jesus my focus – not just at Christmas, not just when life’s easy and I love it, not just when I’ve run out of entertainment. But in every moment.
When He is my focus, I can find joy in the midst of pain – not because I enjoy being uncomfortable, but because my contentment rests on something so much greater than temporal struggles.
When He is my focus, I am not doomed to be sucked into ceaseless hopelessness…because He is my anchor of hope that keeps me from sinking.
When He is my focus, life isn’t always bright and sunny and beautiful – but in my pain, I know that all things will be made new again because of what Christ did on the cross for me.
When He is my focus, I can know that I will never be abandoned, even when I am undeserving of His love.
I know this doesn’t make our lives painless, I know it doesn’t get rid of the struggles, I know it doesn’t fix things fully.
But what it does do is remind us to stay grounded in the truth, to see our identity as fixed in Christ, to find joy in the unchanging, marvelous nature of God and how He relates to us.
And maybe that’s the small step we need to take. Choosing to trust God rather than fall into fear, choosing to fill our minds with truth and fixate on Christ rather than on our circumstances, choosing to see God’s love as real and tangible in our lives rather than some foreign concept.
Today, I choose hope, even if that means keeping my pain.
I choose joy, even if that means contentment rather than bubbly happiness.
I choose to accept who I am in Christ, and not who the world tells me I am.
And today…that’s making all the difference.
7 Replies to “Where to Find Hope in Pain”
Thank you so much! This is perfect timing … God’s timing, as I’m dealing with a lot of pain. My friend committed suicide 2 days ago and it’s really hard. Very, very, painful and confusing. But I can find joy, knowing he is with Jesus, and that death is not final.
Thank you again 🙂
Oh my goodness…that is so, so heartbreaking. My heart goes out to you, Hayley. Thank God that He is good, even when life just isn’t. That He loves us and offers us peace and joy so unconditionally. I’ll be praying for you. ❤ Thanks a bunch for stopping by my blog!
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Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Amanda. 🙂 Your prayers are much appreciated!
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Lately, I have been getting depressed and confused and hurt, but I don’t like anyone to know it, I like to, as you said, distract myself rather than deal with it.
I know it is completely normal for teens to start having their own ideas and getting confused ect, and I’m sure that at some point we all deal with it.
But it’s new territory for me because I’ve always been the “optimistic one” and so no one really knows that I cry into my pillow most nights, how much I get sooo disappointed with myself.
But, because I am a Christian, I always always have hope! It’s not that I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes I drop my candle when I’m far from the end. I forget that I have access to the only thing that can ever give me peace, joy, contentment and meaning. I won’t pretend to have it all figured out, I won’t pretend that it’s only a thing from the past. I still struggle! Sometimes every day, but I have hope. I am slowly learning to run to my Savior instead of drowning in my feelings.
Sometimes I laugh at how silly I seem, because truly some days I feel just fine! Then the next I might feel broken as ever.
But I know that almost everyone out there can relate to this and I’m not the only one.
I love your blog, because it helps me remember that there are other people out there fighting. Fighting against the devil when he tries to make us feel defeated. Because nobody has everything together. And because it reminds me that my Jesus is the only thing I can ever cling to that will fulfill me. That distractions will only last for so long. And Jesus is the only one who can give me the strength to go on.
Sorry again for the long rant, I honestly do it because it helps me sort out my thoughts in ways I can’t do when talking face to face with people. I should start a journal again I guess XD
I just want you to know that I really appreciate your words and it convicts me and challenges me to lean fully on God.
Wow, girl. I TOTALLY understand where you’re at. That was me all last year…and let me tell you, it is so TOUGH. Depression, emotional rollercoasters, and stress – they hurt. And it’s hard sometimes, when faith just doesn’t seem tangible, to cling to it in the heartache.
Keep on fighting to keep your focus on Christ, Faith; I will definitely keep you in my prayers. 😉 Fight to see the light – it truly is there, and I know you know it is.
It’s such a marvelous blessing to have our Creator on our side, our Savior there to pull us back up when we’re sinking, the Spirit inside of us to lead and guide us, even when everything just seems so…DARK. Because so many times, it does. It’s hard. It hurts.
Beautiful rant, feel free to do so anytime. 😉 I don’t mind a bit. Thanks for taking the time to share a piece of your heart and what you’re going through with me, I feel so honored. ❤
Thank you so much to take the time to lend a listening ear.
Your words are so encouraging ❤
I'm so thankful for my savior, if I didn't have the hope he brings, I don't know what I would do in this crazy life 🙂
Thank you so much for the prayers!!