How common is it to attempt to protect yourself from pain and hurt? It seems to be a natural human reaction to back away from something that we interpret as painful or possibly painful in the future. It can block us from making healthy decisions for today and tomorrow. Most of us have an aversion to emotional pain, but avoidance may not be the best method for personal growth. As you and I look back over our lives, we often discover that it is the most painful or emotionally difficult times in our past in which we grew the most. And, to avoid these times or to run from them could actually stunt our personal growth.
How so? In the good and trouble-free times we tend to have less dependence upon God. We may even tend to live more carefree, but when we are anxious or worried about something we can begin to tell ourselves inaccurate scenarios and outcomes, e.g., projected thoughts of possible harm. It is at this point where we make a decision to avoid pain or determine to face the issue(s), trust God and grow through them. Armed with love, compassion and respect for others and yourself, speaking the truth, as you understand it and not backing away from painful situations, will be a far more mature response and guaranteed to create a greater level of personal depth in character and growth.
I encountered a personal situation several years ago where I had the opportunity to avoid (thinking I would avoid any self-projected pain) a tenuous situation or to confront it. The leader would determine the end result in that he could accept or reject my efforts toward reconciliation. I spoke the truth, as I understood it with plenty of questions and ample opportunity for the other party to respond. Instead, he chose to ignore my reaching out to him and not respond. I gave the situation some time and then tried again and once again there was no response. I felt that I did what God required of me by asking for forgiveness of hurts I caused and then chose to let the situation in God’s hands. The hurt for me was not completely avoided, but I knew that following through with what God expected of me would certainly decrease the possibility of a deeper wound.
(Note: Sending this out a bit early due to the 4th of July holiday. Have a wonderful weekend!)