Nehemiah 9:19 - Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.
It starts to leak out around the edges. Dark colors swirl and cover it. And loud, hard music begins to play and you know it won’t take long for others to see just how messed up you are inside.
That’s what emotional pain does. It leaks out. It swirls and covers up normalcy. It pounds loudly at the door waiting for you to open it. Sometimes you can ignore the door. But most of the time, you’re just too tired to not let it in.
Emotional pain can stem from a variety of reasons – Disappointing someone, someone disappointing you, being ignored, being talked about behind your back, failing yet again and so the pain takes over.
There’s a person inside you waiting to come out. It seals the wounds you bear. It brings bright colors and covers up the ugly inside. It knocks softly at the door, so you’re not afraid to open it. When you open the door a breath of fresh air fills your mind and your entire being.
You have some choices – Let the shame of emotional pain take over, or have compassion on yourself and let comfort take over. Comfort then creates a pathway of faith and understanding.
And it dares to allow you to be who you are pain and all. Emotional pain doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I know, it feels like a bad thing, but doesn’t always do so. You have the opportunity to be you and let the world see that there’s some ugly inside, because everyone has emotional pain some time in their lives. And that time may be right now.
Look deeply into the heart of the broken. Offer compassion and hold their hands. Tell them the story of why you are broken, and just maybe, they will let you know their story.
So you see, what looks like a weakness to you is really a strength. But it becomes a weakness if we let emotional pain take over. How do we keep emotional pain from taking over and instead recover from it? Articles.mercola.com post the article, “5 Tips for Recovering from Emotional Pain,” with suggestions such as how to avoid ruminating and going over and over a past hurt; and, make sure guilt remains a useful emotion.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. The Israelites had disobeyed God and now they were wandering in the desert. But even in their trials, God showed them compassion. He provided a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. It may have felt to the Israelites that they were lost and alone, just as we can feel alone when we are in the middle of emotional pain. But if we can keep our mind on God, he can wash away our pain and enable us to help someone else.
Romans 15:7 - So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.
It feels sometimes like the world has stopped giving validation. The simple words, “I’m proud of you,” provide a stepping stone that can give someone the strength and courage to continue to press on in the tasks being performed.
So, when was the last time that you heard someone tell you they were proud of you?
I know for me, sometimes it has not been days since I’ve received validation, but more like years.
Compliments also, have almost vanished. Oh there are those who dish out compliments, but most of the time the person saying them is looking for something in return. Or, the compliments are not given in sincerity, but almost flippantly.
Another way that validation is slipping away is because of the lack of two words, “Thank you.” Appreciation for something done for us is a lost art. Some parents will teach their children to say, “thank you,” but most skip that part. To tell someone thank you teaches a child, and an adult, how to be more grateful people.
We are a world in which the opposite of, “I’m proud of you,” reigns. So many times people criticize, complain, and tell others that there’s nothing they do is right. A child learns from watching their parents take each other for granted and in turn their life becomes predestined to instead of validating others, but to hurt another person’s spirit.
There are always ways in which we can find a reason to validate another person. And as a bonus attach a smile to the validation. It may be just what an individual needs. Perhaps we can’t change the whole world all at once, but becoming people who validate each other can go a long way.
How can we break this cycle and create a world where people validate each other?
In the first place, we can learn to be proud of ourselves. There is a good pride that we can foster. One that doesn’t try to puff themselves up by telling other people, but by recognizing the many ways you make a difference in the world. Notice what you’re doing and try not to be so hard on yourself. Everyone can find at least one thing that they do well. Let your mind rest on that and tune out the people who are constantly putting you down.
Wikihow.com posts the article, “How to Be Proud of Who You Are,” which provides some concrete ways to validate yourself such as, remind yourself that everyone has flaws and standing up for yourself.
Then once we are validating ourselves on a regular basis, it can become easier to valid others with, “I’m proud of you,” “you look beautiful today,” and, “thank you for helping me with this project.” By validating someone you will find yourself more accepting of other people, and it will become easier to notice when someone is doing the right thing instead of the wrong. Select the link below to find an article on psychologytoday.com titled, "Understanding Validation: A Way to Communicate Acceptance," for more ideas.
And, just as the Bible verse above says, when we accept others then Jesus will accept us. That acceptance will bloom into validation and produce a garden of taking one step forward to making the world a place where again, “I’m proud of you” becomes an everyday occurrence.
Ezekiel 12:21-23 - The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’? Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled.’”
Visions. These are things we work toward in our lives. They give us direction and focus because we are driven to pursue them with all our strength and resources.
So each day we take one step forward toward that vision of our life. But what happens when life caves in on us and buries our visions; sometimes for good.
Now, we are unsure of what to do. We’re even unsure of where our lives are headed.
Do we find another dream or do we throw each rock that buried our vision and try again? Sometimes we don’t just give up on the vision we were working toward, but all visions. Maybe we just don’t believe in them anymore and we stop striving for anything in our life.
Sometimes trying again is all we need to achieve our vision. But what happens when no amount of digging unburies our dreams?
It’s time then to take some steps to finding and working toward the visions for your life. Huffingtonpost.com has an article titled, “A Vision for Your Future,” which discusses what makes a vision and how to create a bigger version of yourself.
Lastly, take a look at the Bible verses above. Israel had been in captivity and their visions of living in the Promised Land and they thought that all visions would come to nothing. Most of the people had been exiled but the few that were left found out there would be more visions. The Lord told them that now a day would come soon when every vision would be fulfilled. Our visions, too, can become unburied and come to pass.
Acts 27:9 - Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them.
You’re sitting at your doctor’s office waiting for you appointment to find out the results of a test. It could go either way. You have some of the signs of cancer.
The doctor begins to tell you what the test results mean, but he lost you after he said that there was nothing he could be done - you only have six to twelve months to live.
After the initial shock wears off, you begin to think about your life. You look at your past and see the many mistakes you’ve made and all the time you lost putting your efforts into something that didn’t amount to anything.
Then you look at your future and think, “Future. What future?” You realize that making plans for the future doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
After that, you’re mind takes a look at your present. That’s all any of us have regardless if we’ve been given news that we aren’t going to live long.
As far as the cancer, would you want to spend your remaining time going through treatments that will make your present life hard to bare? Would you take the chance and try the treatments hoping the outcome could change? Or, would you use the time not to try the treatments, but do things that you’ve always wished you could do?
A bucket list. That’s what they call a list of things that you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time to. Now that you know you only have a short time to live, what are some of the things you’ve always wanted to do?
So how do we make each day that we have left count? Here’s some ideas from an article on huffingtonpost.com article titled, “How to Make Each Day Count,” such as express yourself through creativity and appreciate the beauty of our world.
Whatever you’d choose to do, you’d want to make up for all the time you’ve lost in the past and make today a better day.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. Paul had been on a ship, but they ran into storms, lost time and had to run the ship aground. If the captain of the ship had listened to Paul and put the ship into port instead of risking hitting winter storms, they wouldn’t have been in the predicament they got themselves into.
It’s important to listen to what God and other’s advise us to do so that we don’t waste the time we have left because of a cancer diagnosis. This way we won’t look back and see all the time we’ve wasted, but instead find a way to enjoy today.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.