Through the Eyes of Hurt

This morning, I wish I was writing about an easier topic.  Hurt is not a very peppy theme and joy is so much more fun to write about, but I just feel like I needed to sit down and write this today.  I debated on even posting it, but I am taking a risk to putting it out there.

In my experience, it is often pain that signifies a need for passionate encouragement and prayer.  So may we face hurt head on today in hopes of bringing a little PEP UP for Joy.  May I begin by offering a prayer.

Beloved Lord,

I know today that I have to start with confession and asking for forgiveness.   Lord, I am so sorry for all of the times that I have intentionally and unintentionally hurt others.  I recognize that my actions, words and even thoughts have brought pain to those in my life.  I am so sorry for that.

Lord, I pray that You would help me to become a more compassionate person.  Open my eyes and ears that I may be aware of who is hurting, even if I do not understand why.  May I show care to those that hurt so that they may see Your love.

Lord, help me not belittle or minimize anyone’s pain and hurt.  I know that there are so many who are truly suffering.  I know that my hurts may seem minimal in comparison, but I also know that the size of the hurt does not determine the validity of the hurt.  To You – a good, gracious, loving God – pain of all sizes can hurt. 

Lord, for all of us, please give us the courage to face in the hard things in our lives, even the hurts.  May we acknowledge them to You, may we work through them with You and may we act with love in the midst of hurt. 

May we be an encouragement through the pain.  In Jesus’s name, amen. 

To hurt and be in pain is just down right yucky stuff.  I do not like to feel it and I do not like to cause it.  I wish I could say that all the hurt in my life is in the past, but I can not do that.  I have hurts that I am currently working through and I know that there is a 100% percent chance that hurts will occur in my future.

I would like to say I am well versed on how to appropriately deal with hurt and pain, that I know how to navigate this territory gracefully, BUT I confess that I am not.  I can be so reactive and emotional with my hurt and pain.  I can be consumed, distracted and nearly debilitated by it.

Like every single other area in my life, I am a work in progress.  I really hope that this is one of the areas I’m making forward progress on in my life.  But, this is probably an area where I am one step forward, two steps back, three spins to the side and one hop diagonally forward in my so called “progress”.

I am guilty of acting rashly out of my hurt, lashing out with hurtful and hurt filled words in response to my pain.  I am also guilty of being a wounded withdraw-er, removing and avoiding situations or people who have caused me pain, withholding myself from them.

I feel I do need to say here that there are certainly situations where withdrawing and avoidance are absolutely the BEST thing to do.  When someone’s health, safety and well being are at risk, removal from the situation is certainly needed.  There are appropriate places for secure measures and I am a firm believer in boundaries in one’s life.  I am not talking about abuse, violent mistreatment, or exploitation.  Those, I believe, require intense, specific actions with the help of wise & experienced counsel.  

I am talking more about the hurts that we face in and out of our daily lives, when we are disappointed or let down, when our hearts ache from the actions or words of others and when our upset by the circumstances that surround us.

I believe that we need to move forward, even in pain, with knowledge, insight and wisdom.  I am still trying to figure all of this out for my life and my circumstances.  I am certainly not an expert, just a silly and seriously flawed woman who felt that sharing her struggles may help another.

In my personal Bible study I am reading through Psalms.  Today, Psalm 55:1-8 (NIV) stuck out vividly to me.

1 Listen to my prayer, O God,
    do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
because of what my enemy is saying,
    because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
    and assail me in their anger.

My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
    horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “’Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
    and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.’”

My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.  My heart is in anguish within me.  Fear and trembling have beset me.  Oh that I had the wings of a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.

I am absolutely positive that I have felt all of those things.  As I was reading through them this morning, I realized how differently things look through the eyes of hurt.  Things look darker, scarier.  Eyes that are seeing through hurt are looking for escape, wondering how to avoid further pain.  Statements of doubt and unbelief seem to flash like neon signs so bright that there is a hot searing heat that comes with it.

For me, hurtful words and actions that break trust can just send me on this swift downward spiral of plummeting self worth.  It does not take long at all for words to turn into me feeling worthless and valueless.  This can lead me to have unhealthy blanket thoughts that everyone must feel the same way about me as I slide my pity party shades over my eyes of hurt tinting all of my circumstances to a dismal gray.

Like I said, I am a tremendous work in progress and fixer upper.

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That dismal gray of hurt seems to filter out so many of the vibrant and good colors in our lives.  It is almost as if eyes of hurt are color blind.  As I type the word “blind”, I smile a bit because I know the ONE who specializes in healing the blind so they can see…Jesus.

Wanting to find a specific example of this, I turned to Matthew 20:29-34 (NIV) where Jesus heals two blind men.  Two men blind by the roadside who started yelling “Lord, son of David, have mercy on us,” when they heard Jesus was coming by.  When told to be quiet by the crowd, they yelled louder.

Jesus stops, and asked them what they wanted him to do.  The blind men asked for sight.  It says in Matthew 20:34 (NIV), “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.  Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”  

I go back to Psalm 55:1-2(NIV), Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
”  It seems that in Matthew 20:34 Jesus did just that.

If Jesus can help two blind men to see because they cried out to him, perhaps if we cry out to Him in our hurts He would have compassion upon us, touch our eyes and help us to see His goodness through our hurt.

Perhaps compassion is the prescription for adjusting the vision of those who are seeing through the eyes of hurt.  May kindness refocus our eyes upon the care that those around us have for us.

I do not know the ins and outs of your hurts, the gory details of what happened or how it feels now.  I do know it is not pleasant.  I know that tears well up in my eyes and a lump grows in my throat when I think of my recent hurts.  I know there is a temptation to replay the circumstances of the hurt over and over again, and that it seems to get scarier with each replay.

The hurt is not the end of the story nor is it the whole story of your life.  Our value is not determined by our hurt and pain.  Even a sum total of our failures and successes is not how our value is measured.

You are a priceless treasure and a beautiful gift!

Even on days when you are hurting.         

You are a priceless treasure and a beautiful gift!

This is because God designed You with His own hands, a master craftsman who specializes in masterpieces.  You are one of His masterpieces.  You are one of a kind, the likes of which the world has never before seen and will never see again after You.

You are a priceless treasure and a beautiful gift!

Beloved Lord,

With such a weighty topic, I feel that one more prayer is needed today.  Please be with all who are hurting out there.  Lord, hear their cries and their prayers.  Pour Your love and compassion over them.  Please help each of them to see more than just gray today, bring a rainbow of joy filled colors into their lives.  Move in the hearts of those around them to act with generous kindness and compassion to reinforce that their prayers were heard by You. 

May the hurt that we have seen and felt not drive us away, but may it help us to be more aware of those around us who are hurting.  May we not make assumptions about the cause or magnitude of other’s pain, but may we offer compassion, may we ask open ended questions with an ear eager to listen and then may we offer what we have to help, even if it is just sitting together in peace filled silence. 

Thank You for loving us and giving us value when we feel we have none.  In the compassionate name of Jesus, amen. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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