“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – C.S. Lewis
Recycling is a daily activity for more than 100 million Americans and a great way to protect our environment. Recycling saves resources, prevents pollution, supports public health, and creates jobs. It saves energy, money, avoids landfills, and best of all, it’s not all that hard. In short it just make sense for the community in general and for all of us as individuals. But did you know God is in the recycling business; He recycles our pain,
There are real advantages to recycling your pain. If you are an average person you have pain in your life. Maybe it is a lot of pain. Maybe you have been carrying the pain around with you for years. God uses pain to get our attention. Now pain is not the problem. Pain is a wake-up call; pain is a warning light. God will often use a painful experience to cause us to change our ways. God uses pain to teach us to depend on Him. There are some things we can only learn through pain and there are ways we can recycle that pain. The key is not to let your trials be wasted only on you. If you keep all of that pain and hurt to yourself you will be wasting it. God wants to use your pain to help other people.
God allows pain to give us a ministry to other people who are hurting. Who would be better to help an alcoholic than someone who has struggled with it already? Someone who has already gone through recovery? Who better to help someone dealing with the pain of abuse than one who has suffered abuse?
One of the best ways to recycle your pain is by sharing your story. It’s simple and it’s difficult at the same time. Share what you have been through, how you dealt with it, and the role God played in the experience with those who need to hear it. Maybe there was nothing that you could have done better to change the situation. You learned how to deal with your pain in a more constructive and positive way. Recycling your pain doesn’t mean that the struggle isn’t real, and reoccurring, it means that you’re aware of it and able to focus your energy on letting go of the life you thought you should live, and embracing the one you are living.
Yes, pain can feel very private. But consider this: we grow when others grow through our experiences; most likely there are others with a similar story that need help or maybe just some perspective. They may be a work in progress. You are too, but you may have made more progress than they have right now.
I challenge you to view pain in a different light, and give it to God for recycling.
- Can pain be recycled? Why or why not?
- How can we determine what we should recycle (pain) and what not to recycle?
- What can we do this week to share our experiences with others and recycle our pain effectively?