Put Down the Temporary Band-Aids...

“Should I take the Motrin or not?” This is the thought that swirled in my head as I stood at the sink washing the dishes a couple nights ago. I have chronic pain that springs up a lot lately. I know what causes the pain, generally speaking, yet sometimes I give in and choose medicine to help dull the pain that is working to distract me. It is a temporary band-aid to a bigger problem.
As I said, I kind of know what is causing the pain, but unfortunately, I am not sure how to alleviate it completely. You see, sometimes this chronic pain is triggered by stress and sometimes this stress is at the hands (or mouths) of my children. I can wake up in the best mood, spend my time with the Lord, feel refreshed and then a few minutes later when the children start to rise, the world can cave in. Someone starts demanding something, someone is unhappy about something, someone looks at someone the wrong way and someone isn’t moving fast enough. As they start screeching, I start getting tense, the muscles from my neck clear down to my foot start to feel tight and the next thing I know, I can’t shake the pain for a day or two no matter how much I stretch or breathe. It is exhausting. This pain only strikes one side of my body – almost as if it is teasing me by saying, “the right side is what it should feel like, but your left side is what you are allowing it to feel like.” Some days I think I can only make it because I know perhaps there will be a day when my house will be too quiet and I will look back longingly on the years that go by so quickly. My stress is sometimes triggered by my children, but it can also be other stressors due to my long list of to-do items –many of which I voluntarily take on.
I know the days when the pain becomes so great I have to take the Motrin. I don’t take anything stronger than that and occasionally it might be a double dosage kind of day. However, I know some of you reading this know this pain and a whole lot more and you reach for things much stronger and sometimes more destructive to dull the pain.
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Shopping in excess
  • Sex (pornography, adultery, addiction)
  • Physical abuse (to self and others)
  • Suicidal thoughts 
These things, too, are temporary band-aids. They may help at the moment, but the pain will come back if the source is not dealt with.
My chronic pain is a result of the fact I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with stress. I need to ask myself more questions. What exactly is causing the stress? Is it something that can be removed? Am I setting my expectations too high? Am I overscheduled and/or overcommitted? Am I getting enough sleep and/or healthy food? Do I have someone to talk to about my stress?
For those who deal with issues such as loneliness, depression, past hurts, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger and fear, often times numbing the pain is easier or better than trying to fix it because in your mind it is beyond fixable – you may have even tried over and over again to fix it to no avail.
​But you know what, God knows. He knows your heart, pain and your history. He knows that He knew you while you were in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5) and He knows how He creates good and perfect things – He even knit you together (Psalm 139: 13). Unfortunately life happens, but you are never alone. David said in Psalm 139:7, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” Some of you may not like that God is with you right where you are, but that’s okay because He’s working on getting your attention.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus is stronger than you and not only can he carry your burden, he wants to carry your burden. He isn’t going to ask you a million questions, make accusations or call you names – he is “gentle and lowly in heart (humble).” Why? Because Jesus wants to give you “rest for your souls.” There is no medicine or addiction that can cure soul issues. Only Jesus can fix your soul. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
My stress is a temporal issue (of this world) when in fact I need to be focusing on eternity. Better than Motrin is when I take the time to talk to Jesus about my pain and about my stress. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” When I can move away from focusing on my pain and focus on the person of Jesus Christ, He takes my burden upon Him and lightens my load. My stress becomes lighter as my thankfulness and awareness of Him increases.
Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” My word comes from His Word as I communicate with Him. Some of us need to fall into the ever-loving, ever-watchful arms of our Savior today. Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart (see Hebrews 3:7-8). Today. Put down whatever it is you are trying to use as a band-aid and fall into His grace. He is waiting.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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Darlene - September 16th, 2015 at 1:06pm

As always, you have such an amazing way relating our struggles & tying them to the Gospel! Please pray for me, my body has been screaming with pain due to hectic flight schedule & navigating life's other demands. By the grace of God, I have vacation in October! Also, finally off the next 2 weekends! Miss you, Worship services & our Fellowship class. Hope to see you at Jarrett's Celebration of Service. Until then, praying for you, your family & prayer requests from our class! Have a blessed, no pain or stress day%uD83D%uDE07 Your Sister in Christ, Darlene