Tricks for Enduring Pain
by Paul Renfroe – July 25th, 2021
After a severe left hamstring deep hematoma at Ocean Reef Club.
My vacation to a resort was very promising until I sat on the post of the desk chair. The deep hematoma has been traveling through my leg and is swollen and painful.
Although I do have an opioid with me, I am trying not to take it—especially while flying. So I am just living with the pain.
Here are four principles I have exercised for decades, with great effect.
One. Recover your authority over your own mind.
Where your mind looks, your whole body turns. And so train your attentiveness to other parts of your body. Do not grant authority to your pain.
When our young men were active little boys, they often hurt themselves. The child has no experience for the severity of most pains, so any pain is scary or threatening. Naturally children cry as if their life is in danger!
We would always comfort our sons and tend to their wound. Sometimes it was only a pretend nursing that was needed, and only fear that needed assuaging. Afterwards, before finishing our care, we addressed the fear of a repeat pain as well as any throbbing or stinging. We pointed their minds away from the hurt. Everyone can do this, including you.
Does it still hurt? How about your elbow—does it hurt? “No.” Well, how about right here? And we would touch the place where there was no injury.
The place of hurt was quickly forgotten after a brief moment. By touching and asking about places that they’re not injured, we directed their minds. That hurt went away.
Even more beneficial as we tended to them through this process: learning that they could survive pain. This protected our children from being afraid of a place or activity where they suffered hurt. And it enabled them to be more careful and alert in that place or activity, or with those people.
As adults, such tricks are easy to see through—but you do not need a trick! You can do it on yourself, using your own #1 power: The power of choice.
You have to decide who is in charge of your mind. When pain is acute—believe me, I know — it takes over your mind. There is an instinctive reaction by our autonomous nervous system.
There comes a moment when you can resume control with your own power of choice. Try saying to yourself, “this is my mind, and I am in charge of it! I command you, pain, to release my mind. I have better uses for it!”
Any prophetic Christian will recognize the Bible teaching about the authority of man. But you don’t have to be a Christian to do this. Anyone can, because whether you are a Christian or not, you still have the power of choice which God gave you.
Two. Pay attention to other physical needs.
We have a long list to choose from because there’s always some physical needs. Maybe the chair isn’t comfortable. Maybe there’s too much noise around. You might be thirsty. You might have a mosquito bite.
The physical needs for recovering your authority over your mind fall into four categories. The first three are evident: not painful, or less painful, or solvably painful.
Even if you just trim your fingernails or brush your teeth, you are recovering the control of your mind’s attention.
Three. Use your pain as a weathervane.
This fourth type of physical need is my favorite, but not immediately evident when you are in pain.
Let the pain serve your kind heart. Use it like a weathervane, pointing you to others in pain.
I’ve found that by caring for others in their hurt, my own pains often subside.
The way God made our human race is in His image—which means you, like Him, can choose to love and care for other people. You need get nothing out of it—but you will.
When you make the above choices, you function as your Maker intended. Functioning as intended is good for people, machines, animals—everything.
As a Christian in momentary intimacy with the Holy Spirit, I ask Him a simple series of questions.
A. Is this pain Your alert? Are you pointing me to someone has this hurt for You and me to heal or pray for?
B. What is the test You want me to pass?
C. Is this for now, or for a different time?
(For more about those questions and His answers, look in Book One of the Unseen series, Living in the Unseen World: Activating Your Spirit Identity.)
Four. Focus on things that can satisfy you, even while you have pain.
Our Maker also created our system of satisfaction in His image. If He is satisfied by loving people, so will you as well.
And if showing that love requires stepping in someone’s shoes and carrying their burdens, you are in good company! He Himself established that pattern on His Cross—actually dying for the forgiveness of our disobedience and the restoration of our spirit for intimacy with Him.
Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.