When I think of pain, I think of an accident I had while ice fishing two years ago. Before I share that story, here’s a principle you may find helpful if you’re hurting right now. When it comes to pain, think seasons, not sessions. Let me explain.
One minute I was warning my buddies how slippery the ice was because there was about 3 inches of water on top of it. The next minute my feet went out on me and I had a complete garage sale in a matter of seconds and was sprawled out on my back wondering if I was still alive! Somehow my buddies were able to keep from laughing while I laid in the water for about a minute like a turtle on its back. All of my gear was sprawled out like cargo from a plane crash. I felt as though I’d just been in one.
Of course I managed to fish the rest of the day, but by the time I hobbled off the ice at the end of the day, I knew something was seriously wrong. A trip to the Emergency room confirmed my diagnosis. Cracked ribs.
No big deal. Until you realize there’s nothing you can do to get comfortable. Whatever you do, you learn not to sneeze. The problem is your ribs heal very slowly because your lungs constantly move them when you breathe. I laid on the couch for about ten days, dreading every movement. Although the acute pain went away after a couple of weeks, it was still difficult to sleep for about ten months and I still experience numbness in my left foot and left leg and back from time to time.
The pain I experienced didn’t go away after a session of fervant prayer. It didn’t go away after a trip to the Emergency Room. It didn’t go away after a couple of weeks on the couch. Why not? Because sessions are never an instant cure. Sure they can add up to healing. But in all honesty, healing takes more than one or two sessions of anything.
In fact, sessions can take the form of the quick cure. Without getting to poetic, lets just say that while many things can be fixed quickly, pain isn’t one of them. Yes, you can medicate and numb it for a while, but it’s still going to come creeping back until it runs its course. So much for the quick cure.
Before you go thinking sessions are bad things, they’re not. Sessions are good things. They can add up to great results and be an all together wonderful experience….healthy ones that is. However, rather than expecting instant results, you’re better off thinking long-term. That’s where seasons come into play.
When you think seasons, think 3 months or longer. For example, while the seasons in the Northeast are usually somewhat predictable and regular, that hasn’t been the case this year. We had about 6 months of Sprinter, earlier in the year. During this time, it wasn’t quite Spring and it wasn’t quite Winter, it was a combination of the two. While you may laugh, seasons in your life can be just as long and unchartable. That’s why it’s so important to think seasons and not sessions. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to quit before real healing takes place.
Which leads us up to this question. Who are you talking with about your pain? Notice I presumed you’re talking with someone. There’s a reason why. The reason is you cannot reach your full potential as a leader unless you have someone to help. You can call them what you want, a teacher, coach, counselor. The point is find someone if you haven’t already. In fact, I’d even be willing to wager that Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel have at least one person to talk to if not more. So what makes you think you can do it on your own?
As a pastor, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone want to make a change. Some of them want it so bad, they’re willing to take whatever course of action is necessary to get better. Then, after a short period of time and not attaining the result they want instantly, they drop out of the race and go back to where they started. Usually in worse condition than when they started.
Then there are others. They too follow your advice. However, unlike the drop outs, they persist. After a while, you don’t even have to ask them how they’re doing because you can see the difference in their lives and attitudes. Yes, they still stumble and fall from time to time, but they always get back up and keep running. They are the righteous men and women who though they fall seven times, they persist.
So what are you waiting for? Find someone and get the conversation going about your healing. Ask if they’ll meet with you once a month for six months to a year and start meeting with them. While you’re at it, find a church and a pastor who will love and encourage you. Attend their weekly services and start getting your life back. And remember, when it comes to pain, think seasons and not sessions.