As God moves us from the brokenness of our past to a future filled with His wholeness and purpose, we will unquestionably experience times of uncertainty, anxiousness, and fear. Gifted author Lysa TerQuerst, in her amazing book entitled Uninvited, describes this season as “moving through the desperate in-between.” Look at this incredible excerpt from Lysa’s book:
If we place our hope and future in the hands of our unchanging, unflinching God who never leaves us or forsakes us, we’ll find healing and freedom. We’ll be able to see something on the other side of all the pain. Something good. Something we know will be worth whatever it takes to get well. So instead of running from the pain, we embrace it as necessary. We must feel the pain to heal the pain. If we never allow ourselves to feel it, we won’t acknowledge it’s there.
Remember, the pain isn’t the enemy. Pain is the indicator that brokenness exists. Pain is the reminder that the real enemy is trying to take us out and bring us down by keeping us stuck in broken places. Pain is the gift that motivates us to fight with brave tenacity and fierce determination knowing there is healing on the other side.
And in the in-between? Pain is the invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His. I’m not writing that to throw out spiritual platitudes that sound good; I write it from the depth of a heart that knows it’s the only way. We must invite God into our pain to help us survive the desperate in-between.”
We Must Become Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
I can still remember back to 1988 when I asked my dear friend (the one who gave me the John Bradshaw book that started this whole amazing journey), “What can I do to speed this up? I don’t like feeling all of these painful emotions and memories. How could this be helping me?” I was certain that there had to be a faster, easier, less painful way to get emotionally well.
Truthfully, there were many times I was ready to just throw in the towel. Especially in the early months and years of my soul work, there were days that I literally felt like I was in over my head, and sadness and aloneness were closing in around me. Emotions would come like tidal waves, oftentimes unexpectedly.
In the words of Peter Scazzero, in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, “we must be willing to tolerate the discomfort necessary for growth.”
Friends, such is this journey from shame and brokenness to hope, healing, and wholeness. We can’t rush it. We can’t force it. We can’t perfect it. We can’t breeze through it. We can’t avoid the pain that is part of it.
We must compel ourselves to let go and trust God. Some days we’ll feel like we’re standing strong and taking confident steps forward. Yet other days, we’ll lack the desire to get up and push the ball forward another day.
Trust me, this must be part of our journey. In fact, it’s an essential and indispensable part of it. Part of our journey of life-change. Part of being made new, redefined from the inside out. In my personal experience, the days and seasons where I felt like I couldn’t get up and I couldn’t keep going might actually have been among the most valuable of them all.
It’s in those moments of doubt and despair that our subconscious mind and heart begin to learn that we actually are worth it – worth getting up and taking more steps forward, worth creating boundaries despite what we might lose, worth letting go even when we can’t see through the fog. For maybe the first time in our lives, we learned to comfort ourselves amidst our own emotional pain and realized that we didn’t need to turn to a person, an indulgence, or a compulsion in order to make the pain go away. We truly believed that God was with us in our darkest, lowest moments, because we could actually feel His loving, tender presence within us as we sat on the rock at the bottom of our soul. Those times are very precious and deeply transformational!
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