Yellow-leafed trees line a deserted road. Being present in painful seasons can feel lonely

@JeanneTakenaka

Why is it that the painful seasons are where I internalize God’s lessons for me? We’re currently walking through a family crisis. As Hubs and I drove to the airport for him to spend time with family, I caught myself trying to plan for possible future outcomes of our present situation. If I’m being honest, it’s hard being present in painful seasons, and I wanted to edge my way around it.

As we drove, sometimes talking and sometimes quiet, my mind sifted through possible scenarios and options of what our future may (or may not) hold. 

And then God whispered, “What am I trying to teach you about being present, Jeanne?”

A photo of red leaves and white buds wrapped in barbed wire

The question halted my racing thoughts; I was convicted. It’s easier for my heart to plan for the future than to live in the present when pain is inevitable.

I’ve discovered that my mind skips the future because emotion hasn’t woven into that place yet. But if I focus on the present, pain interweaves through my heart and thoughts. I’m recognizing I don’t know how to deal with present pain very well. 

Or maybe I’ve realized it, and that’s why my mind drifts to the future and fixing anticipated problems (because hey, we all know the future so well, right?). 

Calm waves lapping the shore while rain falls on mountains in the distance. Storms come into our lives and make it painful to be present

God Doesn’t Call Us to Live in the Future

He beckons us to thrive in the present. In the . . .

. . . Victories and in the failures. 

. . . Peace and in the turmoil.

. . . Joys and the sorrows.

He beckons us to thrive in the present. In the victories and in the failures. In the peace and in the turmoil. In the joys and the sorrows. #dealingwithemotions #livinginthepresent Click To Tweet

Living in the present requires us to be vulnerable, to understand that we will experience many kinds of pain. Choosing to live in this place asks us to be open to hurting.

A smoky sunset...when people face painful situations, sometimes we need to be present in painful seasons

It’s often in the hurting places where we reach out our hands and hearts to God, and we discover the intimacy of His love. We learn the truth that, especially when pain is inevitable, He is always with us, never leaving or forsaking us. 

Being Present in Painful Seasons

The only real way to thrive in the painful places is to choose to trust God as we walk through the strong, difficult emotions.

My first instinct is to shy away because big, unwieldy feelings lead to a sense of being out of control. Tears sting my eyes and roll down my cheeks. My heart literally hurts, and my throat heats and tightens. 

The initial inclination is to shut down those emotions. They’re uncomfortable and painful.

A tree that has lost some of its leaves, a reminder that we can still stand when life gets hard, because God is with us

But, God is with us, even in the uncomfortable, even when pain is unavoidable. He’s as close as our next breath. We only need to call out to Him. He invites us to live present in each moment. 

Who Will We Trust?

There’s a delicate balance between choosing to walk through the pain holding God’s hand and pushing through until it overwhelms us. 

One requires us to trust our Father. The other only encourages us to trust ourselves.

A meme that says, "There's a delicate balance between choosing to walk through the pain holding God's hand and pushing through until it overwhelms us." on a backdrop fo branches reaching toward a brilliant sunrise

When God allows painful, out-of-control circumstances into our lives, the best place we can turn is to Him. 

Sometimes we must choose to live in the moment—to feel the pain, to walk through the heartache—rather than skirting around it.

It’s when we don’t cringe away from the pain that we can discover the depth of God’s love for us. 

Our Father never looks down on His creation and thinks, “What can I do to inflict pain on him/her?” He is not capricious. God knows that in this world we will face trouble. The good news is Jesus has overcome the world.

Will we trust the Overcomer with our heartache or will we trust ourselves? When He allows difficult circumstances into our lives, our Father always has a purpose, and it’s a good purpose. 

God leaves the choice up to us. Trust Him or ourselves when the pain comes. Will we allow Him to hold our hand as we feel the pain or will we harden ourselves and ignore the hurting? 

Small purple flowers that grow even in chilly weather, reminding us about being present in painful seasons

The benefit comes in trusting Him. Always.

As for me, I’m choosing to trust Him. In being present in painful seasons, especially this one, I trust He’ll bring me through the pain. I believe I’ll come to know Him better in the trusting.

What about you? What have you learned in painful circumstances? How has God walked beside you during hard seasons?

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory, #Instaencouragements and #RaRaLinkup

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