5 Things to Focus on When Chronic Pain is Overwhelming

Hope for Chronic Pain

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Pain flares are not fun, but pain can bring purpose if you allow Christ to work in it. Everyone has experienced pain at one time or another; an injury, chronic pain or illness. Sometimes the painful bout lasts for a few minutes, or hours. Sometimes days or weeks and for others, the pain continues from months, to years.

Maybe your pain is like mine, it comes and goes. It may feel like your on a roller coaster ride, one day you’re at the top of hill feeling great, and the next your going down hill at top speeds due to no cause of your own.

Sometimes a quick pain reliever eliminates the pain, but other times you might have taken a bath, rested, iced, stretched, did yoga, foam rolled, used the trusty heat pad or even taken some pain-relieving medication and nothing helps. No doctors, no medication, no vitamin, no healthy food, no prayer or exercise seems to take the pain away. This is when I start to be negative and lose hope, especially when the pain keeps me up at night.

The following 5 points are some ways that have helped me get through even the most painful flares, and my hope is that something in this article will bring you comfort.

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1. Prayer. Prayer may seem obvious, but during overwhelming pain, its easy to skip over and go straight to negative thinking. Even if you can only utter a few words, the holy spirit will intercede for you.

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

  • Rather than always praying for healing, focus on prayer that praises God, expresses gratitude and gives him glory.
  • Pray for your family members, your friends, people around you, people you met running errands, needs you seen around you, things you seen on the news, your church and the leaders. Focusing on other people is a great way to put the pain at the back of your thoughts.

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2. Listen to what your telling yourself. Our self-talk has power. Repeating over and over how unbearable the pain is will never help {trust me I’ve wasted a lot of time complaining and focusing on how bad my body hurts}.

It helps me to focus on affirmations like:

  • Yes, the pain is unpleasant but I will get through it.
  • It’s uncomfortable, but I’ve been in worse pain or the pain could get worse.
  • Time is always passing, I am one moment closer to being pain-free.
  • God is healing me and my pain has a purpose.
  • I have all of eternity to be in complete comfort, peace and harmony.
  • This time is fleeting compared to heaven. I can make it through this flare.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

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3. Don’t complain. Complaining keeps our minds focused on what is negative and amplifies the pain. When loved ones are near, it’s easy to complain and get them to comfort us or feel sorry for us. Comfort from a loved one isn’t bad, but running to a loved one first and always rather than God, will never bring lasting comfort.

Philippians 2:14  

Do everything without complaining and arguing

Refraining from complaining is difficult for me. If I absolutely must complain, I bring my complaints to God and process them in a healthy way like David did all through out the book of Psalms.

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4. Express gratitude. Remind yourself of the small comforts you do have like your bed, pillow, heat pad, loved one, pet, running water, electricity, a roof, a job etc.

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

When we focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t have, our pain seems small in comparison.

  • Yes, I may be in debilitating pain that makes getting out of bed difficult BUT I do have this comfy memory foam bed, while others may be sleeping in a homeless shelter, or in an abandoned building, or on a dirt floor in a hut.

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5. Listen to Praise/worship music. I often find myself reciting pieces of worship music over and over that are comforting. Listening to worship music is a really easy way to lift my mood and spirit. It helps me to keep Christ at the very forefront of my mind, and praise him for who He is and what He’s already done, not what He can do for me or give me.

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I believe in Jesus Christ because He died for me and took my sins to the cross, so that I may have a relationship with God, creator of the universe. Not because the laundry list of things I want Him to do for me.

Even if the pain is never healed, I choose not to waste my pain. He has a purpose for my pain and yours. Opening your heart, being vulnerable and allowing Him to work in your life will bring purpose. Although the purpose of the pain may not be easy to see, if you will put your trust in Jesus Christ, He will bring good out of your hurts.

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