Even as driven as I can be, I am also prone to being psyched out. I was running on the treadmill on Friday at the gym. I am nowhere near as cardio-vascularly fit as I used to be, once upon a time. My goal these days is to run 2 "fast" miles on the treadmill. (Fast for me is 8:30.) Actually, I have this crazy idea of ultimately running 3 miles without stopping, averaging an 8:30 mile.
But I digress ...
While I was running, at about the 1 1/2 mile point, I started to get psyched out. I gave in to my body's observation that I was hurting. I paid attention to the pain for one nano second too long and heartily agreed, jabbing the "down" arrow repeatedly to slow the treadmill to a crawl.
Long story short -- the pain got on top of me. Once that happens, it's all over. I shut down.
When I was pregnant with my eldest child, or rather in labor with him, I had a similar experience. The pain got on top of me. I lost it. It was the point of no return. There was nothing the nurse or my husband could say to make me calm down. Most of this I would write off to being my first labor and the terror of the unknown. Is this as bad as it's going to get? How much more pain do I have to endure? How will I respond? How will I hold it together?
That's just it. When the pain gets on top of you, you can't hold it together. And so you come to fear the pain.
True, no one ever died of pain. But the fear of the pain can make life unbearable.
I see this in the women I am in ministry with. The pain of their lives has gotten on top of them. It is irrelevant who is responsible for the pain; whether they are the victims of abuse or suffering the natural consequences of some poor decisions. They feel trapped, hopeless, out of control. No amount of lecturing can convince them otherwise.
If I could tell them anything, I would say, stop asking God to make the pain go away. He likely will not. Instead, ask God for more strength. He will give it, liberally. With God's strength, you really are strong enough to survive this.
It won't be any less painful, but you will survive.
You will arrive on the other side.