I worked in the medical transcription field for a few years in the area of podiatry, which includes everything below the knee. Most of it was routine. Sprains and breaks from injuries. Plantar fasciitis. Surgeries for various things.
One of the main treatments, especially following surgery or for plantar fasciitis, was physical therapy. PT. And they would tell them, “Go to PT. It will help. You need to do this 3 times a week.”
I was surprised how many people would come back to their follow-up appointments several weeks later and when the doctor would ask about physical therapy, they would reply, “Oh, I only went once. It hurt!”
Yet they were surprised they hadn’t seen any improvement. Then the doctor would go over it all again. Why it was important. Even though it hurts, it is going help. That they wouldn’t totally recover without it.That what was injured or broken didn’t have to stay that way, but it would take work.
And they would come back several weeks later and report they didn’t go to PT. Again. It was just too painful.
Instead of pressing on with the painful work of PT, they decide it was okay the way it was. “I don’t have to run anymore. I’m good with taking it easy. I’ll swim instead. Or ride a bike. I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep pressure off it, even if it means missing out on something I love.”
We’re taught from an early age to back away from pain. When a toddler reaches out to touch a hot stove, the parent yells, “NO! HOT! OWIE! That will hurt you. Bad!”
Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. We need to teach our kids boundaries and what can harm them.
But what we need to remember is there’s a BIG difference between hurt and harm.
Look at the definitions:
Hurt – Cause physical pain or injury to.
Harm – Physically injure.
Ummm….isn’t that the same thing? They may sound almost the same, but they are totally different. I like this quote by Henry Cloud:
“There is a big difference between hurt and harm. We all hurt sometimes in facing hard truths, but it makes us grow. It can be the source of huge growth. That is not harmful. Harm is when you damage someone. Facing reality is usually not a damaging experience, even though it can hurt.”
We need to remember not everything that hurts will harm us.
Some hurts help!
As we walk through life, we experience things that hurt us. That cause “breaks or sprains” to our emotions. To our hearts. Sometimes we even need “surgery” or physical therapy.
Breaks and sprains are not fun. Surgery hurts. They all take time to heal – some longer than others. And physical therapy. Things like losing a loved one. Like divorce. Like being hurt in church. Like being betrayed by someone.
Yet instead of doing the painful work of healing and therapy, many of us back off from it like we would a hot stove and decide, “I don’t need to fix it. I’m okay the way I am. I just won’t ever do that again. I’ll never put myself in that situation again. I won’t love like that again. I won’t ever go to church again. I won’t ever trust again.”
And when triggers (things that remind us of hurtful situations in our past) come, instead of pressing in to get past it, instead of allowing the Lord to heal and walk us through to wholeness, we run away – just like many of the patients I transcribed for who wouldn’t go to PT because it hurt.
What we don’t see is what we’re missing out on. The healthy relationships we could have. The healthy church we could attend. The dream we could finally walk in once we get healthy. Because we don’t want to walk through the pain of letting God heal that part of our heart.
Disclaimer: I’m not in any way saying to stay in an abusive situation. Marriage. Friendship. No…that will HARM you. Run away. Far away. But do the work of healing your soul, your heart, your emotions from that situation so that you can have a loving and fulfilling relationship down the road.
It’s so much better to live life to the fullest. Healthy. It’s worth it to do the PT. How do I know?
Because I’ve been hurt. Bad. And because I did the hard work (and still do) of emotional PT. Of looking at triggers of painful times in my life dead in the face and walking right over top of them because He’s holding my hand.
Was it easy? No! Facing painful memories is not easy at all. It hurts! But it doesn’t have to be crippling. That’s our choice.
We can keep ourselves in our safe little box. And that does work to keep out a lot of the pain. But it also boxes out the good stuff. The joy. The love. The fulfillment.
God never created us to live in a box. He created us to live healthy and free. Take hold of His hand and go through the PT. Don’t run away from the triggers. Let Him walk you through to health and wholeness.
He’ll sustain you. And heal the hurts. And bring you through. It’s so worth it. Trust Him.