The Problem of Pain

Hey there one and all, or one and none, depending.

The last statement made since in my head.

Anywise, I am adding a new category to my rantings called “counseling” because that is what I want to be when I grow up, a counselor, and I thought it is a good idea to start talking about psychological stuff… and stuff. Anyways, here it goes:

Recently I went to a conference called “Rekindling your Spirit” conference by a guy named Paul Singh. I did not know what to expect, but since I want to be involved in a counseling ministry I thought it would be good to see what one looks like. Everyone I talked to who had been to one of Paul’s conferences was really positive about it and encouraged me to go. There was also this feeling of expectation that I got when I decided to go that I knew was from God so I got kind of excited about going. Major props for Patsy Brekke for loaning me the jack to go!

There is no quick way to explain this so I guess that we are in for a long post. Paul talked about three levels to pain; secondary pain, primary pain and core pain. On the topic of primary pain there is what he calls the father wound and the mother wound. If I understood correctly the core pain is caused by our fallen nature and separation from God. It is the proverbial “God-shaped hole” in our heart that longs for the love and acceptance of God and the fear that we will never get it. Apparently our parents, by there love, can either hold the edges of this hole so that it does not grow so big as to swallow us or exacerbate the hole, called a wound, by there actions or inaction.

Sound kind of touchy-feely? I fight that feeling too, but I am telling you that as I reflect on my heart’s motivations it really makes sense to me.

Because our parents are human, they make mistakes, and in the early years that can really hurt, or wound us, effecting our psyche for years to come, sometimes dictating how we act as well as react. When I break it down, I can see my self-image being a direct result of not knowing my father for so long and the emotional entanglements of a single mother who could not be everything that I needed and had needs of her own.

I can really see the connections between how I feel about myself and how my parents/parent-figures helped model that self-opinion. How I understand that I am loveable and valued, really effects my ability to accept the love and value that God has for me. It is only through allowing God to love me that the core pain can be healed and often the primary pain, the father and mother wound, stand in the way of that healing.

So what is the secondary pain? That is all the stuff that is in our life as result of the primary and core pain. Whether it be depression, addiction, anger or being judgmental; the secondary pains can be numerous and are always recognizable as sins. Secondary pain is all the stuff we do and think to deal with or try and escape from the primary pain and core pain.

For Instance, at it’s essence, anger is just a covering for fear, in my case the fear of not being good enough. Not being good enough for my dad to stick around, not good enough to be everything that my single mom needed me to be, not good enough to measure up to the stern opinion of the aunt and brother who where both surrogate father figures, and certainly not good enough for God. This fear is so obvious to me now and how it fuels all these “secondary pains”, or sin, is scary.

I guess that fear is the wound, it is created by original sin and it grows and becomes defined in our formative years, after that too, if the betrayal is big enough.

I am going to take some time in the next few entries to go over some of the revelations that I had about my life and about how it ties into the pains that I have been talking about here. Maybe someone out will find it useful.

Let me know what you think.

3 thoughts on “The Problem of Pain

  1. You are not alone. It makes a lot of sense…that’s why the idea of a Bridegroom God is so inconceivable…so hard to grasp, but so necessary. When we finally realize what we look like to God…WOW.
    Even as we are all broken, messy, sinners and in need of healing, our God is the God whose desire is for us, whose heart leaps when we pause to say hello, who has known us and chosen us and called us His own, and paid a price for us…He wants to allure us, wants to woo us, wants to heal us, and has given all He has for us. That we are not good enough for God is one of satan’s favorite lies.

  2. Dear Mark-
    I’m impressed at your level of personal sharing and insight. God has truly touched us. I too have been thinking about all the things that have made me the person I am today. These lessons have also made me very aware of how I treat our children. I can’t be a perfect mother, but I want to do my best to make sure I’m not making that wound any bigger.

    This will be an exiting journey. Probably not too fun at times. But His mercy and grace is generous. So generous. God loves you and sees you in your perfection and imperfection. He can see through all of that stuff and see the beautful creation that you are.

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