Is Chronic Pain Your Focus? What Happens When You Shift Your Thoughts?

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

I remember when I first learned to drive. It was overwhelming yet exciting, terrifying yet thrilling.

Peering over the steering wheel, I stared at the hood of the car. Lots of self-talk guided me. Stay in your lane. Check your rear view mirror. Watch your speed. You are doing fine.

Rumble, rumble, rumble. The unexpected sound shattered my confidence.

“Watch it; you’re driving on the shoulder. Get back in your lane” said my mother with all the composure she could muster.

The sound of the flat road surface signaled I was back on track. Confidence restored. Smooth sailing. But the hood of the car loomed so large. Stay clear of oncoming traffic. Keep to the right.

Rumble, rumble, rumble. Drifted again. Corrected once more.

Realizing my problem my mother instructed, “You have to look far ahead in the distance. Concentrate beyond the hood of the car.”
Her advice helped me maneuver my car safely in my lane. Thankfully, I learned how to stay on the road.

As we travel through life, we have a choice where to look. We can either dwell on our problems (as if admiring them) or ponder God’s faithfulness. Concentrate on our difficulties or on the One who offers comfort.

Unfortunately, I haven’t mastered a steady focus in life. Thinking about my constant pain results in self-pity and frustration. God offers a path for my thoughts. Hebrews 12:2 tells us where stare. “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of faith. . . ”

Swerving off that path leads to rumblings of doubt and hopelessness. We have to mentally steer in a different direction. The Psalmist shows us how to deliberately adjust our thoughts.

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:19) Pain is real, but God. . . is my strength (Psalm 28:7), assures me of comfort in my affliction (Psalm 119:50), and is my refuge (Jeremiah 16:19). His love and faithfulness always protect me (Psalm 40:11).

An eternal gaze assures me of everlasting relief from pain. “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. . . ” (Revelation 21:4)

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, captivate my thoughts today. How I long to meditate on Your love for me (rather than on my pain). Sustain me. Strengthen me. Help me honor and serve You today. In Your Son’s precious name, Amen.

About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her online community she reaches out to other parents of children with special needs.

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How do you keep your mind off your pain?

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