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  • Kerry Sue Teravskis

THE STRATEGY

HOW TO COPE WITH THE PAIN

I am an expert on pain. I never would of thought I could say this. But it’s true. I did not see myself with this knowledge, did not go to school for this education, nor do I really want to say it out loud that I know it.

But I do.

As you know, I have been dealing with undiagnosed injuries/resulting pain TWICE in my life. The first time was 2012-2018 and I am currently in the middle of one since February of this year. Yup. I know pain.

And, I do not take pain medication for it. Not only would I have been buying the hard stuff on the street by now, no pill helps the pain anyway, so why start that slippery slope? Every doctor has offered, and shook his/her head when I refused. Plus, I am the kind of person who reacts to meds anyway, so it’s not worth it.

So, what are my choices? That is what this post is all about.

Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the GOD who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You. Psalm 25:5

I know what the walls in my room look like. Every nook, crack, smudge, color. Why? Simple. I spend a lot of time in my room. In this current go around, I have spent almost 3 months in my room – May for 2 weeks, July and August were back to back, and days here and there. So, yes, I know about being in solitary confinement.


I like the picture with this verse on it because it is a wall. A solid wall with a small window in it. How do I not go crazy staring at the walls?

I have learned a few things in suffering. It is a mindset, after all. Oh yes, the pain is very real, but getting one’s mind off of the pain and onto something else is more than half the battle. As David wrote in the Psalm, it is GOD who can teach us how to overcome where our minds go during times of intense suffering and affliction. So many times I would put on worship music and just listen and worship. When my mind was occupied with worship, my pain took a back seat. Or, I would focus on learning something new. I have learned so much in my times of confinement. At the beginning of COVID, and my feet, I took up origami. John, the Witties, and I had gone to Manzanar days before the world shut down. It was a very somber and fascinating visit. And we picked up some origami paper and an instruction book. I learned simple folds and enjoy it.

I credit John with saying to me so many times, “Just do the next thing.” For me, it could be a meal. Devotions. A bath. Whatever it was that needed to be done, just do it. Not that I have such a grueling schedule, but it helps to have an order in life so one can do the next thing. I know what I need to do in the morning, for instance. Eat breakfast. Ok, I can do that. Fold laundry. Check. Rest. Perfect. Dinner. Hang out with family. And pretty soon by doing each next thing, my day is filled and my mind has been distracted.

I would say the most gratifying strategy to keep my mind off of me and onto something else is prayer. This area of my life has grown exponentially. I spend gobs of time praying. Usually it will start out as a cry for help, but it will eventually turn to praying for others, praising God and just having a conversation with God. He wants to talk with me, and He is always available. One of my favorite things to do in my prayer life is pray ABC’s of the names of God, or character of God. I do this ALL THE TIME. Or, using the same principle, I do the same thing with a different story or passage in the Bible. Recently I was preparing to lecture on the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, Assyria and Babylon captivities, and the return of the exiles. I did the entire alphabet with this theme. And what was handy, Zerubbabel was my Z!

You know, come to think of it, spending more time in prayer could be what God wants me to do, and He needed to get my attention. I am not saying God afflicted me so I would pray, but I am saying that God does not waste anything.

I created this little printable checklist with you in mind.

Download it HERE for free. Each one of these has been tried and tested over and over again by yours truly. There are times when I have to do all the things on the list just to put my mind somewhere else. Other times, I find that I can go the whole day being distracted just with life itself. I believe that God led me in developing these strategies because I have asked Him over and anon to help me. And He has.

One thing that I find myself gravitating to is reaching out to a friend. I know what it is to be lonely in affliction, so instead of grumbling about my lot in life, I stop thinking about myself and start thinking about others. It’s amazing how easy and fun it is to

chat with a friend, even through a long texting run.

Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Psalm 25:3

This has been a prayer of mine for years. I cannot do this affliction and suffering without God’s help. I need Him to point the way. I am at a loss many times, and He reminds me again and again of what He has already shown me – that list. The path that He leads me on always leads to Him. Always. It leads to peace. Comfort. Worship. Stillness. When I find myself on the rollercoaster of unrelenting pain, God leads me to taking every thought captive so then I can take my mind off of my pain and put it somewhere more productive. I have found that God always answers this prayer – LEAD ME LORD.

He is a good Shepherd and the shepherd’s job is to lead sheep. And God does a really good job at that. He will usually lead on roads less traveled, more scenic and definitely more complex. Because He is wanting us to be more like Him, and that usually involves thinking less about self.


I could take the road to the right....but, honestly, that tunnel looks enticing, fun, and different.


Who wants to go with me?

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