When pain gets too noisy

volumeI walked into the doctor’s office Friday morning thinking I’d be strong.

I knew the EMG and NCV tests would be painful (I’ve had them before), but this time I was older, more centered, more experienced with blocking out outside stimuli.

Yeah, right.

I cried. It hurt.

But I didn’t cry too long. And I never said stop (although I did ask if I had that option; I did). And I recovered quickly once they finished.

Yet I still resented having to have it done in the first place. I don’t like having a body with broken spots. And I don’t want to turn into one of those people who talk about their ailments for hours.

I don’t want my body to hijack my soul.

I’ve seen physical pain (and emotional, mental, whatever) override the peace God promises. I’ve seen it steal joy; quench hope.

I know God never promised total protection for our bodies. But he did for our souls. And I need him to protect my soul from my body.

So as I awaited results from the tests (they came yesterday—all normal!), I prayed a little more pointedly he’d keep my eyes on the prize, my focus on surrendering, and my desire for his presence.

Because regardless of how noisy my body can get, I don’t want it to drown out the voice of the Shepherd. I want his voice to be the loudest, decibels over the clatter around me. His words the sweetest. His message the strongest.

I may live my life in this body . . .
     but may this body never become my life.

* * *

When has pain grabbed your attention the most?

44 thoughts on “When pain gets too noisy

  1. Betty Jo

    Lisa what an incredible post! This means sooooo much to me. Especially these words: “I need him to protect my soul from my body.” Profound. Also, “I may live my life in this body . . . but may this body never become my life.” Yes, that’s my prayer! So glad your tests were normal. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. blankCarolyn

    Hi Lisa, new to you and your blog, and so glad to be here. Am “aaaaaaaamening” the last seven paragraphs of your post! Am also glad your tests came out negative. And am also glad you shared about all of this today . Timely for me, no question! You have given me a renewed determination to have His Spirit flowing through my soul today, and not the reverse . . . . . having my loud body dictating to my soul! Thanks so much, Lisa.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Welcome, Carolyn. Thanks for visiting. I’m glad the Lord used these words to speak to you today too. Our bodies can definitely get so noisy that they want to boss around our souls. Don’t want it to happen!

  3. blankLinda@Creekside

    What happens in our physical selves can threaten to undo us. ‘ I don’t want my body to hijack my soul. ‘ Lisa – this I will keep with me. This I will share with others. Thank you so very much for this life-altering perspsective.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you get this, Linda. Our physical bodies sure can grab our attention as fast as anything can, but with the Lord’s help we can keep everything in the proper perspective.

  4. blankShelly Miller

    It’s so true isn’t it, the way our physical health can threaten our peace. We take so much for granted. I realize I haven’t been here for a while because I could never comment on your previous site. Thankful you have a new one, I like it!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, we do take a lot for granted. Until we bump straight up against the loss of it. Thankful for grace to always get us through those times of transition and readjustment.

      I’m glad this site is more friendly to your comments, Shelly.:-) I never could figure out why the other was so cantankerous. ha.

  5. blankBarbara H.

    I’m so glad the tests came back normal. I hope they can find out what the trouble is.

    It is very easy to let the physical highjack the spiritual, whether it is pain or the continual tedium of everyday aches and issues – and that will probably increase as we get older. Like you, I pray I can keep my eyes and heart centered on what matters most and not let what’s going on with the physical drown out His words and peace.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Barbara. The only bad thing about the test coming back normal is that it means there’s still no diagnosis. It’s definitely not a life-threatening thing, but it’d be nice to know what’s going on.

      Anyway, yes, as we get older we’ll have more and more body parts cause trouble. May the Lord give us the ability to stay focused on him. I know you see even clearer now how difficult the declines are with your m-i-l in the house 24/7. Continuing to pray for all of you!

  6. blankfloyd

    Wow. A ton of wisdom in these words, Lisa. We live so much by the miracle of our senses that it overtakes our minds… when it is the soul that matters most. A good and Godly reminder of that fact.

    Some of the pain I live with now keeps me from doing some of the stupid things that got me here to begin with…

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I wonder how much of my pain comes from overuse in my earlier years too. Oh well. God knows how to use all of it in the present, even when we don’t want it here. I’m trying to let go of the desire to change it and just accept it until he chooses (or not) to change it.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I sometimes feel uncomfortable writing about pain when I know others like you deal with so much more pain than I can even imagine. The amount that I have daily reminds me to stay humble because it could be much worse.

      Praying for you and others whose pain hijacks your outer life in ways you didn’t want to happen. I know you have a strong inner life but still.

  7. blankhappygirl

    I’m glad to hear of good test results. I can so identify with pain in my body (even in my mind) damaging my soul. I am entering, what I believe to be, a time of healing. Leaving a toxic work situation to restore my body, soul, and mind to move on with my life. Thanks for stopping by.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      You’ll have to keep us posted on how your bodily pain may shift now that your situation is changing. I know there’s not necessarily a direct correlation, but now and again there is, so I pray you will feel the change in a positive way in body and soul.

  8. blankjdukeslee

    Lisa,

    I had to google to see what these sorts of tests were. They sound painful. I am inspired by the way you have turned that pain around, and used it to minister to our hearts. What a gift you are.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I googled the tests myself before I went in last week. I like to know what I’m up against. ha. They weren’t intolerable, but I’d still label them (especially the NCV) as awful.

      Even so, they were only temporary and for that I am grateful. It makes me more aware of those who live with that kind of pain in permanent ways; my heart and prayers go out to them!

  9. blankDolly@Soulstops

    Dear Lisa,
    I’m sorry you had to have such painful tests. Glad the results were normal. Thank you for reminding us of how our souls are in Him, and in Him, we can overcome and be thankful, like you 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I hope I’m not coming across as a whiner just because I had to endure some hard tests. ha. I am thankful that I have insurance and professional medical staff to evaluate problems as needed. But still. Ouch. Just more reasons to look forward to an eternity after this life with no pain. Thanks, Dolly, for your encouragement.

  10. blankRick Dawson

    “When has pain grabbed your attention the most?”

    Three times I’ll recount here – though there are many more:

    A toothache, back in my drinking days that ended up being the triggering event that led me to seek help. I tried to kill that pain on the Sunday night that it happened with a fifth of coconut flavored rum and every Tylenol #3 in the house. At 4 AM, I’m still in agony; all the rum and pills – and excuses – are gone. I went in to treatment shortly after that.

    A spinal tap to determine what might have been causing an unexplained loss of balance – it turned up nothing.

    When I felt the pain from my cancer – without fear – that got my attention. Nothing said “Relax – I’ve got this” from God more than that did that day. It didn’t last long – the pain, that is – just long enough for me to notice the difference.

    Thanks for sharing this, Lisa…

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Your three examples fit many of our patterns:
      We try to alleviate pain on our own until that fails; we get someone else’s help to diagnoses its source (sorry yours came up empty too); we trust God even in the midst of it.

      I wasn’t aware of your cancer. To face it fearlessly? Wow. That’s faith. And to notice progress in your transformation process–that’s a gift. Thanks for sharing all this, Rick. It’s good.

      1. blankRick Dawson

        I’m an esophageal cancer survivor, Lisa – in November, it will be four years clear.

        I’ve had those tests you had before – they were not pleasant at all – but they were necessary for the surgeon to know what to do to free a trapped/pinched nerve in my forearm that contorted my left hand and kept me from playing guitar for almost a year.

        1. blankLisaNotes Post author

          I don’t know much about esophageal cancer, but it sounds painful. Praise God that you’ve been clear for 4 years!

          So you know the pain of those tests. Not fun, huh? But what a gift that they used it to diagnose your problem so you could return you to your music. Good things CAN come through pain.

  11. blankDianna

    What a precious post, Lisa. I’m not sure exactly what type of physical problem you have, nor where you pain is that you battle with. However, I can say that I truly understand what it is to live with pain on a daily basis. I have fibromyalgia…don’t know if you knew that or not. Anyway…it really controlled not only my body but also my mind for the first 18 months or so after I was diagnosed. But then one day (long before I knew anything about Ann Voskamp) I was reading a book by John Piper. I can’t remember what the title was now but as I was reading I remember the exact spot where I was that God spoke so tenderly to my heart and spirit that it was His gift to me…meant to be lived out to give Him glory. I still have days that I fail to remember that…many days, if I’m not careful to focus on Him. But I do try every day to thank Him for this gift and ask for strength to live my day focused on Him that the glory might be His. Love you, Sister…and I will be adding you and your pain in my prayer journal.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      My chronic pain has been mainly from my back for 10 years. But for 6 years or so, I’ve also had tingling in my hands and feet. In the grand scheme of things, the tingling was no biggie. But the past month it turned into burning and pain, so I went back to the doctor (again) to see if they could find the source. So far, nothing.

      Even so, it’s not horrible. It makes me depend more and more on God’s precious grace. I just have to fight my fears about it getting worse, because then what? Well, the grace of God will get bigger too, right? His grace is always larger than any problem we can have. (I have to preach that to myself!)

      Knowing that you live with fibromyaglia has been another reason I’ve admired you so much, Dianna. It encourages me to “watch” (via your posts and emails) how you and others I know deal with your chronic pain and flare-ups. You all are my heroes who have learned to find joy in Christ in the midst of your pain and who use it for his glory. Thank you, sweet friend. Love you.

  12. blankJody Lee Collins

    Lisa I visited the orthopedist the other day about persistent, worsening pain in the thumb joint of my left hand. I wanted to get some therapies on board before I started school in two weeks. His and the hand therapist’s finding confirmed what the pain was telling me –more arthritic cysts. But I was given some preventive tools–home therapy, a new brace, little exercises-that should help mitigate the problem. I feel better that I listened to my body and did something about it instead of just living with the pain ’cause I’m getting older. Funny, that, ”listening to my body.” I guess pain CAN get noisy. And I’m so glad we have a Shepherd whose voice speaks louder when we ask.
    I’m so glad your results were positive–not a fun experience, tho’.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      You make a good point that doesn’t need to get left out of this conversation: pain is noisy for a reason, and we’re not meant to ignore it. We just have to learn to keep it in its proper place and not let it dominate us.

      I’m glad you sought help too. When the pain can be alleviated, may it be so! I’ve started taking a new medicine to help with mine, and even though I’m railing against it, if it helps, I’ll be grateful and praise God for it. And if it doesn’t, then I hope I’ll be wise enough to praise God for his strength to carry me through anyway.

      Praying your thumb joint continues to improve before your new school year begins! Excited for you.

  13. blankNannette and the Sweetheart

    I am overwhelmed by your post in so many ways…echoing the sentiments of all of the other visitors. So glad your test results were good! So sorry you are suffering with pain. As one who also shares chronic and daily pain, and testing that gets “old”, I related to your article in every way. But I was so blessed by what you said. “I don’t want my body to hijack my soul”….never! I cannot let it steal my joy.

    And I understand He never promised protection for our bodies, He does choose to heal sometimes, I have experienced His healing in other areas. And yet there are other times He does not, and that is okay too because those seasons cause us to seek Him, to pursue Him in ways we might not have otherwise.

    Maybe He will use us to help someone else in the process. Only those who have walked the road can minister to another that is going through that particular trial. Thank you so much for this wonderfully encouraging post!! ♥

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Your words are very helpful. I love when the Lord DOES choose to heal, whether through ways we can’t understand or through the doctors and medicines he created.

      And when he doesn’t give us physical healing? I know he can still give us emotional and spiritual healing to handle it. Not all healing is visible but that doesn’t mean it counts any less. Like you said, our pain can prompt us to seek him in fresh ways. I pray for that too. Thank you.

  14. blankSheila at Longings End

    I don’t like having a body with broken spots. And I don’t want to turn into one of those people who talk about their ailments for hours.

    I don’t want my body to hijack my soul.

    Me, too, Lisa. Great reminder and point of view. Thanks for sharing and so glad your results were normal, although I am not sure what the letters of your testing stands for. Glad you are good to go…forward with and for Him, sharing words that bring light and love to others. God bless you…

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I had to look up the letters myself. ha. EMG=electromyogram and NCV=nerve conduction velocity. Basically they were measuring how quickly the neurons travel through my body. So they administered a series of shocks. And even though they’d warn me each time before they’d send the current, it made no difference; my body would still jerk in that spot. ha. But I guess that was a good thing. The bad thing is they still don’t know what’s causing my original problem. But one step at a time…

  15. blankBetty Draper

    Lisa, so glad the report was good. I just went through some minor surgery for shutting down a vein in my leg in hopes it will ease the pain. When the body fails it’s a reminder of God promise to give me a new body someday, I only live in a temporary tent here and my stakes are planted very shallow. Well written and a great reminder of great truth.

  16. blankNancy Franson

    In the past couple of years, I’ve wrestled with emotional pain related to the mental and physiological pain of someone very dear to me. It has become so evident to me that God created us body, mind, and soul (almost Trinitarian, don’t you think?) and that when we are wounded in one area, it deeply affects the others.

    I think of those who suffer with deep emotional and/or physical brokenness who don’t know the hope of Christ for their souls. What easy prey they can become for the enemy!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I like your Trinitarian connection; yes, I believe so as well. All the parts of “self” are connected in more ways than we realize, and when one part hurts, it flows over into others. Same as between people, which you’ve been experiencing.

      But I am also thankful that we do have the hope of Christ for full restoration of all the pieces of us! I know the work has already begun.

      Sayings a prayer for the one dear to you who has suffered and for your own suffering because of it….

  17. blankMindy

    Oh for His voice to always be loudest and for us to always listen – even through the pain. Thankful He speaks to us in all seasons of life, comforts us and brings peace, fills us with grace to see us through. Thank you for your words…

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I was just talking with my brother yesterday about how God’s grace is always bigger than whatever we are going through. He can’t and won’t be outdone! That brings me peace. Thanks for stopping by, Mindy.

  18. blankPamela

    How i want God to protect my soul from my body. It’s been a summer of physical trauma for me–falling twice, double eye infections with the antibiotic giving me other infections all on top of the fibro pain. BUT GOD! Because through it all God has blessed and encouraged and distracted and giving me joy! So thankful for you good report.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Wow. You’ve had more than your fair share of pain this summer, Pamela. I’m glad you were given and received grace through it all.

      The only negative about receiving my good report is they still haven’t diagnosed what’s wrong. But even ruling out something is positive information so I’m thankful for that. (If it ends up being fibro, I may contact you and a few others I know who deal with that….)

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