Paying Attention to Our Pain

Pay attention to your pain quote LAL

“Something is under the surface, can you feel it? You’ve sensed it many times, yet still don’t know what it is. You keep moving forward, keep staying busy, keep ignoring it, keep pretending everything’s fine. But it’s not. Something is unsettled inside but you’re too busy to feel it. It’s moments like this when addiction whispers messages like “escape there” and “run here.” And all of this is for what purpose? To keep running, keep escaping, keep distracting? This is the cycle of disconnection from self. For some, this pattern was learned at a very young age. For many, this pattern is instinctual.

Stopping and turning toward yourself, connecting with what is inside, and being kind toward whatever is hiding in the shadows of your soul requires great courage. This is scary, uncharted territory. Yet, for those who never take this risk, distraction becomes their drug of choice. Self-neglect and self- abandonment continue as the self-defeating norms.

Yet some of the most profound moments in life will be those times when you stop, see your pain, feel the surfacing emotions, and respond with care, compassion, and nurturance. This is tending to your wounds. This is attuning to the cries of your heart.”
-Life After Lust, pages 118-119

May we all pay attention to our pain.

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP, author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. Please follow Forest on the following platforms: NewsletterYoutubeBlogTwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, and SHARE this valuable content with others. Thank you!


We Won’t Numb to Pain

We Won’t Numb the Pain – Tenth Avenue North

“We’re taking paths of least resistance
And never feel our soul’s persistence
Turn on the radio
We don’t wanna know
Keep on running in cruise control

We were never meant to live like this
So much has happened and too easy to miss, yeah
Cheap thrills, social media pills, use sex like a drug and we can’t keep still

Distracted, distracted
Keep ourselves so distracted
We want more

We won’t numb the pain
Hands reaching to the sky
Hearts ready for the fire
Eyes open till we die

We won’t numb the pain
Slow down inside your life
Stand still against the tide
Keep fighting for the silence
We won’t numb the pain

I talk influence and being strategic
But all I’m feeling is narcissistic
Use recognition for the adrenaline
Don’t stop long enough to hear the disconnection

We were never meant to move like this
Stand up for anything and be dismissed
We don’t want it real, we keep it trivial
Objectified sex keeps us playing the field

We won’t numb the pain
Hands reaching to the sky
Hearts ready for the fire
Eyes open till we die

We won’t numb the pain
Slow down inside your life
Stand still against the tide
Keep fighting for the silence
We won’t numb the pain

We want the cure, not a medication
We’re gonna deal with it now
We want the cure, not a medication
We’re gonna deal with it now

We won’t numb the pain
Slow down inside your life
Stand still against the tide
Keep fighting for the silence
We won’t numb the pain

Gonna feel my,
Gonna feel my,
Gonna feel my heart now

Let me get a taste of your sweetness
Give me one glimpse of your lovely light
Lord, be my joy, treasure
My delight

Let me have a sense of your presence
May I trust your mercy all my life
I just wanna be a fire burning in the night

Fire, fire, fire, fire
Fire in my heart, fire in my soul
May the fire of your love burn away control
Satisfy my heart, cause I don’t wanna steal
Or give in to my lust just to feel”


The Transforming Embrace of Jesus

This year is nearing extinction. The last hours of 2014 are departing like visitors that have outstayed their welcome. In these diminishing moments, we often look back, look inward, and look forward. We remember and we expect.

When I ponder the past year, I recall both opportunities and disappointments. I am keenly aware of both imperfect instances and times of triumph. As I imagine ahead, there is an incalculable amount of issues worth improving in 2015. But when I quiet the voices of discontentment and tune into the lone song in my soul, only one change is required and desired. In this New Year, I yearn to experience the transforming embrace of Jesus.

Brennan Manning writes about this intimate experience in his precious book Abba’s Child. He highlights an experience when John, the “disciple Jesus loved”, was “reclining next to Jesus”, leaning back against his chest (John 13:23-25). What a picture of intimacy, security, belonging, and trust.

In light of this account, Manning shares that “until I lay my head on Jesus’ breast, listen to His heartbeat, and personally appropriate the Christ-experience of John’s eyewitness, I have only a derivative spirituality” (p 126). This experience with Jesus changes us. I long for that experience as this old year sets and the new one rises.

Manning chose to be embraced in his desperation. His account was this: “As the alcoholic fog lifted, I knew there was only one place to go. I sank down into the center of my soul, grew still, and listened to the Rabbi’s heartbeat” (p 133). We are invited to do the same; to “remain in His love” (John 15:9).

How beautiful it is that Jesus wants to interact with us in this way. He is not a distant Deity. He wishes to hold us. As the scriptures say, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (Isaiah 40:11).

This Divine embrace quiets, comforts, and changes us.

Changed in His Embrace

I wonder what would change this next year as I allowed myself to lavish in the Savior’s loving arms? I imagine Christ holding me in this way and the physical warmth of His chest beside my cheek melting into my spirit, dissolving my insecurities. Brennan points out that this disciple who was held by Jesus was the one who later penned the words “In love there can be no fear, but fear is driven out by perfect love” (1 John 4:18). His loving embrace dissolves fear.

Similarly, his hugs heal our pain. This interaction is illuminated in Brandon Hathaway’s powerful poem called “The Hug Poem”:

Count on countless siren songs this New Year. The competition for comfort outside of Christ is continuous. Where we choose comfort is where we connect. All the more reason to rest in our Source of strength instead the arms of the adulteresses of our day. Remember that “when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). In His infusing presence, we transcend our limitations, becoming someone we never were before. In other words, “The recovery of passion starts with reappraising the value of the treasure, continues with letting the Great Rabbi hold us against His heart, and comes to fruition in a personal transformation of which we will not even be aware” (Manning, p 133).

In 2015, may we experience the embrace that dispels despair and pacifies pain. May we rest in our Abba’s assurance. May we hear His heartbeat and may unprecedented transformation result simply because we have been with Jesus.

“In the arms of Jesus, I will find my peace and rest
I hear Him calling, come to me and rest
Carried by my Shepherd, cradled tightly to His chest
There and there alone, my soul finds rest
So I will rest in the shelter of my Savior’s embrace
Hidden safely in the refuge of His mercy and His Grace
And I will sing hallelujah to the One who sets me free
And you will find me in the arms of Jesus”

– Steven Curtis Chapman

Wishing all of you a New Year of transformation! I wholeheartedly appreciate all of you who read my articles and share them with others.


Forest Benedict

Additional articles referring to Brennan Manning: The Incomplete Christian Life, Prayer of a Fatherless Father, and Accepting Abba’s Affection

For future articles and inspiration, please follow my blog and “like” my Facebook page (and share with others). Thanks!

A Poem of Pain

Writing is God’s gift to me. It has proven to be a tool through which I have found meaning. Wielding words, I have processed pain and calmed chaos within. This poem I wrote in 2008 reveals this very experience. In a raw and revealing fashion, it wraps words around writhing loneliness and hurt. It subtly speaks volumes. It is real. I thank God for the great gift of writing that blesses my soul. May others forage meaning here too.

The Path of Pain

Peering through the underbrush

The bushes moist with dew

My eyes review a lonesome camp

And note the solitude

“Papa, are you down there?”

My quivering question looms

I walk down the buried path

His death my heart assumes

Strewn across a clearing’s floor

The shrapnel of dad’s disease

Can a hundred Buds so satisfy

Or only the first drink?

Silence is a peeler

Against my soul’s soft skin

Seconds slide, I bleed the pain

That seeps from missing him

Hope evolves to anger

Questions maul my mind

Branded by my loathing love

By which I am defined.

(Forest Benedict, 2008)

*Note: The story did not end here. Read “Prayer of a Fatherless Father” to learn more about the healing journey.

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