Three levels of pain

I hope you’ve been reading this, thinking about how it applies to you and posting your comments. I’d like to continue sharing with you today about the Pain Threshold. I believe there are three levels of pain:

1) My pain (my personal hurts)

2) Other’s pain (the hurts of friends, family, coworkers, etc.)

3) Organizational and corporate pain (the weight of being the one in charge of the whole kit-n’-caboodle)

I know for myself, how well I handle my own pain is a direct reflection of how well I can help others through their pain. Let me share some of my own experience since, after all, this blog is called Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife. In my role as co-pastor I share in the pain of others as well as the organization pain related to birthing a church. In order to help others through their pains, I need to be able to handle my own personal pain effectively.

This can be compared to the skills of a great doctor. Sometimes doctors see death and pain, but they have to hold it together for the loved one who is in the waiting room. They can’t simply fall apart and become an emotional wreck, but they also can’t become calloused and no longer feel the hurt because then they can’t empathize and connect with others. Just as with a doctor, there is a balance we must achieve in handling pain so we can connect with people in an authentic way.

I wish I could tell you that I always strike just the right balance, but I don’t. This is still something I struggle with and I know that how well I handle my own personal pain is a gauge to how well I will handle other people’s pain. If I fall apart when something happens to me, I will fall apart when something happens to someone else. How I handle my individual pain is an indicator of how well I will handle the corporate pains that come along with birthing an organization such as the church my husband and I founded. The higher up that leadership ladder you climb, the more responsibility you carry. This is similar to having children. You will always bear greater weight of concern and responsibility for your kids than someone else even if they love them to pieces. They are your kids. You know what it was like to give birth to them! It is the same for those of us who have started ministries or businesses from scratch. We’ve got the stretch marks to prove it!

Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about where you are on the pain scale.


~ by pennymaxwell on November 29, 2007.

3 Responses to “Three levels of pain”

  1. Very good insights that are born from experience. This is “practical ministry” stuff at the core. Similar to having your own baby, I guess some of these things can only truly be learned by experience.

  2. Oh, yeah, while you are preparing… I have a question, “How do you increase your pain tolerance? And how do you gird yourself back up after you failed?

  3. oops, Didn’t realize that Nathan beat me to that question! Anyway..have I told you that…
    you + blog = awesome!

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