Pain Points

True love is when he buys you an acupressure mat. Mine was black with gold trim, and came with a promise: He would attend to my hurting back in solidarity. Together, we would find relief, in 30-second increments of pain tolerance.

And so, this is where I recently found myself—lying on my new, spiked mat on the one-year anniversary of an epic trip to Kenya. Not coincidentally, “Way Maker” was on repeat, the only worship song I’ve played this year, since first hearing it on that trip. While listening to the music and feeling the blood finally circulate to my back, I begged God to make sense of a narrative I no longer viewed as truth, though I still suffered from its rule over my life. My experience in Nairobi had started the dislodging, yet I remained tethered. I hadn’t been able to figure it out.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve done a bit of story work. Often, we’ve begun to name the shaping events in our narrative; we have come to see the significant characters, setting, and time period that still hold a place in our present reality. In fact, this is usually where we start—in the present. With just a little awareness, we see our patterns of relating, defenses, and sensitivities. And, if there are steps to this process at all, that is step one: An awareness that our present manner of living is no longer working for us, and a recognition that there’s probably a reason why.

In one hand, we hold a sense of our current pain point. In the other, we hold the story of where it was birthed. Many of us have named those two things, assuming that in the naming, we’ll experience some aspect of freedom and release. After all, they are weighty and we are weary. But we often find that it’s not enough. It’s not enough to know about the stories that have shaped our life; we must explore our unique experience in them.

Stories themselves are external—the shaping elements done to us. But when we pair with them the interpretations we made about those stories, then we have a vow. Good story work is the search for that vow—the result of our childlike interpretation of an event that is fused with evil’s intent to mar our glory.

The narrative we end up living makes what we hold in our hands so, so heavy.

We usually need help with this part, which is how I found myself asking God to show me what vow I made to result in my current pain point, based on the story I remembered.

Lying on my mat, seeking answers to a narrative that had become too heavy to carry, brought the metaphor alive. Sometimes the way through is painful—both for my back to feel better and for me to ReStory™ the vow I made. And, as with the promise to help my back feel better, painful methods and all, my husband helped me explore an equally painful narrative, and to search for and then see it through God’s eyes. Not fully a do-over, but an alternate interpretation.

Really, it’s just the gospel, isn’t it? God created us in his image and yet, something happened to make us believe otherwise. He’s not good, we’re not good, the world is not good. We listen and then believe an alternate version, until we experience his redeeming love. And sometimes, sometimes it feels like we’re lying on a spiked mat. Restorying is not easy, but it always brings forth life.

You are
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God, that is who You are
You are
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God, that is who You are*
* Way Maker By Osinachi Okoro
Copyright Capitol Cmg Publishing

Beth Bruno lives in Colorado where she and her husband lead a team of ReStory™ experts at Restoration Counseling Center. Additionally, as a podcaster, author, and content strategist, Beth guides women to raise fierce and lovely teen girls. When she’s not creating something new, she and her family enjoy the mountains, traveling, and good food.