(*The song that I've chosen to write about in this post is a song that grapples with loss and contains some provocative content in reference to the way one artist has chosen to deal with her pain. I am in no way seeking to promote the kind of destructive behaviors she sings about, and I would suggest that the song does not allow us to come to the conclusion that any of these behaviors are effective in dealing with emotional pain. If you are unfamiliar with the song and may find those things offensive or unhelpful, I suggest you refrain from listening to it and especially from watching the official music video. However, I empathize with the struggle this woman describes in dealing with heartache, and I think there might be something to learn from considering the ineffective methods we tend to use to deal with our pain.)
Over the past few years, I've come to the realization that I'm not very good at dealing with pain. Not physical pain. The deeper kind. The pain of the soul.
I think that's probably why the song Habits (Stay High) by Tove Lo resonated with me from the very first time I heard it. And considering the widespread popularity of the song, it seems that it may have resonated with quite a few other people as well.
Throughout the song, she sings about the many ways she has tried and failed to forget the love that she has lost. She longs so desperately to escape the very memory of him, because of all the turmoil that losing him has caused her. But none of it ever works. No amount of sex, drugs, alcohol, or binge eating ever helps her to truly feel better.
And it makes me wonder if perhaps none of us are really that effective in dealing with our heartaches...
At the end of the day, I think our drug of choice is typically novocaine. We don't know how to find true healing, and so we try to find a way to become numb, to forget that we're hurting. Or if we do know where true healing is found, something else always seems to look better in the moment. So we reach for the novocaine.
Now of course you won't find any of us raiding our dentist offices. We all have our own personal forms of this numbing drug - whatever we think will help take our minds off the pain that we're experiencing - whatever we can find that will help us deny the fact that we're not actually ok on the inside.
For me, it's things like:
Seeing good pictures of myself
Getting likes on Facebook
Listening to music
It's not that these things are bad in and of themselves. But I use them to distract me - to cover up the hurt. They're my novocaine.
And the sad part is, I am completely aware that these things won't really help. Even as I am choosing them, I know that they cannot and will not heal me for real. But I like the temporary high they give me. I like that they make me feel better for a little while. But like any addiction, I just want more and more.
The truth is, what I really should do is turn away from those things and turn to Jesus.
Because novocaine can never heal the soul. It can only make it numb. But the soul needs water. The soul needs bread. And these are the very things that Jesus offers us so that our souls might LIVE!
"Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14)
"Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'" (John 6:35)
But Jesus is more than that. He is a man who is acquainted with our grief. He knows our pain. He even bears our scars. Scars from the wrongs done to us, scars from the sheer brokenness of this world, and even the scars of the pain we've brought upon ourselves. He bears them all. And He alone can make it right.
I cannot claim to fully understand how the healing process works, but I do know that Jesus is the only place to start. From beginning to end, Jesus is the only answer for the healing of our hearts. We won't experience the full restoration that we long for until Heaven, but for now, we can always look to Him.
"Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5)
It seems so counterintuitive to believe that another man's suffering could restore our souls, but that's the only solution to our problem. We need someone else to carry our sin and sorrow on our behalf, and that's what Jesus has done. During His time on earth and especially on the cross, He faced the terrors of every horrible thing we would ever have to encounter and worse. Real healing comes when we choose to believe that. By His wounds, we are healed!
It's really that simple. It's just hard to remember. And hard to choose to believe at times.
But the truth remains - His wounds are the only thing that can heal mine.
So why settle for novocaine? Why settle for numbness when we could have LIFE?
As we look to the man whose wounds heal our own, Loving Him is Red!
What things do you use as your personal form of novocaine?
What would it look like to turn away from those things and turn to Jesus instead?