As you’ve walked through painful experiences, have you ever asked God, “What is the purpose to this pain?” There is an innate desire in us to know that the suffering will not be wasted, that the hurt is productive. The answer is yes.
Writing from our pain is not only an effective tool for processing our experiences, but also for transforming our suffering into an agent of encouragement and guidance for others.
Writing from Pain Accelerates the Healing Process
War produces death, fear and misery. Yet, in the case of the war in Afghanistan, it has also produced beautiful writing. When asked about the evocative and influential poetry and pose coming out of his country, one Afghan writer said,
In Afghanistan, we do not write for fun, passion, or money but to express the immeasurable pain inside. Maybe that’s how the actual writing is. There must be something discomforting to be disclosed. At least, that’s how we see it.
While most of us have not endured a decades-long war, many of us have walked through smaller personal tragedies. And at some point in the weeks or months after a difficult or traumatic event, it invariably happens. The right person, at the right time, asks you the right question: “Do you want to talk about it?” And then out it comes. The story, the emotions, the pain. While logic would tell us that a rehash of our suffering would increase our angst, we all know from experience what the Afghan writers know… that this disclosure is cathartic. It is for this reason that therapists’ couches across the country are full of those looking for healing through expression.
It is important to note that science confirms our anecdotal experience in this matter. In their book Opening Up by Writing it Down, Drs. Pennebaker and Smyth note the following:
Disclosure reduces the effects of stress. The act of disclosing a trauma reduces the physiological work of secrets. During disclosure, the biological stress of holding back is immediately reduced. Over time, if we continue to confront and thereby resolve our emotional upheavals, there will be a lowering of our overall stress level.
Disclosure forces a rethinking of events. Disclosing or confronting a trauma helps us understand and ultimately assimilate the event. By talking or writing about a secret experience, we are translating the event into language. Once it is language based, we can better understand the experience and ultimately put it behind us.
Writing from Pain Promotes Healing in Others
There is one phrase spoken during difficult times that can either draw you in or push you away: I know how you feel. When spoken by someone who has not walked in your shoes, this phrase can be difficult to hear. Yet when spoken by one who has experienced your pain, it can bring great relief. In fact, during periods of suffering, we often seek out those who truly know how we feel because their experiences and advice bring us comfort.
What if your writing could offer the same I’ve been there consolation for someone walking through similar struggles? Have you suffered a miscarriage? Death of a spouse? Have you experienced bankruptcy or a child who has walked away from the Lord? Writing about these experiences and the lessons you have learned offers an invaluable lifeline to others in the midst of similar painful experiences.
Perhaps the greatest example of writing from pain is the psalmist David. Whether he was being hunted by the King’s men or reeling from the death of his firstborn son, David poured out his grief through poetry and song. While this expression likely accelerated David’s own healing, his writing has also promoted healing in countless others who have often turned to the Psalms in times of their own suffering and distress.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps. Psalm 40:2
My heart is severely pained within me,
And the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.
Whether God has called you to write from a place of joy, peace or pain, at Certa Publishing, we strive to help authors answer that call and produce a book that is beautifully written, edited and printed so that it can reach those in need of its message.
Contact us today to start the process of becoming a published author!