By Curtis Simmons

The Power of Naming Your (Online Giving) Pains

Did you know that in medicine and psychology, naming your pain can help with pain management and emotional healing?

On her blog, Dr. YaLing J. Liou states that “People who make a habit of “toughing it out” in the face of pain actually lose their language for pain.” She goes on to ask, “How can you forge ahead successfully towards a cause – in this case, eliminating your pain – if you don’t even have a name for it?”

What if this strategy is true for other types of pain – like the pain churches feel when giving declines?

3 Pain Mindsets That Lead to “Healing”

The approach you take to pain and pain relief has an impact on your results. Dr. Liou’s advice applies to every kind of challenge that causes pain.

1. Stop trying to explain away the pain.

If a sentence starts with “just,” then you’re minimizing the impact of the pain and essentially suggesting that it shouldn’t bother you.

“It’s just a cold” implies that colds aren’t miserable and severe, that you shouldn’t need help, sympathy or time off from work. It also rules out other possible complications. Similarly for giving challenges, saying “It’s just the pandemic or [insert other supposed cause]” keeps you from considering unexplored factors that could be impacting your giving.

2. Recognize that pain is a doorway.

When the cause of pain isn’t immediately obvious, there’s an underlying dysfunction. Meaning: you can’t see it. Pushing through or assuming it’s one thing when it’s really another means you continue having pain. Recognize that “pain is instructive,” Dr. Liou says. It’s a gift that drives us to look deeper, ask questions, abandon preconceived notions … and find solutions, whether it’s our health or our church’s giving challenges.

3. Seek expert guidance.

Whether you approach physical or emotional pain through licensed practitioners or through holistic self-care, you’re likely going to have to learn from someone who knows more about the body than you do. Finding the right guide, one whose approach aligns with your own, is the biggest challenge you face.

The same is true of online giving. Your expertise is in the area of ministry, not technology. So how do you know if the advice you’re getting is right?

Flat giving is painful, but how do you name the revenue you don’t even know you’ve missed out on, or the ways your givers haven’t been inspired?

We explored that idea in our new guide, Growing Pains: How to Get Unstuck and Unleash Generosity. It will give you a glimpse into an Executive Pastor’s search to root out the sources of his church’s giving status… and to name (and address) the pains his staff and givers were experiencing.

He was shocked; you might be, too.

Naming the pain(s) was the first step to healing it.