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Oh how we are creatures of comfort! We will gravitate towards anything in life that creates the most comfort for us. We often call this the path of least resistance….. but what if resistance is good for us? What if the pain of the pushback is actually for our good? Now I personally don’t know many people who willingly choose paths that are knowingly painful. Most of us would think those people are flat out stupid. Not only would we think they are stupid we would tell them: “you are stupid!” Don’t get me wrong there are some willful choices that are stupid and should be avoided, but what if the willful choice is advantageous? Where the course leads to progress in many necessary areas, but the pain that it requires looks ridiculously un-comprehensible.
I often reflect on the many refugee stories of people fleeing on foot to cross into new territory that is hopefully an escape from their present dire situation. The pain that they must currently be going through, along with the pain of the journey to the new land and the pain of adjusting to this new place that is foreign to them seems like an endless life of pain. This past, present, future reality of pain is not relegated to just someone like a refugee but it is relevant to all of us. Every single human being. Pain is unavoidable. In fact, the longer I live the more I believe that pain should be an expected part of the process. The life process that is. Whatever beliefs you have in life – pain is no respecter of persons. Pain is universally recognized and acknowledged. Pain has been around since the beginning of time. So why do we think that we won’t experience pain? Why are we so shocked when we go through a painful situation? Why does the pain of life cause us to believe we are on the wrong path or making the wrong choices?
While I do believe pain is a trigger that alerts us of when there is something we need to pay attention to or to something that is in duress. I also believe pain is an external and internal agent that forces us to accept or reject transformational change in our lives. Meaning when the pain comes we have a choice of whether we will use that pain towards our personal growth or against it. We can either have the perspective of using it to benefit our maturation or we can play the victim and blame shift the externals. As long as you are breathing- pain is a guarantee. Whether that be physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Expect the pain. We have to stop going through life blissfully ignorant and un-expectant to upcoming pains. Not that we should live a life of cynicism or pessimism, but we should have a healthy view of the current reality of pain and it’s future promise (here on this side of life).
This is where I transition to the promise of the faith that I ascribe to. I thank God for the promise that through this pain of life that I have been given (through faith) a Helper. A Helper who empowers me and guides me to journey through the painful life situations with wisdom and discernment for what the situation is and joy to not allow the painful circumstance to cause me to stay stagnant in bitterness, anger or resentment. I can still make decisions in life knowing that as long as it involves humans there will be a level of pain that I will have to navigate. But that I can not dread those interactions and question my decisions to the degree of whether or not I need to be there. To understand what I am referring to, I will take the practical example of working a job.
First, I don’t know many people who like working a job or “working for someone else.” It is painful. The many things you have to endure with personalities, job requirements, and policies are just oftentimes flat out painful! So knowing this we can have a realistic view that finding a pain-free job is just not possible. Are there some jobs that are more enjoyable than others – absolutely. But what I’m referring to is the thought process behind questioning why your new job is painful or why every job or position you take still isn’t “it.” This is the guaranteed pain that I’m referring to. Having an understanding that no matter where you go or what you do there will always be a level of painful and unpleasant experiences that you will have to endure/navigate. So by changing your perspective it can quite possibly help you to endure those difficulties more victoriously.
Quit looking for the escape. Instead look for the ways to empower yourself through the treacherous path. I remember hearing a famous Christian speaker say “Paul rarely prayed for God to change his circumstances, instead Paul prayed for God to change him in his circumstances.” Oh what a shift in mindset! To understand that there is no such thing as a pain-free happy life and to ask for God to help us through the pain instead of trying to escape the pain. What a inner transformation this can be for us!
Finally, having a “this to shall pass” mentality will help you to not feel downtrodden/entangled and push through your current painful situation. Knowing that the pain of the present will not endure forever. Even if it lasts your entire lifetime. That still isn’t forever, because guess what beloved – we still have eternity on the other side that awaits us! And for believers in the truth of Christ we have a promise that tells us our tears will be no more and our pain will be no more.