Pain sucks. It’s excruciating and difficult and it HURTS and I hate it.
And it’s beneficial. What a jerk.
I don’t want to have to acknowledge the good parts of pain. In the last three years especially, my life has exploded in pain more times than I can count. My health, wealth, family, and self have all been torn apart in some form or other.
But you know what? It’s made me more determined than ever to live my life to the fullest (because I’m a stubborn mule). I have a life! I refuse to sit in my suffering and pour pain like gravy on my own head.
I want joy. I want new experiences. I want to reach out of my pain and connect with other people. I don’t want pain to tell me what to do. In some things I may be limited, but I want to go out and do the things I CAN.
Pain is not always the same. You know this: there are good days and bad days, bad things in good days, and good things in bad days.
If you are suffering right now, things will change. I’m not gonna candy-coat it and say things will be better. But it will be different. The pain you are in right now won’t always be the same.
There have been many times when this sentence has been a literal lifeline to me: things will change. I know it’s true because that’s part of the definition of life: whether on the atomic or cellular level or above, life IS change. So your pain will change, too. You’re not stuck.
And there are some good things that come out of pain. Things I aspire to. Patience, peace, joy, kindness, perseverance, compassion, self-control. Hope.
I feel like the more pain a person experiences, the greater their capacity for these good things.
Not that they’re necessarily happening right now in your life, but I think that when pain hollows you out, you can choose what goes back in. You may not choose perfectly, and that’s okay. We’re all trying to pick the right things! Just keep trying, keep experimenting, keep going.
And, even though it’s counterintuitive, I love this passage in the Bible about rejoicing in suffering and how it leads to hope. It’s in the letter to the Romans, chapter 5, verses 3-5 (shorthand = Romans 5:3-5). I linked the whole chapter so you can see context if you’d like. It’s complicated, but rewarding to think about.
Keep adding to your life, my friend. Things will change.
Oh, one more bit of encouragement before I go: You have worth. Even if you don’t believe this about yourself, please know that I believe it about you (and your life) with my whole heart.