Usually when we experience pain, we immediately begin looking for a way to escape it. A child will hold up a scratched leg or finger for a kiss to make it better. A woman tormented during her “time of the month” will immediately reach for the pain meds, hot water bottle, and anything else to ease the pain. A man or woman with a broken heart looks to any number of “salves” and “remedies” (shopping, eating, promiscuity, over-working, gambling, etc.) to mend that pain. Oftentimes we view our pain as something bad and something that needs to be avoided at all costs.
Today, I am still reeling from a deep heart wound that was created two weeks ago. The pain and accompanying tears have been some of the worst I’ve ever experienced, and I have grieved daily since that particular event. Although there is still pain and grief, there is something else in my heart and head which has resulted in an entirely new outlook for me.
We all know that working hard at school, a job, a relationship, a project, a healthy diet or exercise routine, or anything else requires sacrifice – NO PAIN NO GAIN as we like to say. Here is what I have learned, and want to share with you beloved reader: pain does not automatically result in gain. We have to purposely and decisively use our pain, much like one would use a hammer, a knife, or a drill. When we view our pain as a tool, we are then able to determine if our pain will help us grow, or make us slow. We can use our pain to help us learn, or make us burn. Just as a hammer can be used to hurt or help, and a knife can be used for good or bad, so too can we use our pain to elevate us or desecrate us. I have decided to use this pain I am experiencing as an opportunity to extend sympathy and grace. Also, the painful situation will make interesting subject matter for my next book, Golden Lives (shameless plug).
The next time you experience pain of any type, I encourage you to not be as quick to try to escape it, as you are to embrace it. Try to look at that painful experience as a tool you can use to construct a foundation from which you will benefit, grow, and learn. If pain is a hammer, choose to use it as a tool in the construction of a better you, instead of using that hammer to smash and shatter you on the inside.
NO PAIN NO PAIN? Only if you so decide!