How can pain be a good thing?

No pain, no gain.

“Let this endurance complete its work, so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking nothing” James 1:4

A few years ago, I joined the gym. I wanted to get my body back into shape after giving birth to my son. I had never been to a gym before, and I had no idea what I was doing. I had an appointment with a personal trainer when I first joined the gym and she asked me what I wanted to achieve. I told her I wanted to strengthen my body and my mind. To be honest with you, I didn’t feel strong when I walked into the gym that day, but I was prepared to do whatever I needed to work towards getting my body into a healthy, strong position. The personal trainer showed me around the gym and showed me how to use the machines and showed me how to do some weightlifting exercises that would build strength. The first time I went to the gym on my own and tried some of the weights and machines, I struggled to lift them and the next day I felt so sore all over my body. The next week I went to the gym and tried the same thing and came home feeling sore and my body was in PAIN!

I had to push past the pain and continue to go to the gym, because I had a goal of becoming stronger and I know that in order to do that, I needed to keep up the exercise. It took a few weeks before my body got used to doing the weights, and I didn’t feel sore after being at the gym. A few months later I was able to start lifting more weights, and started to feel stronger. Every time I increased the weights, I would feel sore, and it was a positive reminder that I was getting fitter and stronger. If I had given up on the gym after my first time there, because of the pain I felt, I wouldn’t have reached my goal.

Most of us love to live a life of ease and being comfortable. 

We like food that tastes good, we like our houses to be warm in winter, and cool in summer. We like to get along with the people we work with, have peace in our relationships, and we like it when things are easy!

The problem with this is that if we don’t ever experience any pain, suffering, opposition, we can build shallow lives, and when we do face something that is difficult, we don’t have the tools, skills and maturity to work through it.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Heavenward, in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:14

So, why do we need to learn to embrace the pain of growth, change and transformation?

Changing your perspective on pain can be something that will significantly change the way you face anything in your life.

There are going to be many opportunities for you throughout your life to grow, learn something new, build strength, character and depth. If you start to view any obstacles you face as an opportunity to grow, then the pain of the situation has a purpose.

God has a purpose and a plan for your life. He has a job and an assignment for you to complete. He made you specifically with your personality, your gifts and talents to achieve the purpose and plan he has marked out for you. He love everything about you; and he created you so that you could give glory to him and to help others.

God uses all our circumstances to help us mature, grow closer to him, and gives us a testimony to be able to help others. 

You need challenges, trials and struggles to help you become the person God wants you to be, so you can step into your life assignment with all of the skills, life experience, depth, strengths and courage you are going to need.

Have you ever met someone who has had a tough life and the moment you start talking to them, they will tell you all about it? They can recall every detail of all the difficult things they have been through and you can hear the pain in their story as they tell you how unfair things have been. Now, I understand that we have all faced things that are difficult, but I believe God wants us to use the pain that we experience in every situation to help us to grow closer to him, to grow in our compassion towards others, to build resilience, strength and courage so we can conquer even bigger mountains and reach back to help others. The problem with holding onto pain and the past is it takes up all our energy looking back, not looking forward. People get stuck in painful moments in their lives and camp out there. They don’t realize that they are wasting their mental energy on the past when they could be using their energy on focusing on the life they have now and the future that they have ahead of them. The key is to face these painful moments, and deal with them, allow God to heal us, and take time to forgive and let go of what is causing pain. When we allow God to come and do a work in us while we are facing pain, he brings restoration and wholeness to us. He wants to bring us through these painful moments, and for us to use them as a testimony of his faithfulness, grace, love, and his healing power.

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” Romans 5:3-5

Are you in pain right now? Do you have a situation in your life that is difficult and hard to navigate?

How can you allow the pain that you are experiencing to produce strength, endurance, and courage?

What does God want to do in your life, through what you are facing? Does God want to teach you how to forgive someone who has hurt you? Does God want to build your dependence on him? Does God want you to grow in your faith and trust in him?

How do we face pain with a positive mindset?

If you look back at your life, you will be able to see all the times that God has healed you, provided for you, taken care of you, protected you, lead you and blessed you. There will probably be many moments of pain that you experienced that you pushed through, to become who you are today. One day you will look back on what you are facing now and see what God was doing, what he was teaching you, and how you grew personally and spiritually because of the pain.

If you face any situation, trial, problem, hardship with a positive mindset that you could learn something new, to grow in a new skill or develop more strength and resilience, it will help you overcome the challenges much quicker than if you continue to whinge, complain and talk about how hard it is.

A key part of being about to overcome challenges quickly is how to view and talk about them. 

Building the habit of self-control with the words we speak is a powerful lesson that is essential to learn. Have you ever been through something difficult before and it seemed to take over your life? You thought about it, your talked about it, and you spent your time, trying to fix it? Did it fix it or make it go away? No. Did you find the more you talked about it, the bigger the problem seemed to become? We don’t realize sometimes but our words have so much power, and it is essential that we are careful and exercise self-control with the words we speak about our situations. It’s a healthy thing to be able to share with a trusted friend about what you are going through, but it is more important that you go to God and pray about everything you are feeling, and experiencing and ask him for his wisdom on how to take your next steps forward. If you get caught up in talking about your challenges, they will take up a lot of your time. Learning the habit of praying about everything and being careful about what we talk about can significantly change the way we face pain, and difficult moments in life.

God wants you to live a life of purpose and achieve the plans and dreams he has for you.

 For you to do this, God needs to build endurance, perseverance, patience, grace, strength, depth of faith, character, and resilience in you. Everything you face has the opportunity to help you grow. The pain that you face during trials can help you mature, grow in compassion towards others, and bring you closer to God.

I want to encourage you, that next time you are facing something that is painful, stop and pray. Ask God what he wants to do in the situation. Ask him to show you what your next step is. Find verses in the Bible that apply to your situation and think about them. How can you grow through this trial? What is it that God wants to do in your life during this time? God loves you and has a great plan for your life, and he will take you through every season, and be there with you as you face it.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11

God has healing for your pain, purpose for the trial, and strength for your weakness.