Life is filled with ups and downs. The problem is that our human nature is always looking at how we can avoid pain or only experience profits. Well, that’s just not possible. We live in a broken world where it’s very obvious that nobody get’s to escape bad experiences. Some people try to avoid pain while others do everything in their power to live in the land of denial. Regardless of how you choose to approach life, pain is inevitable. As the saying goes:
Life’s difficulties do not allow us to stay the same. They move us – change us. The question is, in which direction will we be moved? The Bible says “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20
There are some people who naively believe that by virtue of being a Christian they are exempt from pain and therefore don’t need to follow doctors orders because God will spare them from illness or pain. They rationalize “God won’t let that happen to me.” This thinking is unbiblical, illogical and deeply flawed.
As television host and author Dennis Wholey observed, “Expecting the world to treat you fairly just because you’re a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to charge you because you’re a vegetarian.”
Learning how to gain from pain is essential for anyone who wants to grow deeper in Christlike character. Some people grow ugly, bitter and resentful. It’s an unfortunate choice… but please hear me- it’s a choice.
There are those who point to the painful times – the hard times in their life as the key points in their journey of spiritual growth. So how do you gain from pain?
- Get on your knees and pray: Pour out your heart and hurt to God. Tell Him your frustrations, heartache and anguish. Give yourself time to grieve. Don’t listen to those who say “You should be over this.” Some things, like trauma, take a long time to heal from – and everyones process is different. Please remember that we are always in the process of growing towards Christlike Character. Their is only one who knows what is best for you – the one who Created you. (Jeremiah 1:5)
- Choose to focus on your blessings: You can’t control what has happened to you, however you can control your attitude. You can choose to rise above your circumstances and refuse to allow negative experiences to undermine who you are and what you believe. This is why it’s so important that you begin everyday in the word of God.
- Learn the lesson: It’s always easier to see something positive in a painful experience long after it happens. My Mother always says “Hindsight brings Insight.” She’s right! Facing difficulties in life is inevitable. However learning from them is optional. If you don’t learn the lesson then read Proverbs 26:11 to see what God’s word says about you.
- Grow In Wisdom: There are some people who will continue to make the same mistake over and over again. They make poor choices, cause pain, and repeat the cycle. They never learn the lesson or grow in wisdom sometimes because there is someone interrupting the cycle (enabling) them, or they are stubbornly resistant to growth. We can call this pride, sin, or a bunch of other things depending on the situation, however the Bible refers to such people as fools. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel. A fool’s anger is known at once.” Proverbs 12:15. The wise man is one who self-examines and listens to counsel.
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Proverbs…
Better to live with the discomfort of self-discipline and reap positive rewards then live with the pain of regret, which can create a deep and continual ache within.
- Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life: Regardless of what you have gone through or what you are currently going through, you have the opportunity to grow from it. One of the most pervasive myths in the American culture today is that we are entitled to a great life – that somehow, somewhere, someone is responsible for filling our lives with continual happiness, an exciting career, nurturing family time and blissful personal relationships simply because we exist. That’s a big fat lie. If you want to be all that God desires for you to be, then you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life. This includes the level of your achievements, what you produce, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health, the cleanliness of your home, your physical fitness, your income, your debts, your feelings – everything.
Friends, many people have been conditioned to blame something outside of themselves for the parts of their life that they don’t like. They blame their parents, their bosses, their friends, the media, their coworkers, clients, spouses, the weather, astrological charts, lack of money, anything and everything that they can point a finger at. Yet the truth is that we never want to look at where the real problem is – ourselves.
Oh dear friends, this life is indeed so short. While none of us can control the seasons, circumstances or change the wind – we can choose to humbly admit to God that we need His help. With God, all things are possible!
May He turn your ashes into joy, and your hurts into hope.
Dr. Christy Demetriades