Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Don't Avoid All The Pain in Life . . . It Can Serve a Purpose

I recently endured two somewhat painful procedures. One was to remove some melanoma from my scalp. The second was to have a wisdom tooth extracted. While not equal to that of childbirth (though at times I wondered), each event resulted in some significant pain that I would have rather skipped, thank you.

However, both doctors involved reminded me right up front that to avoid this pain meant that I would likely incur far greater hurt, discomfort or, in the case of the melanoma, even death later on. And when my doctor uses the word fatal in one of our discussions I listen!

I know that at other times in life I've also wished I could have avoided all sorts of relational or emotional pain as well. Struggles with family, friends, coworkers, for example. Difficult situations with my children or a close acquaintance have all brought their share of pain.

And while there is nothing wrong with trying to lower our pain at times, like taking medication for a migraine, we need to sometimes embrace and accept some of our less controllable pain as potentially helpful and able to make us grow beyond where we might have gone without it. Why?

Pain helps us understand the pain of others better.  So often we're called on to be there for someone else and many times we really don't know what they're going through. As a result we say too much, do unhelpful things and trivialize their struggle.

Pain can teach us to receive help from others.  When my wife Jackie went through her cancer we received food, rides and many other gracious touches that we were almost embarrassed to need. But our weakness actually gave other people the opportunity to be blessed and to serve us. Our humility grew.

Pain can remind us that we often put too much worth on our comforts and easy lifestyles.  As a result we get inward-focused, we leave God and faith out of our life for the most part and miss seeing the needs of others around us.

So while I hope you can find some relief for your current challenges, I also encourage you to use these times for good - to open your eyes, give you new appreciation for what you have and to be a better friend and companion. Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.  Tim Hansel

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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