Suffering

Suffering

Blog – 7-14-17

You may notice that I’m a little late with my blog this week. I apologize, but I’m in Nashville and my schedule has been nonstop. Lots of great things happening, but I just haven’t had time to get to this blog. Thanks for your grace!

My co-writer on the Twelve project, Rachel Barrentine, and I are attending the Celebrate Recovery Summit here in Nashville. We are trying to get the word out about our new project, and we’ve had a chance to get it in the hands of the top people in the program. If you would offer up a few prayers (or lots of them!) that Saddleback Church, who is behind the CR program, would endorse the project and add it to their tools, that would be awesome!

Every speaker has been wonderful and incredibly inspiring, but our last speaker today was over the top. It was one of my favorite authors, Dr. Henry Cloud. He is a psychologist who is not only a very gifted writer but a very engaging speaker. He infuses tons of humor into his speaking, which was a perfect way to end a long day.

He was talking about a subject, however, that doesn’t sound very fun, pain. He said there’s pain that goes nowhere except into more pain, and he contrasted that with suffering that keeps us from sin and delivers us into joy.

How can that be, you may be asking?

Think of this illustration. If you are suffering from a cavity, you can choose to ignore it and let it go. You can endure the pain, put up with it, tough it out, but it’s just going to keep getting worse and never go away.

If you go to the dentist, you are going to have to suffer a bit as they take care of the cavity, but the pain that you feel is going to lead to healing and joy that the pain is over.

He encouraged us to lean into the struggle so we can resolve the pain in our lives.

Truth is, we all have pain in our lives. We all have disappointments and trials every single day. We can choose to avoid them, try to cover them up with addiction, anger, overeating, control, busyness, whatever our “go to” behavior is. We can go to great lengths to try to avoid our pain, but it never really goes away on its own.

When we chose instead to lean into the struggle, to let ourselves feel the pain, that’s when we can get on the road to freedom. It’s such a paradox, but the path to a stronger, healthier life is when we are weak and vulnerable.

Take, for instance, a conflict we have with a friend where we are feeling a lot of pain from our feelings getting hurt. Sitting and stewing in that pain is not going to take us anywhere.

If we are willing to lean into the suffering and go to that person and share our pain, talk “through” the situation instead of talking “about” the person to our other friends and gossiping, that can lead to restoration and joy. It may be a really hard conversation to have, but it will be worth it.

When we say, “God, I give up. I need your help. I am powerless,” that’s when the power of God pours into us. That’s when the healing hand of God can do the work He’s been waiting to do. When we agree to lean into the suffering, stare our hurts right in the face, don’t retreat into old, familiar sinful habits, that’s when God can reveal a better way to us.

It may not sound very inviting at first, but think about it a minute and consider leaning into your struggles so you can find healing and joy.

Hugs and love, Jill

#sufferingblessed

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