You have probably heard that “diamonds are created under pressure” or that pearls are formed due to an oyster’s response to a foreign object/irritant (usually a parasite) in its shell.
Beautiful things, rare things, valuable things are born of uncomfortable, painful situations and experiences.
This is a part of life. It often takes struggle, heartache, destruction, dysfunction and brokenness to mold or build something great, unique, amazing, new, life and world-changing.
Pain has definitely been a part of my life, especially in the last year. I’ve written this before, but between February and June of last year, one family member died each month (5 people!). I’ve been to two funerals this year so far, and in a few days I will be attending my third.
In the past 12 months, I’ve learned a long lesson on grief and the healing process. To say that I’m grieving is an understatement. Each time I must think, utter, or write the letters “RIP”, my soul aches, it folds into itself, and it reminds me that my healing is far from complete.
What this last loss has shown me again is the importance of treating every moment that I breathe and every day I awake as a gift. Life isn’t an experience I’m entitled to, or what’s owed to me, therefore I must do right by it.
But the question I keep asking myself is what does this mean? How can I use pain to do something, to change something, to make something better for not only me, but other people? How can I do anything when I’m still in pain and my soul throbs, and most times I literally don’t want to do anything, especially when I’m depressed?
What I do know is that the journey to learning, seeking and fulfilling my purpose through pain is a long process that might take weeks, months or years. The process is a part of the journey, so it isn’t to be rushed, nor should it be compared to other people’s journeys.
It is meant to be walked one moment, day and week at a time, and this is enough. The key is to keep going, and not give up on life.
Here are seven things I’ve learned about how I can use pain to become a better person, to make a difference in other people’s lives, to transform my grief, loss and heartache into something good, something beautiful.
- Pain allows us to connect with other people on a level and in ways that only people who have been through the same things will understand.
- Pain can make you vulnerable enough to share your pain with others, thus releasing it from your body, heart and soul. This also lets others know that they aren’t alone, and hopefully encourages them and you to keep going.
- Sometimes things in life come our way (cancer, illness, death, etc.) because we wouldn’t care about the issue(s) or how the issue(s) affect others otherwise. When you ignore or become judgmental about other people’s circumstances, that thing just might knock on your door. More than likely, since it’s personal, you will be vocal about it, you will want to discover a solution to the problem, you will want to do something. So before you ask “why me?” ask yourself these questions: “If it wasn’t happening to me, would I care? Would I empathize? Would I humanize the pain that others have and are experiencing?” (This was a revelation for me!)
- Pain can force you to extract the thoughts, beliefs and traits that no longer serve you and develop within you everything you need to become who God created you to be.
- Pain brings us closer to God as we realize that we aren’t in control of anything, but that in and through God we are always safe, regardless of how bad or painful life gets. God is holding us in His hands, and He always will, as long as we choose to stay there.
- Pain helps us to see the wounds we’re still carrying, and opens up the choice of starting the process of healing the wounds or building a wall to hide behind them.
- Pain is a reminder not to live your life dispassionately; to live intentionally, and to take no moment for granted.
Ultimately, pain leads us to our purpose by shaping us into the people we need to be to fulfill our destinies, connecting us with other people, and sparking a desire to make a difference in the world.
Here is my prayer for my times of mourning, when I don’t see the purpose in it all, and I invite you to pray it too!
Lord, encourage me to live on purpose, with the purpose, in the purpose that you have given to me! Show me your will and way, Lord. Lead and guide me every day. I welcome you into every moment, Lord. I will look and listen for you.
How has pain been a part of your life lately? What have you learned or are you learning through it?
Be loved. Love you. Be love.
*Photo Credit: CreateHER Stock