Recently, the Lord has been speaking to me about pain (everyone’s favorite topic, right?). The way I see it, there are two main types of pain: there is “good” pain (e.g. pain we feel from a good work out, etc.) and “bad” pain (e.g. pain of a torn muscle, broken ankle, etc.) In part 1, my focus was “bad” pain, but in this post, we’re going to explore “good” pain.
If the purpose of “bad pain” is to give me a signal that something is wrong, what is the purpose of “good pain”?
It’s a signal that something is growing.
Ugh. As I mentioned extensively in the last post, I don’t like pain. I avoid it like the plague if I can. Yet if we want to grow, pain is often unavoidable. At the beginning of this year, the Lord asked me, “Are you committed to your growth in this season?” I paused, a little cautious about jumping right in with a “Yes”. He spoke again, “I am fully committed, but are you?” I paused again, a little leery. I thought, “Uh oh. I’m not going to like this, am I? . . . but . . . yes. I’m committed.”
As the Lord has been talking to me about pain, I was reminded of that conversation with the Lord. He knows I don’t like pain, that I naturally shy away from it. Yet He also knows that sometimes it is necessary and beneficial to me if I want to grow.
In our physical bodies, when we want to build our muscles up, we work out, usually doing some sort of resistance training. During this training, our muscles develop “”tiny tears”; these tears aid in the building up of our muscles as they heal (Klein). The pain or soreness we feel following a good work out is normal and due to this process taking place.
In the same way, when we want to grow beyond our current capacity spiritually, it means pushing against our current limitations: mindsets that hold us back, fears, insecurities, etc. It’s comfortable in my little box. I know what to expect. But there’s no room for growth there. So I have to step out—and that is uncomfortable, sometimes downright painful. I don’t like pushing past my own resistance to change. But it’s for my good. It’s because the Lord wants me to thrive that He asks me to move beyond my comfort zone.
In this season of growth (and growing pains!), one thing that the Lord has asked of me, (and this is a hard one!) is to manage my expectations. I dread change; I drag my feet and whine internally when it’s time for change. One day a few months back, Papa God said to me, “What you will experience in this season and what you will feel when you look back on this season in the future (regret, frustration, and wishing to forget or fond memories, accomplishment, joy, etc.) is largely connected and tied to your expectations of this season.” Whoah. That one hit me like a load of bricks. When my expectation and my focus is on the negative, I can miss out on the positive aspects of the experience and what God is wanting to do through it. And I don’t want to miss a thing.
Ultimately, all pain has a purpose in my life, and it’s always to move me forward into His best for me. If there is pain in my life that is destructive and harmful, He desires to reveal it so that He can heal it. Other times, He allows the pain of growth to move me into the next season of my life and ministry. His heart toward me (and you!) is good. We can trust Him.
So here’s to moving forward with a hopeful expectation of good. Here’s to adding my “yes and amen” to all the promises of God for this season. And here’s to allowing pain to do its work in my life.
Klein, Sarah. “This is What Happens to Your Body When You Exercise.” huffingtonpost.com. HuffPost. 4 Sept. 2013. Web.