Pain has a disorienting effect on just about everything, doesn’t it?
Take, for instance, the misfortune of a chronic illness. You face the double whammy of physical discomfort coupled with the realization that you might not be able to do your job or pursue your career in the same way anymore. “Now what?” might be the question that begins to dog you. If the pain is emotional, arising out of anxiety or depression or some other mental struggle, it can dull your dreams and leave you with a very foggy future. And if your pain is relational, coming from a breaking or broken relationship, the journey before you may hold no promise.
Pain of this kind can be so ego deflating that it makes us doubt ourselves and our abilities. Pain of this magnitude can leave us stuck…immobilized.
If that’s where you are, I am so sorry. I wish you well, for healing and a return to joy. But I would like to propose that this painful “stuckness” could be the start of a new journey, a necessary life adjustment that could kick off the most important years of your life.
Pain can reveal your calling.
It can do this in several important ways. First, pain can act like a filter that sifts out the extraneous aspects of your life. Pain can remind you what is really important and help you set aside nominal pursuits for your greater purpose.
Pain also can make you qualified to guide others who are experiencing the same kind of discomfort but are not as far down the road as you. Tanisha comes to mind. (You’ll meet her soon – she’s our newest Destinyworks team member!) Tanisha lost her husband more than 10 years ago when they were both very young. Through her pain she is becoming a powerful spokesperson for widows in midlife. She is sought out for her wisdom and encouragement.
Finally, pain, if you let it, can develop in you a sense of invincibility. “What more can life do to me? I’m going for it!” It’s a part of the classic hero’s journey. The hero falls and nearly expires only to rise resolute with steel in their eyes. Suffering people can become powerful people with nothing to lose…people with a sense of destiny!
Again, if you are in the throes of pain, I am so sorry. My heart hurts for you. But may I lift your head a bit? May I gently grab your shoulders and turn you to the road ahead? That road is full of possibilities…new dreams, a new purpose, and a destiny that can change the lives of many.
“Be patient and tough. Someday this pain will be useful to you.”1st Century Roman poet Ovid