I don’t know about you, but from little on I’ve been conditioned to avoid pain…of all sorts. Don’t jump off that rock, you’ll hurt yourself. Don’t run, you’ll fall. Don’t tell someone how you feel about them, they’ll reject you. Don’t make that risky career move, you’ll fail & be poor. Do anything you can to avoid pain.
But the rule of life is we can’t completely avoid pain…at least not forever. The nature of the muscle disease I’ve been blessed with is chronic physical pain. Some days the pain is significantly more intense than others, but it’s almost always there. The past several weeks have been an intensely painful season. And while there’s not much I can do about it, one thing I can do is go to the gym. I know that if I hop on the treadmill for even 30 minutes I will feel better the next day because the pain needs to be forced out by movement.
But, the current pain, which makes me cringe just walking up to the counter at Starbucks, keeps me from actually going to the gym. Because I know that the actual workout itself will hurt, it will be significantly more painful than sitting still. It doesn’t matter that tomorrow I’ll feel better, I know the pain is going to get worse before it gets better and so I choose to stick with the hardly bearable, yet bearable, pain of sitting still.
As I was complaining to God about this situation the other day, it hit me how often I do that very same thing with the pain of life. I think that’s true for many of us. We’ll tell you we’re unhappy, miserable, etc. And we know that if we’d do the hard work to get through the pain we’d be happier on the other side. But we also now it will hurt more before it hurts less & we’re not sure our hearts & souls can take it. So, we settle for the hardly bearable, yet bearable, pain of sitting still.
I wonder how our lives might look different if we could recondition ourselves to run headfirst into pain rather than avoid it. If we actually made decisions that put us in the line of pain’s fire knowing we’d get hit but that at some point we’d find ourselves sweetly exhausted on the road to recovery.
How would your life look different if you put yourself through a little reconditioning?