Can we really say there’s purpose to our pain?
Chronic illness affects people in many ways. It’s a battle that is not ours to fight. My time line of life consists of ups and downs with various battles I have experienced throughout.
Most recently I started to connect the physical and emotional pain I’ve encountered over the years to a time line. God never intended for me to endure the physical distress I have but the purpose all aligns with where I am now.
Some years ago, I wrote a piece of poetry called “Get Out of my Mansion” this was a bold attempt to tell all the bad things in my life they didn’t belong and that God was bigger than each thing in my life. That particular struggle at the time was an eating disorder.
God showed me it had to be an everyday surrender. Writing that poem, was a stepping stone to help me see that I had to give God my eating disorder and know my life was in his hands. It was not enough to hand it over to God. I had found that it’s easy to play tug o war with a hardcore life issue. Then God showed me it had to be an everyday surrender and I also had to give him every room in my mansion. This reference is saying that we can’t just give God one part of our life. We must surrender every part to him. At that place in my journey it was clear I couldn’t do it on my own and that I needed God’s authority to reign in my life.
So this concept of purpose played out on my life. God needed me to see that I was trying to live life lukewarm. I couldn’t just give God one or two parts because things in my life were clearly falling apart and without God as the center of every part my inability to trust God opened doors that caused emotional turmoil and hardships in my life. Once I saw my disobedience and gave it to God, I was equipped with his toolbox to experience a time of renewal in my mind but also my body had a chance to heal.
The theme of self reliance has seemed to be a huge theme in my life. In the moments where things haven’t gone so good, it has always reminded me the battles I face are not meant to be fought on my own. I need to back up and examine my heart if I’m trying to push for limits? Are my efforts out of self reliance or is God the GPS in my life.
It is 2015, and five years has passed since I had this poetic moment in writing and I still get reminders from God that every battle I face needs His direction.
In the last few months, I have been praying “Not my will but yours be done Lord” this simple prayer has helped me take my eyes off myself and see God move mountains.
So how does this apply to my current life? My health battle belongs to God like the battles I faced years ago. I believe as God doesn’t peel onion layers all at once because we would fall apart. Ad we find difficult experiences in life we find that our pain has some meaning.
We don’t just go through one battle after another. We have seasons of growth in order to grow how we think about our lives is revolving and always changing. We also must ask God to to help us apply what we are learning through His word and in our daily walk with him. We must put our faith into action in order to grow.
I came to the conclusion of God having purpose on my pain due to an discovery I had noted during my time in an acute rehab center just under a month ago, while sharing with a friend, it came to light that the progress I made with a chronic medical condition was progress that could crumble fall apart at any moment because it was built on self reliance and not on God’s timing.
We often want to rush the healing process whether it’s recovering from a small injury or a major surgery. We want it to be better over night. Many of life’s battles take time to heal. God’s healing is not a band aide approach.
While in the hospital, I had seen my determination to get stronger was out of a decision to not deal with the emotional affects of a tragedy in my life. It’s always been hard for me to work through some of emotional aspects of my life.
In this situation, my efforts to become stronger physically masked my ability for God to heal the emotional battle I faced over the summer. It was self reliance and lack of faith in God and trying to be in control lead to catastrophe in other parts of my life.
People are quick to blame God in challenging situations and not examine our own hearts. We don’t think our choices gave consequences but ultimately every choice either has a positive or negative response. Our response to life’s hardships often come to the light eventually. It brings clarity to out life experiences. It also shows us we need to back up and let God work.
So my emotional pain from a traumatic experience over the summer lead me to a place where I didn’t want to feel vulnerable so I pushed my body beyond my physical limitations and caused delay in the healing process in a chronic illness I had been dealing with.
Once I was able to see why I was at the place I was in I could see how the present pain held purpose to my life. The purpose was to remind me that I couldn’t just walk through life with the “I’m alright it’s okay line” of life. I had to face my pain with God beside me.
When we make attempts to hurry the healing process it throws our journey off the course of the GPS destination. Those detours and roadblocks don’t help us but their purpose sometimes has positive and negative affects on our life. It opens our eyes to see where we are in our walk with God and provides a way to learn and grow. We don’t always see how our actions affect our life right away. This isn’t an over night insight depending on how deep the issue goes some of us have to work through multiple issues before we can begin to understand the big picture.
I can’t speak for God but It is clear to me that how I handled a tragedy was out of my own accord and not in God’s way of handling things that shines light on my position in the hospital. Just as I tried to recover for years from eating disorder, the current situation allows me to see that my past struggle to be in control is still an issue that I need to surrender to God. I must stop trying to drive my car on my own but let God have the steeing wheel my life I have found peace, joy and freedom.
Even though I can see why I am where I am now. I don’t have this huge amount of regret about life in general. I know my choices come with the ability to reflect on the past and the present to help me to see what I can give to God. Then allow him to help me make better choices.
People always ask me if I could turn back time and change anything about life what I would change and why. This question is mind boggling everyone has something they think should have been different or could have been different. It’s too cliché to say everything happens for a reason. But what if everything does happen for a reason? There would be no reason to have regrets because there could be a lesson in why everything happens in life.
Could our experiences be to teach us lessons about life or could they have happened to show us something bigger than the overall circumstance or situation? If we examine our own life’s journey it is obvious that without our past we would not be who we are today. Life is not a puzzle that can have any missing pieces yet many of us feel that we do have missing pieces. We try to piece together life and want to understand why or how things happened or what caused our life to not be working out.
Regret is formed around the idea of loss and disappointment. What if we turned our disappointment into an appointment with God? What if life only seems as though it’s not working out, but actually it has a purpose for everything? When tragedy strikes its human nature to question why it happened but what if we stopped regretting the bad things and we challenge the situation? What if we asked: what can we learn from this situation? Regret is formed around the idea of loss and disappointment. What if we turned our disappointment into an appointment with God?
When we establish a covenant relationship with God we cannot hold regret. We must come to acceptance of where we are and not try to piece together what isn’t there or go out of our way to justify a situation. We must look to God for guidance.
Regret is sometimes inevitable. We look back on the roads and the valleys that we have traveled and we think, “oh we must have done something wrong or God must have failed us”. We are human and this is natural. But our situation cannot get better unless there is a shift in our mindset. In our relationship with God it is our communion with God to take us from neutral (or park) to a forward motion.
It may seem like the course of the journey is taking longer than usual but the long roads and challenging moments are there to teach us patience and to rely on God, rather than to rely on ourselves to go anywhere in life. When we surrender to God, our pit stops, valleys, curves in the road all have meaning. We must take our eyes off ourselves and challenge the situation push it in a corner and let God bring a level of grace that enables us to have the understanding that there’s purpose to our struggles and even to the good things in our life.
Everyone experiences something but to acknowledge it holds a key to our journey brings knowledge and guidance to us as we walk through life it allows to know we are not alone. So we can prove that there is something guiding us whether we chose to believe it as God or we chose to believe it as whatever we make of it. With it all said this speaks to the believer and non believer because it points to purpose in our pain and purpose in the journey we are on. It creates an atmosphere to help others who have similar experiences in life to keep having hope to get through life.