It’s Not Pain; It’s Just Uncomfortable...

It’s not pain; it’s just uncomfortable.

 

I’ve been thinking about this phrase a lot lately. When you’re in the middle of the workout, particularly a difficult one, your senses seem heightened. You start to feel every muscle fiber in your legs, you’re keenly aware of just how fiery your lungs are, and the sweat running into your eyes is suddenly unbearable. It hurts and it’s a fight to keep going. After all, all you’d have to do to make the pain go away is stop.

But what if it’s not pain? What if it’s not actually unbearable? What if, really, it’s just uncomfortable? You can handle that; you’ve been uncomfortable before. You can acknowledge what’s happening to your body and accept it. Maybe you can even embrace it.

Suddenly, those muscle fibers aren’t in pain -- they’re getting stronger. Suddenly, you’re not unable to breathe -- you’re just teaching your lungs to work more efficiently. And suddenly, sweat isn’t annoying -- it’s proof that your body is helping you work as hard as you need to.

It’s a change of mindset. It’s a reconciliation of the mind and body and a way to teach them to work together. It’s an acceptance of the body’s current state and the reality that sometimes difficult things are good for you. When we do this, we find that the body and spirit are often capable of so much more than we give them credit for.

"the reality that sometimes difficult things are good for you."

This is a truth that I want to work on incorporating into my spiritual life.

We’ve all been through experiences that seem unbearable. We’ve all come across people who seem impossible to get along with. We come up against situations that make our blood boil or feel like sandpaper against our souls. It’s painful and we often want to run away, avoid the people we don’t like, or release our pent-up frustration on someone who may or may not be to blame.

But what if the acts of persevering and choosing good are not actually beyond us? What if we actually do have what it takes to endure the most difficult, uncomfortable situations?

It’s called grace, and it’s not impossible; it’s just an invitation to humility.

When we encounter a situation that makes us feel like we can’t control ourselves or tempts us to despair, I think we fall into the same mindset we often accept in the middle of a hard workout -- it’s just too much. This situation, what that person did to hurt me, or the kind of discipline I need to avoid this sin -- I just don’t have what it takes. I can’t go any further.

"But you really do have what it takes -- you have Jesus"

But you really do have what it takes -- you have Jesus. Those moments of decision are invitations to acknowledge your weaknesses and fallen nature before Him. They’re invitations to the reality that you can’t do it on your own. You were given the grace at Baptism to confront sin and declare that you are no longer a slave to it.

You have not been orphaned. You have not been left alone to your own devices to conquer the unconquerable. You have been chosen and adopted and are the child of a Father who can and has conquered.

So change your mindset. Instead of giving up when the going gets tough, summon the truth about who you are and Who gives you strength. It’s not beyond your ability and it’s not too much.

It’s not impossible; it’s simply an invitation.