Seniors have experienced pain. That’s why they finally became seniors. Pain is a fact of life--not a fact to which we look forward, but a fact of life, nevertheless. How we relate to pain directly affects how pain impacts our lives.
Because pain enters all our lives at some point, it might be helpful to share some positive influences this writer has found to be helpful during painful times. It is this writer’s belief that the best and most helpful technique to lessen is to establish or have a relationship with Jesus.
As with most relationships, building a relationship with Jesus may take time, but it is time well spent. Short of knowing a person who really knows Jesus, the best way to get to know Him is to spend time reading His word, or the Bible, after praying for the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts.
The attitude you bring to your reading is important. Do not read to find ways to justify your current thinking or to prove a point to someone else. Read as a learner who is a humble seeker of truth--truth that you may find uncomfortable or even offensive.
Truth is truth whether or not you or I believe it. Truth does not depend on anyone’s opinion. It is not necessary that you or I even understand everything we read in the Bible. As much as we may wish to be, we are not God.
The important thing is that we come to know Him as our personal Friend. Once we accomplish that, then the natural consequence is that we come to trust Him. Then we will relish our relationship with Him and rest in the assurance that He has a plan for our lives.
What follows may be helpful, and I hope it is. The meat of this article is above.
When times are tough, it's difficult to stay focused on your goals and aspirations. You may find yourself wondering when the hardships in your will go away. The truth is, life's hardships never truly fade away. You can use this to your advantage, though, by viewing these challenges as opportunities.
The more you're able to view life's tests as catalysts for growth, the better prepared you'll be to sail through them.
1. Pain can drive you onward. Pain - whether physical or mental - is an indication that something, somewhere, isn't right. People are taught from birth that pain is a negative force meant to torment or beguile us, but this isn't the case. Pain can serve as a beacon in the darkness, a torch that illuminates the path.
* Oftentimes, psychological pain is the result of unresolved issues that are smoldering beneath the surface. Only by confronting these issues, by bringing them to the surface, can you move beyond them.
* Everything has an opposite, and pain is the opposite of joy. If not for pain, we would have no understanding of joy as a state of being. Don't run from pain. Instead, face it head-on and ask yourself, "What is the cause of my pain?"
* The answer can lead you to joy if you're willing to address the source of your pain.
2. Your mindset determines your outcomes. How you react to hardship often determines how much of it you will experience.
* Your reactions have immediate and lasting effects on both your body and mind and choosing to act instead of react can free you from habitual behavior that might be causing challenges in the first place.
* Optimism and realism aren't mutually exclusive. Life's ups and downs are part of the relativistic nature of the universe. It's important that you face both with equal vigor.
* When you swim in a lake or ocean, you know perfectly well that the crash of one wave leads to the cresting of another. Life operates in the same way, so expect each swell to bring with it its own challenge. Avoid letting negativity color your perceptions.
* If you expect pain, you will react in pain. And if you react in pain - whether the threat is real or not - you will miss out on any opportunities hidden within the challenge itself.
3. Most fears are not representative of reality. It's important that you differentiate between fears that stem from physical threats and fears that arise in the mind.
* The latter is often created by the brain as it runs various scenarios deep within your subconscious. When you dream, you become aware of this process. These mental fears are meant to keep you from taking unnecessary risks.
* To succeed in today's high-tech and interconnected world, you have to be able to face these fears head-on. This is the only way to convince your subconscious that the threats it perceives are not real.
* Only with repeated exposure to discomfort can you convince your subconscious mind that it has nothing to fear from these non-physical threats.
* You can absolutely overcome fear every single time if you're willing to force yourself through the discomfort it generates. Typically, this discomfort will melt away the moment you dive into the task or situation you're dreading.
Taking action with these concepts in mind will help you find solutions for many of your challenges. When you can manage the present, the future will take care of itself.
Remember: opportunity only exists in the present moment. And in order to build toward your ideal tomorrow, you have to deal effectively with the life you have today.
So, where are you in your journey? Are you in the middle of a tough time, or between tough times? We have briefly discussed two broad approaches to living through tough times. Both approaches have merit and making Jesus a central part of your living even makes the second approach much more effective.
Please share your thoughts and any response you may have in the form below.