From Pain to Purpose
Hitting rock bottom is devastating. Life can be going great, and then suddenly, unexpectedly, lightning strikes. Abuse may be suffered, a death may occur, a divorce might be warranted...so many different scenarios and yet they all produce the same result--pain. We’ve all experienced pain in one way or another. There are situations that have happened in our lives that seem undeserved, and others that may leave us with an overwhelming sense of regret. But that is not supposed to be our permanent place of (emotional) residence. We need to move out of there before pain makes itself at home! What if I told you that there’s a way to do this while allowing pain to actually benefit you? What if I told you that today’s pain can bring about tomorrow’s purpose? It may be difficult to see right now, but if you can push through the pain enough to start implementing the following 5 steps, I believe you’ll be well on your way!
Love yourself. When you are going through something extremely painful it usually involves feelings of inadequacy, a low sense of self-worth, and/or utter confusion. The words or actions of another may have pierced your heart, or you don’t feel like you’re “good enough” because of a failure. Although it may be difficult to do at first, practice telling yourself that you are loveable. That God loves you. And that you love yourself. I’m not referring to a selfish kind of love that is considered conceited or self-absorbed. I’m talking about a healthy love for the person God has created you to be. A healthy love for the masterpiece He says you are. Love yourself enough to take care of, instead of neglect yourself in whichever way you can. Get that massage. Join that gym. Treat yourself to a nice dinner or outfit. Eventually, treating yourself as a valued, loveable person will help you view yourself as one.
Cry out to God. Some people are really good at stuffing their emotions inside without ever releasing them. Some try their best to deal with the emotional havoc all by themselves. Others might share their feelings with a trusted individual. But it's important not to miss the most important component of this step, which is to cry out to God! Tell Him how you feel, what is wrong in your life, and all about the problems you are facing. He is already well aware of any and every situation you face, but He desires a close knit relationship with you; one that can trust Him with all of it. Psalm 55:22 says to “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” The only way He can help you heal is for you to first release all your pain and frustration into His hands. Once you’ve emptied your heart of everything you’ve been harboring, He can then begin to fill you with His love and reassurance that will keep you at peace.
Become solution-minded. This step may be easy for all the list makers out there. For others, it might take some practice. You’ve already identified the problems and have mustered up enough strength to cry out to God about them; now it’s time to start thinking about how to solve them. Will you meditate on certain scripture verses regularly? Will you join a support group? Will you make it a goal to change a negative habit or behavior? Make your list of solutions. This may not come natural at first but it’s important to start somewhere...anywhere! In time, this will change your focus from problem-oriented to solution-oriented.
Turn plans into action. Once you’ve determined some solutions, you will need to follow through with them. Don’t feel pressured to start with all of them at once though. Start with what you feel is manageable, even if just one or two solutions, and take steps to execute your plan. You will begin to feel a sense of achievement as you carry these out which will encourage you to follow through with even more plans. Intentionally walking out the goals you have set for yourself is a huge step because it means you are beginning to live with purpose, on purpose!
Repeat steps 1-4. This is not the kind of cycle that is completed once and then miraculously takes all the pain away. Pain is very real and we have to acknowledge it as such. It takes time to process through it and everyone’s process looks different. So give yourself permission to repeat these steps as often as necessary until you begin to notice a change in your outlook and/or emotions. It’s important to measure your progress along the way to truly know when this transformation takes place.
By following these 5 essential steps, you are training your mind to focus on the future instead of the past. You are learning to let go. And you are moving forward while transforming your pain into purpose!
Move. Measure. March.