“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” -1 Corinthians 13:11

It’s interesting how words you’ve heard sound different each time you encounter them. Like this bible verse. I’ve heard it several times, but it has meant more to me lately than ever before.

When you are young, and naïve, you sometimes think you are invincible. I remember thinking if I do this and this and stay away from that then everything will be good…and stay good. I thought that by following the rules of life, I would get a protective shield around me. If I am a good person, bad things won’t happen right? Wrong. This realization would make the old me terrified but like the verse above reads, I no longer reason like a child. I have actually come to see the value in suffering. Do I like it…no. Do I yearn for it…no. Do I sometimes question God because of it…yes. BUT I do understand the need for it.

Here is a fitness analogy (shocking). In order for your body to actually change, it has to be challenged. If your goal is to build muscle, you lift weights. Do you know what is actually happening when you do this? Essentially, you are breaking down your body in order to build it back up. By lifting weights, you are causing tiny tears in the muscle fibers, which the body then repairs and adapts the muscles to better handle the stimulus that caused the damage. If you desire optimal health and positive, long-lasting changes, you must feed your body what it needs to grow and improve. If you just coast through your work outs, never “hurting”, your body will never change. You can’t get the physical body you want without being uncomfortable. Only by struggling through that last mile will you be able to add on another. Only by struggling through 10 pushups will you be able to one day do 20. Only by lifting 5 lb weights will you be able to increase to 10 lb. It is physically and scientifically impossible to get from Point A to Point B, fitness wise, without pain. That is the only time your body can make those desired drastic changes.

This is the same for your spiritual strength. Have you ever heard that you can’t get to heaven unless you have suffered? This used to scare me, but now I realize that I was thinking like a child. It doesn’t mean I wait for something bad to happen. It just means when adversity strikes, don’t shut down. Don’t try to go around it. Face it head on and persevere through. If we can’t coast through a workout, what makes us think we can coast through life? We will only grow, improve and ultimately change if we are challenged.  So to strengthen the depths of who we are, we must cause tiny tears in our spirit, which the soul then repairs and adapts the spirit and mind to better handle the stimulus that caused the damage. Like I said above, if you wish for optimal health and positive, long-lasting changes, you must feed your body what it needs to grow and improve. So today, I am asking myself: “Am I feeding my soul what it needs to grow?”

Suffering isn’t fun. I do not yearn for pain. What I do recognize is that it is necessary and a part of life. And just like a difficult work out, I can’t quit at mile 1 if I expect to finish mile 2. Don’t dodge discomfort…it is your secret weapon for growth.

Until next time,