“Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life. We experience our greatest levels of growth, we experience our greatest achievements when we are able to face into stuff that makes us uncomfortable—even if it feels difficult to do so—and we make changes in accordance with that.” -Susan David PhD
I wanted to share my thoughts more here. While I’m sure on a deep level we all know that this concept is true, I don’t think we usually look at things from this perspective. I know I have had to be very intentional in order to do so anyway.
Looking back at some of the difficulties that I have faced, I’ve come to realize that there is no way I’d be the person I am now if I hadn’t had those exact set of circumstances and experiences. Many of these things (had I been given the option) I absolutely would have wished away if I could have in the moment.
Ultimately, I am grateful that I didn’t get a say in the matter, as those same situations have been the biggest catalysts for personal growth and/or served as a source of something good (for myself or others) in the end.
This is a Biblical principle as well. Romans 8:28 (which is one of my all time favorite verses) says this:
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” AMP
The AMPC version says it this way:
“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”
I share both versions because they shed light on the verse in different ways… I like knowing that God is our partner, not only in our efforts, but also in the difficulties we face. It is reassuring to know we are not alone. I also like knowing that He is “deeply concerned and that even bad things are “fitting into a plan for good.” This verse reminds me that I can have “great confidence” in this. This scripture goes hand in hand with Hebrews 11: 1 which says:
“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for
(divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of
their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”
So even when I cannot yet see with my physical eyes, I believe by faith in the fruition of the mental vision I have of a good outcome.
It can be discouraging (and frankly even exhausting) to remain positive when a difficult situation goes on for an extended duration of time—especially without a clear benefit within the negative. How have I begun to handle this test of my faith and mindset? How do I not lose hope?
Until the final outcome becomes clear, it helps to reframe the difficult situation.
I’ve learned to reframe my mindset around difficult things, struggles, and the things that initially are perceptually “bad.”
I come to value them for the benefits they bring me. Specifically, I am working on trying to do so (in faith) in the moment they first appear, rather to wait until I actually see and understand the final (good) result. Lets face it, hindsight makes it easy to trust the Lord, but it does not produce a firm faith in Him or His goodness in the same way that proclaiming His goodness BEFORE the outcome arrives can.
The fruit of any harvest only ever comes as a result of labor.
I try to appreciate the person I will become as a result doing the work to overcome the struggles. In a sense, I’ve even learned to love these challenging times rather than despise them. No, I don’t love the discomfort while I’m going through it, but I am grateful for what it produces in my life. I try my best to express thankfulness to the Lord for it in the mean time as an expression of my faith in the fruit to come.
This passage in Romans sums things up well and is a clear picture of the attitude which I believe God desires for us to have in the midst of the struggles we encounter (both for the sake of our peace during the chaos until things finally become calm, as well as our ability to get the most out of the situation):
“Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5: 2b-5, AMP)
I pray this helps you with whatever situation you may find yourself in that is a test of your faith and/or fortitude.
1/ What is one difficult thing you have been through that worked out for your good in some way unexpected?
2/ Do you listen to any podcasts that you’d recommend?