«So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world» (1 Peter 1:6, 7, NLT).
In order to change, we have to counteract inertia. Just like in Physics, our tendency is to resist a change of pace and direction. Therefore, every change implies tolerating discomfort and pain. In How People Grow, Henry Cloud and John Townsend describe it this way: «We modify our behavior when the pain of not changing is greater than the pain produced by change. The consequences of our bad decisions provide the pain that drives change.»
Pain, with all its discomfort and lack of prestige, is a great ally of change. Pain acts as an ultraviolet light, revealing things in which we need to mature. If we accept more obligations than we can bear, tiredness exposes us. If we did not give our honest opinion out of fear of offending someone, the strained relationship betrays us. If we do not take good care of our health, our body shows it. Pain forces us to pay attention. C. S. Lewis, in The Problem of Pain, points out that God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain; pain is His megaphone to rouse us.
Pay attention for a moment to an aspect of your life that gives you pain and consider what the underlying message is. Ask God to help you understand how you can learn and grow through that experience. Ask Him to give you emotional integrity to not ignore reality, and courage to face it. Ask Him to show You a small step you can take today to change. And as you speak to God, reflect on the words of the poem «Risk,» by American writer Elizabeth Appell: «And the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.»
Dear Lord, when the discomfort of a situation reveals I need to change, please give me the integrity and emotional courage I need, and the wisdom to take small steps every day.