We did New Years resolutions with the children last night. We asked them, What in your life do you want to be different by 2021?

Ella said she wanted a different wardrobe, and set some goals in that direction. 

Liam said he wanted a different skill. He’s going to look into karate. 

Jono said he wanted a different habit in relation to his personal scripture study. He’s going to sleep with his Scriptures under his pillow, to remind him to read every day.

Julia wants 400. We are not sure what that means. 400 of what? We couldn’t get a clear answer. She just wants 400.

Well, besides 400, these changes are absolutely in their power! They have control over changing their lives. Even this year.

I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Right? Maybe we need to memorize Invictus by William Ernest Henley next.

Brooke asks, right off the bat, would you rather win $1,000,000 or make $1,000,000.

“And the ones that say I’d rather win it, I tell them, ‘But then you have no control over the next million.’

If you make the million, then you can keep producing it. That’s the same for money, but it’s also the same for creating goodness in your life.”

There are times when I’ve prayed for patience in dealing with a difficult personality, and He has softened my heart. Immediately. Snap. It’s done. And, because of this “gift” of a softened heart toward that person, I can love that person.

But what happens when the next difficult personality comes along – because they always will!

If I have learned from experience and thought-work and struggle, how to love without judgement – if I have learned to be okay with them and their choices, and to not let their moods or comments or whatever affect me – then that skill will serve me my entire life.

But if I haven’t learned that skill – if I simply prayed that first time and the Lord took the “pain” away immediately – then I have no control over the next million, right? I am back on my knees pleading with the Lord for Him to do my work for me. Essentially that is what it is, right?

Looking at our New Years resolutions, the very same principle applies. If I bought Ella a new wardrobe, POOF! She would love it and she would be grateful and she would look fabulous … for the year. But if she did the research herself, maybe hired a wardrobe stylist to teach her and to start her in the process, she could have a fabulous wardrobe not only this year, but the next year as well, and the next year.

Let’s go through the “pain” now, in order to serve us better, longer.

Sleep training a baby. Getting into shape at the gym. Having difficult conversations with the in-laws. Pulling out the sliver from your toe.

It is all the same.

“The first truth that you have to understand is you’re not going to get out of this life without any pain … So what I wanted to do in this podcast is invite you to reconcile this idea of pain now versus pain later, and to always choose pain now, when possible.”

“Many of us are anticipating and avoiding pain. And once pain inevitably arises, we try to avoid it… If I thought that you could buffer instead of feeling pain, I would be all for it. But … it’s not like, option A or B, pick A and then B doesn’t exist. No. You’re not avoiding the pain, you’re just prolonging it. It’s going to be there. It’s going to fester and it will show up in your life in many, many ways. And pain that is there that is unprocessed needs to be continuously avoided, and it’s exhausting because you’re always trying to outrun your own emotional life.”

What is the opposite of avoiding pain – the opposite of procrastinating? Embracing.

“And when we embrace it, we actually get better at processing it… You increase your capacity to process pain, you increase your capacity to be uncomfortable, and then your life expands because you’re not afraid of pain anymore.”

Now, when we increase our capacity to feel pain – to be comfortable being uncomfortable – we will not absolve our lives of all pain. Again, we simply increase our capacity to feel the pain then, and the pain that is inevitable in the future.

When I was in labor with Ella, I’d never done it before. I didn’t know how painful it would be, and I didn’t know how to deal with the pain. A contraction would come, and the pain was excruciating. Then it would let down for maybe 30 seconds, between contractions. But I spent the entire 30 seconds so scared of the next contraction, I couldn’t relax at all. I could hardly breath. I could not deal with the pain, and I could not even deal with the thought of the pain.

When we increase our capacity to feel pain – to deal with pain – we can relax, regroup, re-energize, between pains. Right? Like my fourteen year old, who is on break between school semesters. She is so stressed out about next semester, that she has spent much of her break losing sleep. Well, next semester will likely be painful. It’s high school, right? That doesn’t mean that it is wrong, that there needs to be a solution.

“When we think of pain as a problem, then we want to solve it… Instead of asking what’s a better solution to pain, I want you to go back even further and question whether pain is even a problem. And I want to suggest to you that it isn’t. Pain, no problem, I’ve got you. I’m willing to experience pain on purpose in order to (give birth to Ella), in order to (resolve that issue before it grows into a bigger issue), in order to (get an education), in order to be healthy mentally.

A lot of people are willing to experience physical pain on purpose in order to be healthy physically. They’ll hike up mountains and they’ll run on treadmills and they’ll lift weights and they’ll know that it’s going to be painful physically temporarily. But it’s almost like they start to enjoy a little bit of that pain because they know the benefit of it later is worth it. It’s like taking care of that future self.”

Brooke gives us suggestions to manage pain, right now:

  1. Say yes to pain. “When you say yes and you allow it to come in, it changes the resistance in your body.” Remember from The Emperor’s New Groove? “We’re about to go over a huge waterfall.” YEP. “Sharp rocks at the bottom.” MOST LIKELY. “Bring it on.”
  2. Describe the pain. Your awareness will be increased. You will be a witness to your pain. “It helps you understand that … it’s not something that is so terrible that you’re going to die from it.”
  3. Allow the urge to delay the pain. Meaning, don’t give in to the urge, but also don’t brush it off or distract yourself from the urge. Just sit with it, be curious about it. Remember the urge jar? This is one of the ways I am using the urge jar, myself, and changing my brain in the process. “We’re allowing the pain, but we’re also allowing the urge to escape the pain. Remind yourself that you’re going to have to deal with it anyway. You’re going to have to deal with it now or later, so you might as well deal with it now.”
  4. Remind yourself that you do have the time. “Processing pain, right when you experience it, gives you more time than prolonging it and procrastinating it. It affects you less the sooner you can acknowledge and process it.”
  5. Silence. Journaling. Coaching.
  6. Don’t hate pain. Don’t be afraid of pain. “Hating pain and being afraid of pain puts you as the victim to your own pain and then you will live your life trying to prevent, prolong, or hide from any kind of pain, which will make your life very, very small.”
  7. Compassion during pain. “Having compassion for yourself when you’re having pain makes it, I think, almost a spiritual experience.” It is about your relationship with you, your relationship with the God who’s plan it was for you to be you, and for you to experience this life – the good and the painful. “This is what it’s like to be a human, this is what it’s like to be alive.” Embracing the whole experience – the whole human experience – is a spiritual experience.

“So I want you to look forward to the next time you’re in pain. I don’t want you to tell yourself you shouldn’t be in pain, pain is bad, pain is wrong… If you think about all the changes that we have made as humans, all of the growth, most of it has been an answer to pain. And so it does propel us forward if we utilize it, if we listen to it, if we’re not afraid of it.”

Let’s do it, my friends! Let’s go through the pain now to create the 2021 of our dreams.


1 Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *