If you're going through Hell...

Life happens, I'm sure everyone is aware of this. And because it is life the crappy parts tend to happen all at the same time (or as my Nana would say, it all comes in three's). No one likes these parts of life even though we all know that in the long run it helps us grow as a person. We can argue the whole 'pain for glory' concept as much as we want but it never makes the difficult times any less difficult. The worse part is that we tend to be oblivious to the fact that we are in a difficult time in life until we are... in the middle of it. There are usually signs that we are entering a rocky phase yet we never see these "signs" until we are looking back saying to ourselves... "seriously? I should have seen this coming!"

So, when life throws us an unruly curve ball what do we do? Most of the time we want to stop right in the middle of it; stopping right when we figure out where we are and what we might go through next... I think I will stop right here and go no further! We don't think that this will fix anything (well most of us don't) but ultimately we just want everything to go away. We tend to use the logic that if we are going through pain, stop doing the things that are causing us pain and thus the pain will stop. We probably get this from the whole 'don't touch the hot stove' lesson that every one of us has learnt. If you keep your hand on the burning stove then your hand will continue to burn... so just remove your hand and the pain will stop. So, in the midst of life we somehow convince ourselves that by stopping life we will somehow stop the pain.

Let's take a moment though, I want you to picture this:

You are standing at a cross walk waiting, happily knowing that the little man will tell us to make our way safely across the street. Once he appears you begin your journey, one foot in front of the other you walk boldly across the street... however, all of us know that by the time you get halfway across the street the stop hand begins to flash. While we know the hand means stop, logic and experience would tell us that this is just warning us that soon you will not be able to continue to walk across the street anymore but to keep on walking until you get to the other side. But what if we just stopped walking once the hand appeared, sat down in the middle of the street with our legs crossed, arms folded and pouted at the fact that there is no little man encouraging us across but instead a hand is no longer flashing but is now static....

Would this happen in real life? I'm hoping not but I don't necessarily put it past mankind (I mean we've done some stupid things before). But by staying there in the middle of the road, not only are you not making it to the your destination but you are now in the middle of something much more dangerous, moving traffic.

So let's put this all into perspective. Crossing the street = Going through life The little man = When life is going smoothly The Flashing Hand = When life gets hard The Static Hand = When life gets downright miserable Traffic.... well I'm sure you can use your imaginations

Too many times we stop in the middle of a tough time because it gets too hard but if you really think it through stopping does nothing but make things worse. It will draw the situation out much longer then it has to be, it stalls any progress we have made and gives our imaginations a moment to make the situation look much more dire than it actually is.

So why do we do this? Why do we prolong our own pain? Because after a tough time the inevitable next step is the healing process... and what we rarely admit to ourselves is that the healing always hurts more than the initial injury.

This may sound contradictory, I mean healing is supposed to lead you to the "not hurting anymore part"... Well, let's look at it this way, when you break your arm the initial break is painful but what comes to follow is so much worse. Following the Doctors orders your arm is placed in a cast, one that you cannot get it wet which eliminates all of your swimming and making showers more awkward. If you hit it on something, the vibration moves throughout your whole arm, recalling the pain you felt when you first broke it. You will have a hard time dressing yourself and coordinating a cast with any outfit is close to a nightmare. For those of us who are independent our spirits can become strangled at the reality of needing a helping hand every time we need to put on our jacket, move furniture or even something as simple as carrying a box. Above all, this healing isn't over and done with in one small week but instead it can take months before you are back to your ol' tricks.

As I write this it just makes me want to never leave the house... nay, never leave my couch so that I never break a bone again. But we all know that staying home is not realistic. I need to work, I need a social life and frankly if breaking a bone every now and then means I get to live life to the fullest... it's not a bad trade off. But this also means that when I do break a bone, when life throws me a curveball and when I feel like I'm going through Hell, I have to keep going in order to get to the other side. Because it is only at the other side that the healing can begin.

Bones aren't the only thing that can be broke, what about our hearts? What about your spirit? I can say with confidence that we have all had a broken heart, either from a romantic relationship or even a close friend. Our spirit can break when we feel like we are on a roll in life and then one day, BAM! Your life as you knew it was swept out from under your feet leaving you feeling deflated and at times abandoned. Regardless of the type of break, it is during this healing time that God has to put us in a cast, he has to limit our abilities in order for us to heal properly! And it's important to note the key word here is 'properly'.

While we can heal without God, just like our broken bones can heal without a doctor, the 'finished' and so called healed product has no guarantee of healing properly. When bones aren't properly aligned and fully healed they are prone to breaking a lot easier the next time we fall or run into a wall. It is important to not only take the time to heal but to include the greatest physician in the healing process.

But like any doctor patient relationship, you have to agree to have the cast put on in the first place and you have to resist taking it off before you're fully healed. God isn't going to make you sit and listen to him, he doesn't want to strap you down so he can watch your every move or keep you penned up in a padded box. You have to trust the doctor (God) and furthermore, trust His process. Have faith that he knows best when it's time to take off the cast and move forward into your next season, fully healed and prepared to take on life's next challenge!

You have to want to get better... You have to want to let Him heal you...

You have to keep going, even when you want to sit down in the middle