Monday, July 15, 2019

What pain do you want in your life?

I read an article the other day that said too many of us are asking the wrong question, which is "What do you want out of life?"

The author stated that everyone wants to be happy, have a great family, and a job they love.  That is not new and it is not unique.  The bigger question he stated is what pain do you want in your life?  What are you willing to struggle for?  Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

It's an interesting thought.  The truth is that:
  • To achieve what we want requires pain.  
  • To be in a relationship means inevitably going through hurt feelings, emotional drama, and tough conversations.  
  • To be in good shape physically means watching what you eat, exercising, sweat, soreness and hunger pangs.  
  • To have a job you love takes a risk, repeated failures, education, experience (often from the ground up) and hard work. 
So what determines your success is not what you enjoy, but rather what pain you are willing to sustain. You can't have a pain-free life.  It really is the more difficult question.

Too often we want the reward and not the struggle.  We want the result and not the process.  We want the victory but not the fight.

When you can answer the question, "What pain do you want in your life?" then you can actually make progress in achieving your real goals. 

Shortly after reading this article, I was dealing with a dilemma regarding the DML and someone asked me what I wanted out of the situation in an ideal world.  I thought for a few minutes and answered that I thought the better question was what pain I was willing to put up with.  That completely changed the conversation to be more productive and helped us to really weigh the pros and cons.  We were able to move beyond the ideal to the real.

It's true that this is not a happy question. I tend to be somewhat of a realist though, so it works for me.

I have returned from a good and productive trip to Nigeria.  I now will be home for a month (which feels like a nice long stretch - first whole month home this year!) before heading to Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania.  There are many programmatic things that need to get done as we continue to grow and learn, so the month will be busy but at least I will not be living out of a suitcase.  Thank you for your continued prayers!

Yet another exciting group picture - wish there were more exciting shots, but this is what we do!