The Best Lesson on Pain You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way
8 years ago, my husband Ben and I launched Generation Church in Jupiter, Florida. At the time, we weren’t acquainted with ARC. Armed with two books on church planting and some money we had saved, we set out to change the world. If you pause and consider how we started, you can imagine we’ve encountered more than a few painful moments.
Most days are rich with purpose and God’s presence, miraculous really, deeply fulfilling, and so much fun, but some days… are downright painful.
The collision of our best efforts and the rejection or dismissal of them, equals pain.
There is not a church planter alive who has not put forth their best and been met with rejection, trying to sort out the resulting ache in their soul.
In preparation for leading a church, I did not understand the practically naked vulnerability it would require and sometimes intense pain that would simultaneously be present.
There is a nugget of wisdom I have gained that has helped me maintain my commitment, enthusiasm and determination around my assignment.
Pain is a terrible leader.
Pain, when present, wants control of your decisions, habits and lifestyle. Pain wants to be relieved, soothed, masked or fixed, and in today’s world there are antidotes aplenty. The deception is that what soothes me is what saves me. But rarely does the “fill in the blank” fix actually produce the ultimate result we’re seeking. In fact, quite the opposite, taking pain’s lead will actually cause us to make poor decisions that produce further pain.
Pain is a reality in any profession or calling. Pain is not isolated to ministry, and in fact, if you’re dreaming of a pain free existence, that is called a fantasy.
Pain is a part of being a leader, but pain can’t become your leader.
Criticism, good-byes, misunderstandings, disappointment, mistakes and missteps all cause pain. Pain can be raw and real. Jesus’ Gethsemane experience is a reflection of how our response to today’s pain can determine our future path. That whole “let this cup pass” thing could have played out much differently.
Jesus, in His pain, provides a stunning example for each of us. HE NEVER LET PAIN LEAD. Instead, He spoke to His Father about the pain, He acknowledged its reality, He sought solutions from the only One who can provide them and thankfully, He did not let pain make His decisions. Soothing His pain never became a higher priority than His ultimate purpose of going to the cross for humanity.
In the painful moments, don’t consume, don’t spend, don’t ignore. Sit still, invite God in, ask for solutions from the vast treasure of His wisdom and let patience have its perfect work in you.
Melissa Pierce is passionate about building the local church. In 2008, alongside her husband Ben, they planted Generation Church in Jupiter, Florida. Melissa has a relentless focus on equipping people the church to be the force it was designed to be.