A Testimony to courage and faith in the midst of suffering

24 Feb

My friend Catie and I have talked about the meaning of suffering, and we’ve talked about how we are each called to pick up our crosses joyfully and carry our crosses with love and generosity.  Catie kindly agreed to write a guest post on the meaning of suffering and how to carry our crosses joyfully. 

Let’s give Catie a big warm welcome!

On Enduring Suffering Joyfully:

Everyone suffers. Not a single person, thing or being is free from heartache, grief or pain. Each of us carry our pain in our own way. For some, the emotional pain that they carry is far greater than any physical pain…and yet there are others who feel the angst of physical pain daily, and thus willingly and cheerfully take up their cross. Regardless, pain is pain.

Toxicity spreads like wildfire.

At work, I have the tendency to get extremely frustrated with a few people on a fairly regular basis. Some say it is “learning to work with different personalities” and I just say they are inconsiderate individuals. On the surface, it appears they are just out to make my work day heck and they will do everything in their power to create more work for me. They stir the drama brew and it just perpetuates negativity which ripples like an atomic bomb hitting the ocean with just as bad repercussions. Negativity and sin is toxic and causes more suffering than we might want to recognize.

When we really get to know those we work with closely, we can gain so much understanding into how and why they act the way they do. (Praying for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is a great way to start). In my circumstance, the individuals are never happy or satisfied with anything. They worry about things. They are complacent with their life being broken without seeking true means of healing. They would rather sit and sift in the negativity or situation rather than make a change. Change would require a lot of them so they just sit and deal with it. (Sounding familiar?) These individuals may or may not go to church. They may or may not recognize sins in the way that I have been taught. They may see them as minor things that have had trickle down effects and yet because they choose not to deal or handle their situations in such a way that asks God for true healing–they too continue to suffer.

Intimacy creates seeds for virtuous growth
You are able to gain compassion through this level of understanding as well. Most individuals that cause us pain and suffering are victims of pain and suffering too. Now, that doesn’t mean we have to share the wealth in that regard; if we personally identify what is causing us suffering (I know it is sin and separation from God) we can work on asking Jesus to heal us.
I have chosen to deal with my suffering more productively. God wouldn’t allow a cross to come if He wasn’t willing to share His Holy Grace to get me through it. How shallow I am to sift in my own misery…not acknowledge the mess that I have found myself in and complain about my coworkers making my life hell….I mean how dare they! How dare they!? Don’t they know how much pain this causes me? No. Usually they don’t. Usually they don’t realize that they are causing you so much grief. But that’s where I pause.
 “Poor Souls in Purgatory, Pray for me!”

We are not called to be complainers. We are called to take up our cross willingly and joyfully. We are not called to return the favor of inflicting pain or suffering in a vengeful sort either. We are called to love and forgive those who cause us grief. We are not called to take justice into our own hands. We are called to pray and forgive these individual.

As much as we complain about others, let’s shift our focus back to how this relates directly to our relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Son.

God’s Love is pure and unconditional

When God created the earth and everything surrounding His Goodness and Grace, He never intended us to be out of union with His Will and Goodness. God did love His creation so much that He gave us free will to chose our direction. Yeah, yeah yeah. We have all heard this before…NO. But stop and think about it! Unconditionally, “I will love you regardless if you choose me or not. I want you to choose to love me!” And even when we are incapable of returning such love…and even though we are so selfish…God doesn’t complain about it. God loves us even more.
So, we have this really REALLY great example of the purest of love there is towards us…and what do we choose to do about it? Do we choose to love Him back? Do we talk to Him, invest in Him, and tell Him how our day is? “God, I am hurting. I am weak. I am angry. I am in pain. I am stressed out! Jesus, give me the Grace to make it!”
God allows suffering and freedom of choice
In the midst of our suffering, we can either choose to take up our cross or not. We can choose to love these broken people. Or not. But, striving to always to love on these individuals is exactly what God does to us when we don’t choose His way. We cause God to suffer greatly through the course of our actions. Remember that the next time someone gives you grief. It is absolutely a game changer.
We are only human. We are never happy or satisfied with anything. We worry about things. We are complacent with our life being broken without seeking true means of healing. We would rather sit and sift in the negativity or situation rather than make a change. Change would require a lot of us so we just sit and deal with it. Don’t personally forget to ask for healing and peace!
Have the courage to find joy in your suffering. Pray fervently for those who offend you in hopes that they too have enough courage to allow themselves healing and peace. Never let a day drift by where you are not demonstrating the same love God gives us so generously. Live as God intended you to do so: joyfully carry your cross.

 

Catie is a born and raised Catholic woman living in northeast Indiana. She is a huge sports fan, loves her coffee and she enjoys good conversation. Catie also co-founder and contributor to a lifestyle blog anchordrop.org. Catch her on Twitter @BanditMetRoses and Instagram @catiemanninghair

 

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One Response to “A Testimony to courage and faith in the midst of suffering”

  1. LauraMarieForLife February 25, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    Yes!! Love your point about how most people who hurt others are hurt themselves. I’ve definitely found that to be true. It changes everything when you understand that about people and make an effort to not be offended and take everything they do personally. Thanks for the reminder to take up our cross!

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