I’ve had continued discussions with God and good friends about this idea of suffering. And that process itself has borne great fruit. I think anytime we begin to start discussing Jesus and tie him into our pain and suffering, the Holy Spirit does some amazing things. It takes that harboring of ugliness and shamefulness out of the darkness and into the light. And the darkness has not overcome it…
I have learned in the last few days that many times I bring about my own suffering. We make a lot of excuses for our suffering, but many times do not explore the thought as to why it may be occurring. It is painful to look within rather than to blame, or ask God why. So many times I’ve asked God to comfort me in my suffering rather than take it from me. Then the comfort doesn’t come. Just as there is “Godly sorrow” which differs from “worldly sorrow”, I also now believe we must learn to differentiate our “Godly suffering” from our “worldly suffering.” But before we even make that distinction, we have to deem why it is we may be suffering in the first place.
I realized that many times I suffer because I do not set boundaries. I succumb to people’s expectations. I operate in a high stress job and a high stress home. Although Christ has healed both the physical and emotional pain from my sexual abuse, I still must sustain myself from the Savior who begs me to come to Him. It still requires me to return to Him, to be dependent on Him for everything. This is very difficult. In a world that teaches that independence means success, Christ’s message teaches that we must be dependent on the Master himself. Hence, my “suffering.”
I have parceled through my current situation and realized that I have created my own suffering. In fact, I don’t think I am suffering at all. I think that I have succumbed to that worldly notion that “life sucks” and “busyness is inevitable” and fallen back into sort of a rhythm that I can operate both as a Catholic and as a human in two totally different spheres. I have not allowed the Lord to place my boundary lines in pleasant places.
I think this requires a lot of silence. In my life, not the type of silence that allows you to go on a weekend retreat or plotted out pilgrimage. I think it means stealing the moments in between the moments you think you have planned out. It means allowing silence when it is given to you, unexpectedly. Although, God knows.
I had been missing so many of those moments. But during a quiet time at work yesterday I heard His whispers.
Why? Why are you going through this? If I’ve given you empathy as a gift, who better to raise this child than you?
His voice was crisp and clear. Not audible but alive. Silent but loud. I was turning away the very gift I prided myself on. Empathy
I’m not saying that these things will be easy, and I don’t think God is either. I think in each individual situation, when God allows the time, and we are listening, if you are asking and searching and holding yourself accountable to Christ, you will receive those precious words of wisdom.
This has really helped me to parcel out the concept of suffering, for now I know that free will plays a part. I have a choice on how I handle it. I don’t have to conceptualize it as suffering, I can count it all joy. I am not alone.