There’s a bunch of sayings out there that propagate the myth that pain means effort, or effort means pain. And that without pain, we aren’t making an effort.
We measure the amount the work someone puts in by how much they’ve had to suffer. And when someone doesn’t feel any pain and yet succeeds we automatically assume they had it easy and success “fell into their lap”.
This line of thinking infects our spiritual walk and we begin to measure someone’s commitment to God by how much they “suffer for the gospel”.
Yes, often great efforts produce great pains. Yes, many achievements – historic and contemporary – have been born at deep personal and communal costs.
And yet, not all effort results in pain. In fact, when someone continues to feel pain we can oftentimes know that they are doing it wrong.
For example if you keep pulling your shoulder muscle when you do overhead press, you probably have bad form. Likewise, if you keep crashing your car and getting whiplash, you may benefit from driving lessons.
Sometimes we need encouragement when pain comes, sometimes we need course correction. But sometimes we encourage those going in the wrong direction and attempt to correct the course of someone who should persevere.
Just because your legs ache from 26 miles of running, doesn’t mean you crossed the finish line, stayed the course or even started the Marathon Event.
If your experiencing pain, check why.