Sunday, January 4, 2009

Life Is Full of Possibilities...

...If you can stand the pain.

I was a much younger guy. Like almost all young women and men, I wanted to make my mark on the world. Doing so meant (I hoped) pastoring a growing church. After all, no one wants to complete a career and be described as a failure. "He weighed every possibility, often paralyzing his people with negative analysis. He taught them to retreat gracefully. Every time some fire of hope would spark, he would break out the retardants of fear and potential collapse. Under him, they never lost any great battles because they always ran the other way."

I mean, is that the legacy you would want to leave? Of course not!

Such were my thoughts as I sat with a dozen or so of my peers that day. We were there, listening to a man describe how he became pastor of a church that had narrowed their future down to two choices: close their doors or hire him.

They chose him. He came. He stayed. Years had flown by. The church had grown and was vibrant.

I wanted this guy's wisdom. I sat on the edge of my seat and heard these words...

"You can lead a growing church -- if you can stand the pain."

At the time, it was hard to imagine. I thought pain was what you felt when you failed. I thought pain was the sole territory of the team hopelessly watching the final seconds of their season tick away.

It took me awhile, but I started experiencing what he described. Growth means change. Change is uncomfortable. For some, it's terrifying. For others, it's frustrating. Ultimately, it's painful.

But, oh, so rewarding!

You can have babies -- if you can stand the pain.

You can receive a promotion -- if you can stand the pain.

You can walk again -- if you can stand the pain.

You can run a marathon -- if you can stand the pain.

You can get a degree -- if you can stand the pain.

You can lose weight -- if you can stand the pain.

Before you depart this page today, please take a moment to comment. I would love to hear what it is that you know you want to do...

Are you willing to stand the pain?

14 comments:

addhumorandfaith said...

"You can lose weight -- if you can stand the pain." Very timely. Amen, brother.

This is a great post, Sam. I especially like your description of the church no one would purposely set out to build.

I always know I can come here for fresh mental "meat" for my mind and soul to "chew on." Thank you.

Sam said...

Thank YOU, Sandra. Hope you are enjoying your time away! Happy New Year! Sam

Liz said...

It's funny... the levels of pain we can (or are willing to) endure.

I managed child birth better than I ever imagined I could. But the thought of the pain that would come with running a marathon- no way!

My pain to endure these days is fitness. My goal is to get a work out every day. 30 minutes of purposeful exercise, activity.

Laurie said...

Liz, me too! Fitness is my goal this year, if I can stand the pain!

beckiwithani said...

Our family will eat healthy, fresh, natural food every day ... if we can stand the extra planning, extra time, lack of shortcuts, and occasional cravings.

Scott said...

You've nailed it! You in your great wisdom nailed what I have felt for many years, but have never been able to understand. Why is there so much pain in what I do? You've answered the questions. Continueing to get into shape is my goal which carries with it physical pain and emotional battles - especially when you are lyingin a warm bed!

Dina said...

Great post! Thanks for your comment on my latest post! As you already know, we are on the same page regarding real growth requiring pain.

After taking two months off from running, I'll be dusting off my half-marathon training plan and begin painfully rebuilding what is so quickly lost tomorrow. I'll also try swearing off my addiction to chocolate to lose the five pounds I've managed to pack on in the last month - ugh!

Anne said...

Sam, I just want to thank you for the encouragement and leadership here. I am with a group and that helps me a lot. Thank you, all of you!

C. Beth said...

You can help your children learn to obey...if you can stand the pain.

mumof2 said...

Thanks for the wake up call Pastor Sam - I can stop spending money needlessly and save money...if I can stand the pain. michelle

Sandy Carlson said...

Sam, Well as I aready mentioned I am about to endure this week the pain of working out and eating healthier comes the following week when all my kids are back in school. It's much easier then. I also have to have pizza and Chili Pepper 1st! LOL! Another pain I'm going thru is leaving my other church. I know it's the right decision. In this change I am excited, scared and saddened. It is good because as you said, "growth means change" and I Praise GOD I am growing!

Sam said...

Before I head off to bed, thank you ALL for your comments today. I see that fitness is on many of your minds. Mine, too. I made a commitment to a 10K this Saturday and I'm quite sure I'm not ready. A number of you have been quite transparent in your comments. Thank you for sharing such personal parts of your lives.

Sam

Rachel Cotterill said...

So true, Sam. I was trying to explain the other day how growing up is about being mature enough to decide which things are worth the pain - and then to just get on with it (or draw a line under the things which are not worth it).

My PhD is the big one for me at the moment, though as with anything the 'pain' is in waves.

I'm going to walk 21 miles for a charity very close to my heart in September, so after that I suppose I have no excuse to avoid The Marathon in 2010.......

Brian said...

I agree Sam, change, growth, and challenges often bring pain. The problem I run into is that I cannot always discern the difference between the good pain and the pain associated when doing the wrong things. The warning pains to "stop", if you will. I think I need to pray, pray, pray,....
Thanks for taking the time to Blog.