Your Pain is a Platform
I often wonder why my good day can't be everyone else's good day. It feels selfish to admit, but sometimes, it's tough to weep with the weeping when you really don't want to be weeping. I feel this in marriage and friendships all the time. One of us is having a bad day, and we need a shoulder to cry on, but the other person is in the midst of a truly joyful season. They do their best, they lend a listening ear, but you begin to feel bad for dumping all of your woes on them, so you internalize. The simple truth is that life moves in different seasons for even the closest of friends, and relationships will always require you to step out of your own bubble and enter someone else's, be it good or bad. I recently finished the book Through the Eyes of a Lion by pastor Levi Lusko (ps. I highly recommend it). One of my favorite takeaways from the book was the concept that the pain in your life is designed to be a platform to the people around you. Lusko said, “Suffering isn’t an obstacle to being used by God. It is an opportunity to be used like never before.” While this is extremely important to understand during our own seasons of suffering, I think it's equally crucial that we take hold of this truth in times when everything is "fine" in our own lives. Why?
it draws you close to god
The biggest moments of suffering in my life were the times when I heard God's voice the most. It was the season that I wanted to so desperately escape, but I also felt the most protected. Allowing our pain to become a platform for the people around us is a reminder in our own lives that God is never far away.
it reminds you that nothing is coincidence
Watching someone close to you experience a similar hurt is never easy, but it is a reminder that nothing in this life is coincidence. God allowed your specific story to be interwoven with the people in your life, and He has allowed opportunities for support and growth when we choose to be vulnerable and share our hurts with our people.
it ties your threads together
I also just finished the book Restless by Jennie Allen (second BIG recommendation for your summer reading list), and she discussed a similar theme in the terms of discovering your purpose. All throughout the book, she urged the reader to recognize "threads" in their life and different moments of joy or pain that shaped them. When I've chosen to be vulnerable and allowed my pain to be a platform for someone else, it has been an "aha" moment in my own life. It's shown me that, years later, God is still working to make beautiful things out of dust. He's tying our threads together to shape our story and tying our threads with other people to create lasting community.
So, even when you don't want to, lean into your person's bad day, whether they be a spouse, best friend, or coworker. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and the two of you will be better for it.