Hurts So Good {On Learning to Stay With It}

by Andrea Kolber


I could feel the burn in my legs, as my quadriceps seemed to be on fire. Sweat would drip down off my eyebrows, but still we stayed with it. Each of my teammates doing their best to tough out a difficult part of practice.

And so we did: Breathe in, breathe out, push, groan, push, and finally the glorious whistle that would tell us we could break.

Wall sits were one of my least favorite parts of basketball practice, but for folks who needed strong legs to be successful they were terribly necessary.

I vividly remember the point at which it felt like my legs would give out. But then something amazing happened, they didn’t. Almost like finding a new room within myself, I constantly was learning that I had more to give. Some days I knew how to get to rooms where my energy and inspiration lived, but some days felt like a maze where I knew there was an ending, but didn’t have any idea where it was.

Truth be told, I don’t do wall sits much anymore.

But I still use the principal that I learned from those practices. Everyday in life, there are times that I just don’t want to do what needs to be done. No, I’m not a huge fan of uncomfortable. It might be talking though a difficult issue with my husband or being the one to ask about the loss or looking a homeless person in the eye and asking how they’re doing.

But if I can lean in, and find the resources to stay in that hard place, beautiful things can grow.

**

I also learned another important piece from walls sits and basketball practice. There is a difference between pain that means something is wrong vs. pain that means I’m growing.

And that’s important, with this type of burn.

We have to pay attention to the type of discomfort we’re feeling. Because I’ll tell you what, a fractured foot felt a whole lot different than legs that were tired. One made my legs and body strong, and the other caused me to sit on the bench because I was broken for a while.

So in order for us to do this work of leaning in, physically or emotionally, we must pay attention. Ultimately, the proof of our actions is in the result it brings.

A great example is in relationships. It can be painful to talk about topics that are uncomfortable but necessary, and yet when done appropriately it can cause our relationships to flourish.

And just like our body, there is a difference between engaging in relationships that are abusive or toxic, versus ones which are in process and working to be better.

It is always worthwhile to assess and ask, which type of pain is this?

**

I think back to the burn of those wall sits and I remember, that what didn’t seem possible actually was.

I believe God is gracious to us in those hard places and joins us there in our valleys and in the thin places of life. I have learned that He is my fuel and my best resource for the confusing and even the intolerable places. He is the filler of the parts of me that appear weakest.

And so as we pay attention to the areas of our life that seem uncomfortable and hard and messy, may I invite you to ask God to meet you there? To know that whatever may come, you are loved and that He is our highest good and resource by which you can lean in?

Join me there?