I know we get tired and we want to give up. I know that pain gets “old” and like rocks in our shoes rubs, cuts, and callouses. No one wants to hurt. No one wants to experience pain. The truth is that all of our lives are bent towards pain. It hurts to stay stuck and it hurts to grow. Our choices then rest in which pain we will choose.
I blogged on this subject some before in my article “When It’s Too Much” where I talked about our ability to feel and experience and feel pain is in direct proportion to our ability to give and receive love. Somehow this paradox opens us, enlarges us, and gives us a greater capacity to embrace one another and embrace the God who made us. True also is the fatigue and overwhelming feeling of pain that we cannot control. Tragedies, choices of others, disease, and prolonged hope all work against our will to continue on. The most dangerous words we can say when this happens are these three: “I don’t care.”
“I don’t care” is often the phrase you say before you pick up the alcohol bottle and drown your sorrows. It is heard before someone chooses adultery in a marriage. If not spoken out loud, it is in the mind of the one who fills their hand with sleeping pills and swallows them down quickly. It’s on the lips of the one who despite the danger, ventures out into behavior that will reap deadly or painful consequences. I’ve heard these words over and over. I myself am guilty of saying them.
To stop caring is to shut the door of growth and change. To stop caring is to cut off your legs and believe you will sail through life unchallenged. You just cannot afford to not care. “But Cate,” you say, “If I say I care then it will require something of me.” You are right. Even if the pain or trouble you are facing is not your fault, you have responsibilities as well as options in your control to make a change and choose the path of pain that leads to growth, and yes, hope.
It’s our “I don’t care” attitude that gets us into messes, and it will be our “I choose to care” attitude that will begin the walk out of it. Take your choice to care, bathe it in prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to help you, and start walking in the direction of change. Call on others to pray for you and encourage you when it gets too hard or too painful. Live a life of accountability where someone knows your “flight plan” and holds you to it.
Not everything I choose to care about will change just because I cared, but I can guarantee that I will have changed by the process of pain and discomfort that caring brings me through. And if caring inspires faith and hope in another, I am living most like my Father in heaven who “…so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) God cared enough for you and me to experience a pain that would forever change us and leave Him with permanent scars and reminders of the price He paid. Remember, pain has an expiration date, but love goes on and on into eternity. Choose the pain of growth and hope.