Finding joy in pain

The pain to be different

Have you ever noticed that sometimes in life we start new projects or relationships with the expectation that they will be not only be good and rewarding, but also that the journey will be enjoyable?

I’ve found this to be true in new jobs, work out plans (I really have tried), healthy eating, marriage, parenting, and even friendships.  I set out on a journey thinking it’s going to be so wonderful because I really want it and it’s such a good thing.  But when this doing this good thing starts to get hard, I get disheartened and the temptation to quit shows up in big neon flashing signs, pointing to an easier path.

HeartStories is a great example of this.

When I quit my job to start HeartStories, I naively believed it would feel effortless because my heart was focused on doing this very good thing.  My focus was to help women not be held back by the false stories they believe about themselves to do what they are meant to do in the world.  To live their HeartStories.   It wasn’t supposed to be painful.  It was supposed to be fun and life-giving and rewarding.

Then it got hard.

With the hard came temptation to quit.  Not just temptation though, there was pressure to quit. It got lonely and confusing.  Other people stopped believing and couldn’t understand why I would keep going if it was so hard.  If at any point I could quit and go back to my old career and make this pain go away, why wouldn’t I?

I didn’t quit then, and I don’t quit now, because I want something different.

I recently heard  a guy named Gary Thomas say, “People at the gym don’t complain about their muscles hurting, the pain, or the sweat.  They expect it and it’s worth it, because they want to become a different person.  If we were half as obsessed with learning how to love as we were with being loved, we’d be in a much better place.”


What if we could shift our perspective to expect the pain, the hard work, the loneliness? What if instead of dreaming of “happily ever after”, we had more realistic plans, because what we really want is to become a different person, to get a different result?

I know for me, with HeartStories, it would have made all the difference in the world back then.  I know it because it makes all the difference now.  I no longer expect that doing meaningful, purposeful work in the world will come easy.  I don’t expect everyone to understand and want to be part of it, but I’m learning how to focus my efforts to get the result I seek.  And it’s all about love.

These days, I’m intent on learning how to love, instead of expecting to receive love. 

What’s that like for you?

Are you showing up at the gym, looking to become a different person, but not expecting the hurt, the pain and the sweat that goes along with that journey.  Sister, I hear ya.

Don’t quit.

Becoming different. . . creating change. . . moving forward. . . getting a different result . . .none of it comes easy.  It’s hard.

But you can find joy in it, because you know where you’re headed and it’s totally worth it.

You’ve got this.

to more love,


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