Life is unpredictable, but suffering and hardship are guaranteed! Since we can’t escape it, we might as well learn how to grow from it and to move forward in life. Perhaps one of the best ways to learn how to grow through suffering is to look at some sure-fire ways to make your suffering worse! Avoid these 5 points, and you’ll be well on your way to growth in the midst of your suffering. Follow them, and you’ll ensure that your suffering will be much worse than it ever needs to be.
1. Be entitled
Entitlement leads to disappointment. We live in a world that teaches us to believe that we deserve nothing but the best, but Jesus promised us that troubles would undoubtedly be a part of our lives (John 16:33). Living a life of entitlement, and expecting nothing but your desired outcome, will leave you feeling devastated and miserable when suffering comes. If you don’t want to suffer well, feel entitled!
2. Have bad theology
Misunderstanding the character of God will set you up for disillusionment as you face the struggles that life will undeniably throw at you. Many people go through life blaming God for all of their hardships, or buckling under the weight of their past mistakes, believing that some cosmic force of cause and effect has punished them for their shortcomings. Equating blessings or curses to financial, material, and physical prosperity is not the message of the Bible. Bad theology, or misunderstanding God and His promises, is a serious problem that will only add to your suffering!
3. Isolate yourself
People who don’t want to suffer well will keep their problems to themselves. In Galatians 6:2, we are instructed to “carry each other’s burdens” and in James 5:16 we are taught to “confess [our] sins to each other and pray for each other so that [we] may be healed.” It is unwise and dangerous to go through life’s struggles in isolation, or believing that you’re the only one facing those issues. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” In other words, you’re not the only one going through what you’re going through! Everyone struggles, everyone screws up, everyone faces difficulty, but we deny the gift of the people that God has placed in our lives to help us through the tough times. If you don’t want to suffer well, isolate yourself
4. Expect answers
In suffering we are inclined to ask “why?”. We think we need to find the answer so that we can explain the reason why this is happening to us. But God is so much bigger than us, and His ways are beyond our comprehension. Job 36:26 says, “How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of His years is past finding out.” In the midst of suffering, God looks at our hearts and cares about our response to suffering. So the question shouldn’t be “why?”, but it should be “how?” How will you react in the face of suffering? How will you allow your experiences to shape you so that you will grow through suffering? Or, if you want to suffer badly, keep asking “why?” and expect to find an answer.
5. Live in the Past
One of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t suffer well is to look backwards in your life rather than forwards. This will singlehandedly ruin you in times of trouble. Ecclesiastes 7:10 reads, “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” When we live in the past, we hold ourselves back from what God is still wanting to accomplish in our lives. Looking back will tank you during suffering. So if you don’t want to suffer well, definitely live in the past.