My husband, Dan and I went to the gym and when we were leaving, he told me about an experience he had at the gym.
He was looking around at all of the people working out at the gym - on the track, lifting weights, using the equipment - and he had this thought that people actually come to a gym ON PURPOSE to do hard things.
We actually PAY for a membership so that we can regularly do hard stuff that causes us pain.
Why would we do this?
We do it because it keeps our bodies healthy and helps us gain physical muscle. You see, in order for our muscles to grow and become stronger, they actually have to be torn down first. As long as we are working the muscles properly, once they tear, they repair and get stronger.
Sometimes when I am experiencing pain in life or going through something hard, I have questioned if, when I chose in the pre-existence to follow Christ's plan to come down to earth, I truly knew what I was signing up for. Did I really know it was going to be this hard? I sometimes joke that if I knew, maybe I would have thought twice.
But when Dan and I talked about this, I realized, that choosing to come down here was like choosing to go to the gym.
In order for us to get stronger spiritually, we have to go through hard things. Sometimes it requires a similar process where we feel like we are being torn apart, but the times when we go through those things can actually make us stronger if we are doing it correctly. Similar to gaining physical muscle and staying physically healthy, we gain spiritual muscles and stay spiritually healthy by going through hard things and relying on the Lord.
The times when I have worked the hardest at the gym and felt the most pain are when I have been the most healthy and felt my best physically.
The times when I have faced my hardest trials and felt a great deal of pain are when I have relied on my Savior and my Heavenly Father the most and when I have felt the stongest and happiest spiritually and emotionally.
This experience made me realize that I want to continue to choose to do hard things on purpose....both physically and spiritually.