Pain is inevitable if you are going to lead anyone else besides yourself. Your capability to lead others will be directly tied to the amount of pain you can endure while you are leading them. If you are pain adverse don’t lead others. If you don’t like confrontation don’t go into ministry. Pain is one of the results of the fall of man and since that time people just haven’t gotten along. Trying to get people who don’t get along is that leadership is. To be honest though sometimes the pain can be unbearable. It’s then when you realize the Christian saying: “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” is so far from the truth. Does God bring you through it? Yes. Do you have the strength in you to endure it? Not even close.
That is what makes Sam Chand’s book “Leadership Pain” so good. To be honest I couldn’t put it down but there were times I wanted to throw the book out of my office (which wouldn’t be smart because I read all my books through the Kindle app on my iPad). His whole thesis is that “We only grow to the threshold of pain we are able to endure.” There is so much truth in that but I had never considered it from that perspective. Over and over again he hits you with quotes that support that like; “ If you’re not hurting, you’re not leading” and “Often the difference between where I am and where God wants me to be is the pain I’m unwilling to endure.” How many times have I avoided painful situations and then I am stuck with the problem a lot longer than I should’ve been? Leaders have to endure pain, it comes with the job. Many leaders don’t arrive at where God wants them to be because they didn’t have a big enough pain threshold.
If you think about it, all of us have grown and learned the most from our pain. It has drawn us closer to Jesus and helped us realize how inadequate we are. We have to realize as Chand says; “Pain isn’t the enemy. Our inability to face it is a far greater danger.” Ignoring the pain causes devastating long term consequences but there is hope. Our pain tells us we are doing something right and headed in the right direction. If there was no resistance or pain in our ministry then something is really be wrong.
So how do you handle this pain? What if you’re sitting here and bleeding from the battles you have been through? Dr. Chand gives us some advice: Understand your pain, clarify the lessons you are learning, spend time with leaders who have higher pain thresholds than you, be aware of your internal temperature, and listen to your wife or best friend.
There are so many nuggets in this book. He interweaves some great stories that really bring home the point. This is not a psychological tome in which it defines the scientific effect of pain on our brains but deals in real life ministry on how pain affects and us and how we can better deal with it. If you are struggling with pain that you can’t control I recommend reading this book.