I hope you found last week to be encouraging as we learned about walking With Jesus and agonizing with Him over life’s trials and tribulations.
This week, we are going to focus on the second sorrowful mystery which is the Scourging at the Pillar. Here, Jesus gets whipped by the soldiers before He gets sentenced to death on the cross.
Let’s take a moment and remember that Jesus suffered more than anyone. He also walks with us as we deal with suffering in our own lives as well.
The symbolism of scourging can take place in many forms within our own lives. We can experience what feels like scourging through our daily anxieties of living. For example, suffering can look like going to a job we dislike, having challenging relationships, feeling sad from tragedies that take place around the world or feeling just frustrated and discontent.
No one wants to suffer, even Jesus pleaded with God before he was crucified “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not My Will but Yours be done” Luke 22:42.
Suffering reminds us of death, and therefore, it is our first instinct to run away from it, and fast.
But hold on…
Unfortunately, we will have to suffer because it is part of life… AND It seems like no one can escape it. Not even Jesus!
S0, how do we deal with it so we can swiftly move on from it?
Even though anxiety and difficult situations are extremely difficult to bare, we do have the ability to change our perspective regarding them to make them a little less daunting.
Firstly, if we choose to accept the suffering, rather than struggle against it, we can suffer with Christ, and therefore be resurrected with Him as well.
Giving into the suffering, or accepting the present moment, gives us the freedom to take the next steps in our journey rather than being stuck in the place of our suffering.
If you are anything like me, I think about the negative event that has taken place over and over again, unnecessarily reliving it while being stuck in the past.
Why do I do this to myself?
Eckhart Tolle, the great Spiritual Teacher says, “Accept, then act: whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it…this will miraculously change your whole life.”
Here are the three ways that we can choose to accept the present moment and therefore be free from our pain and suffering:
1). Check in with yourself
When we are under stress or anxiety we tend to hold our breath. In fact, the word anxiety in Latin means to strangle. So check in with yourself. Are you holding your breath? Not breathing could be the reason that you feel a significant amount of stress and anxiety in your body and mind.
In fact, it could likely set off the amygdala in your brain– causing a reaction of flight or flight response (fleeing the negative experience or running away as fast as humanly possible). This feeling of panic hijacks our brain. This is why we can’t think when we are under extreme stress.
2). Whatever is going on–choose to breathe! Just… Breathe!
This seems obvious, BUT…
Take a deep breath, or two, or three. If you are in a crowded space go to a quiet room for a moment and slow down. However long it takes for you to feel calm again. Breathing naturally will help you calm your central nervous system and therefore make you feel relaxed again.
3). Make Boundaries!
Respect your mind and body and your limits. If a relationship or event is causing you to be angry or unhappy or stressed, try setting boundaries. For example: if you have a friend who upsets you consistently, only talk to her on the phone once per week rather than every day.
This could be the hardest step of all. Breathe into your suffering. Lean into your suffering.
What, you say? Why?
I PROMISE it will help you feel better….just wait… a few moments.
For example: If you just had an argument with a friend or relative, instead of instinctually numbing the pain through scrolling through social media, having a drink of alcohol, or eating a cookie, sit with the feeling. Warning: this WILL be uncomfortable, but doable!
However, it WILL get easier. And it will provide you with the opportunity to get to know yourself better and help you understand why you are feeling the way you are feeling. This will give you more control over the situation, especially regarding your actions towards it.
Suffering is never easy, but, these tips will help you deal with it a little easier. And if you need a little more inspiration, remember, Jesus suffered more than any of us.