There is much suffering in our hearts, bodies, relationships, and world that is out of our control. There are some who choose to inflict gratuitous suffering upon themselves wrongly. Yet, there is a way to choose to personally suffer - to do what is hard - for good reason and purpose. Athletes choose to suffer physical pain to improve their skills and strive for victory. Academics choose to suffer mental tension in order to delve more deeply into subject matter and/or to get good grades. Workers choose to suffer when they smile at a cranky customer, follow the directions of a bully boss, or allow a subordinate an unearned mercy, in order to earn income. Patients choose to follow treatment plans to heal. Each suffers and sacrifices, gives up, something less important in order to gain something more important.
As we begin Lent, we are asked to sacrifice, let go, or give up something - to do something hard in order to draw closer to God. Lent is a perfect season to learn how to choose and suffer well. From EWTN:
Give up complaining - focus on gratitude.Reasonably speaking, I know you suffer. My love, prayers, support, and encouragement to hang in there are with you.
Give up pessimism - become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments - think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry - trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement - be full of hope.
Give up bitterness - turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred - return good for evil.
Give up negativism - be positive.
Give up anger - be more patient.
Give up pettiness - become mature.
Give up gloom - enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy - pray for trust.
Give up gossiping - control your tongue.
Give up sin - turn to virtue.
Give up giving up - hang in there!