Do I need to embrace my suffering, or can I get rid of it?


#1

I’m a new Catholic - just this last year - and am not sure I understand the whole idea of “offering up suffering.” This is a new concept for me!

I need some advice for what to do.

Okay - my “suffering:” I have a very stressful job - I hate it more than I can express. I’m starting to have medical health issues related to stress - and I’m only in my mid 40’s. This job constantly causes me to lose sleep, and I know the stress is also detrimental to my spiritual life. At times, I’ve been required to work excessive overtime which is obviously detrimental to my “family time” commitment as well. Often when I get home, I’m too exhausted to contribute time to the family. I’m burned out (have had this job for almost 7 years) and yet, this job pays enough for us to live in my wife’s “dream house” in a wealthy neighborhood. My wife does not work outside the home, so the full financial burden falls on my shoulders.

Currently our three kids are “plugged in” to events, friendships, and schools in the neighborhood and my wife is near her family, and enjoys living in an affluent environment and having “nice things.”

Here’s my dilemma: You can probably tell that I’m not “embracing my suffering” at this point. I desperately want to take a less stressful job, but we would have to move to a less affluent area and my kids may have to change schools. Such a move would be wonderful for me and my needs, but my wife and children are quite happy in their current situation and would be quite resistant to any change. In past years, my wife has threatened divorce (and legal manipulation aimed at keeping her house) when I have complained about this situation.

I’m not sure I understand how this “suffering thing” works. Do I need to embrace the situation in which I currently find myself? If I change my situation (over my family’s strenuous objections - and possibly at the price of divorce) am I rejecting my suffering?

In case you thought this was going to be easy, here’s an added twist that makes this an even more difficult decision for me: My wife and kids are not Catholic. Yet, they are slowly coming to an understanding and openness to Catholicism. I’m very concerned about what damage I might do to my testimony (and their progress) if I “shake up their world” too much.

At the same time, however, I’m reminded of the dangers of materialism for my family - it won’t profit my wife or kids to gain the whole world (at my expense) and lose their souls in the long run. Maybe I need to force this issue for ALL of our benefit.

Please - give me some advice! Thanks for your help.


#2

We are called to embrace sufferings, yes, but at the same time it’s not a requirement for us to continually be miserable. God gives us crosses to bear and you could choose to continue to live in your current situation and offer it up, but it sounds like your stress is pretty high up there if it’s too the point you are suffering physical health issues due to it.

Your situation sounds very tricky and I don’t know what you do for a living so is it possible for you to stay in that area and find another job that pays comparable to what you have now? Maybe you should try praying and offering novenas for a new job. It might take a while for God to send a new job your way…I was praying for my husband’s new job for over a year, but it was worth it! He got this killer job, but we are gonna have to move, which is causing some stress within the family, but it’s for the best. You have to decide what is best for your whole family overall…I think your current job is a detriment to you and your family so you should definitely get a new one. I will offer prayers your way!


#3

Look for a new job…less stressful and as comparable of pay as possible. Offer everything up for your family in the meantime…


#4

The joy of the Lord is my strength. God does not call us to live in misery. He came to heal the sick and set prisoners free.
Do ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as to where He would have you be.
I agree with kevinsgirl. While it is true that we are called to “pick up our cross daily and carry it,” we are also called to live in freedom as children of the light. How can we reflect God’s light if we find ourselves in an oppressive and stifling situation? We are children of God. Does a loving father want bad things for his children? Does he want us sick or well? From what you write, the illnesses you are experiencing may be your body (the temple of the Holy Spirit) telling you to go elsewhere.
Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations in which we are powerless. When we offer up a specific situation, we place it in the hands of God. Again, we are called to live in joy, not misery.


#5

I agree with the previous posters. It might be helpful to think of the Serentity Prayer and consider that you have to think of your whole family.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


#6

The suffering we offer up is the suffering we have because we have chosen the path God wishes and others don’t agree. My husband is not Catholic. He doesn’t believe in NFP yet I won’t bend on the issue. He can make my life very difficult over this situation. That difficulty is suffering that I offer up. When I get myself into a situation like yours, I offer this prayer up to God, “God I am to dumb to figure this one out on my own, so you will have to make it very clear for me!” I then fast and pray. God always makes it abundantly clear for me. Remember people are more important than things and we always want the highest and best for our loved ones. The highest and best is heaven.
God Bless and I will be praying for you.


#7

Tom,
We are not called to suffer if it is self-imposed. You are sacrificing for your wife and kids to have a nice life, from a material point of view. While that is really nice, it’s not what’s important.

If the “good life” gets in the way of you having a good life, then maybe there is some change needed.


#8

Your wife is a manipulative spoiled brat.

I can’t believe she would want you in a job that is causing you physical illness so that she can have a “nice” house and sit on her butt all day. She’s an embarrassment to all women!

I think you need to talk to her and tell her that you will be looking for other employment because of your health. You may or may not find a similar pay. If she wants to keep the house-- she can get a job.

No, you are not required to self-inflict suffering. Suffering for the Kingdom means standing up for whta is right, even at the cost of ridicule. Our physical conditions cause us pain and suffering-- while we can certainly seek treatment we cannot seek that which is outside God’s design (for example, euthanasia). So offering up our illnesses and suffering to God does not mean we cannot seek treatment. Our emotional suffering, grief, etc, should all be united with Christ’s suffering.

Wives are called to be supporting and loving of their husbands-- not to treat them as a cash machine. Christ wasn’t a doormat-- don’t think he was.


#9

Have to agree with Paul above - the MOST IMPORTANT thing for us to do is to help our families get to heaven. Materialism is not pretty - many prayers that your wife will come to see what IS important in this life, and in the next.


#10

Pre-qualify here… is it a “job”, or are you the owner of the business??

If it’s a “job”… quit…OR talk to your supervisor and threaten to quit - unless they lighten your load - or give you a raise.

It’s a very common business tactic to pile on tasks to a willing employee. “More productivity for the same money… GO GO GO!”

I went through this just a while ago with my wife (salaried). She came home one day “Well, now I’ve got this project, and part of this one, and then another… on top of what I’ve already got…”… Luckily there was a “Team/Family Dinner Thing” scheduled in a few days. I met her boss/co-workers. Over chit-chat with her boss he mentioned “Yeah, “X” (my DW) is great - we’ve just given her several more projects to handle!”…

My reply was “Yeah, I heard about that… That’s great - since her workload has increased by 1/3rd, that extra 1/3rd PAY RAISE will come in handy!”

“Whoa, 1/3rd pay raise??”
“Well, your expecting more work in the same time, so there’s a corresponding increase in pay… right?”
“Well, uh…”

(the extra “projects” got lifted and diverted to other “venues”… within her “team” without recourse to my wife’s record/employment.)

Work = Pay

Unless you own the business and can reap the profits, your time = dollars.


#11

Thanks to you all for your advice.

Not sure what the end result will be, but I’m feeling better about looking for a different job - looks like it is the right thing to do. The pay isn’t even the issue - in fact, I just got a very healthy bonus 2 weeks ago. I just need my life back.

And if the job change (and possible location change) causes family strife or even divorce, I’ll embrace that suffering when it comes.

Thanks for your comments on “valid suffering” as opposed to “self-inflicted suffering.” It makes a lot more sense now.

Also, thanks for your prayers.


closed #12

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