Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Thankful for the Pain

Written by: on December 3, 2023

After thirty-eight days migraine free, I am on day seven of this migraine. I am at least past the “someone please give me a guillotine” phase, but the horrific head pain is not the only symptom. Nausea, exhaustion, tinnitus, stiff neck, struggling to concentrate, and sensitivity to light, sound, and smell… these are my current symptoms. But, as you all know, when you are a doctoral student, the work needs to get done. So here I am, trying to finish my last blog post of the semester, with yet another tiny print, long book. Chat GPT to the rescue. What can I learn from Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb?

At its core, antifragility is the idea that certain systems and entities not only withstand disorder and volatility but actually thrive and improve in the face of it. Taleb introduces the term “antifragile” as the opposite of “fragile” – where fragility implies vulnerability to shocks and disruptions, antifragility denotes resilience and even enhancement through exposure to chaos.[1]

It seems fitting to write this blogpost with a migraine. My struggle with this chronic illness is an example of what Taleb describes in Antifragile. “Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”[2] If I could go back twenty years and cure myself of migraines, I would not do it. I am grateful for these migraines, for the way I have grown over the past twenty years. I would not trade that growth for a pain free life.

Have you heard the song Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United? I love the bridge to this song:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour[3]

It is only in keeping my eyes on Jesus, in trusting in Him that I am able to navigate life with my health challenges. I would rather live every single day of my life with a migraine than ever think that I can go a second on my own strength.

When we are faced with challenges, we have a choice. Do we use the resistance to gain strength, or do we give up? It is not easy. There are days when just rising from bed is a triumph, and days where I barely move. Then there are days where I feel like I can accomplish anything. Today is an in between day. I am able to get up and moving, able to focus at least marginally, able to accomplish something.

We all face challenges. The challenges you face will be different than the ones I face, but you still have that same choice. Will you seek God and push through? Will you learn the lesson in the challenge, the growth in the challenge, or will you turn back to the easy path, the painless path? My husband has heard me ask for a guillotine on numerous occasions. He always tells me to not take a permanent solution to a temporary problem. No, I am not serious when I ask for the guillotine, I am just expressing to him the pain I am feeling. But his words have wisdom. The pain will eventually come to an end. What am I learning in the midst of it? I am learning trust and faith. I am learning resilience and growth. I am learning antifragility.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 ”But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”


[1] ChatGPT https://chat.openai.com/c/65fad62a-6840-489c-b2b0-ef26d876ded9

[2] Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder. (New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2012), 3.

[3] Hillsong United, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” produced by Michael Guy Chislett, https://genius.com/Hillsong-united-oceans-where-feet-may-fail-lyrics

About the Author


Becca Hald

Becca is an ordained Foursquare minister, serving as the Online Community Pastor at Shepherd's House Church. She has over twenty-five years of leadership experience both inside and outside the church. Becca has served her community in many capacities ranging from Administrative Assistant and Children’s Ministry Director to Secretary and President of multiple school organizations. She and her husband, Andrew have been married for over 25 years. They have two adult children, Drew and Evelyn. Her great passion is to equip others, to raise awareness about mental health, and to help reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues. In her free time, she loves going to Disneyland, reading, sewing, and making cards.

6 responses to “Thankful for the Pain”

  1. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Hi Becca,
    Thank you for such an honest, vulnerable post. I really like the idea of “antifragile” as a concept to consider against the buzzy term, “resilience.” Both are the right direction, yet antifragile seems to address the mentality needed for our time.
    That’s what I appreciate about your post. I connected with this that you said, “Do we use the resistance to gain strength, or do we give up? It is not easy.” I think you highlight the two sides to the coin with the question and the experience of it. It is not easy but that is the question before all of us when we face challenges. Thank you for pushing through.

  2. Kristy Newport says:

    Great writing! Especially in the condition you are in!
    I pray you continue to have the grace that is sufficient for you…having power in weakness.

  3. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    Becca, I hope that things are getting better. The fight is hard but it is worth it. How does antifragility fit into your project?

  4. Becca – You and I were in a similar boat this week. I call it “the sisterhood of suffering.” It’s not a group anyone asks to be a part of, but gosh how we understand and have empathy for each other. I’m so proud of you for getting your post done even when you weren’t feeling well. I know God has worked the good in your suffering and will continue to do so, although I’m also praying for your relief! Our human bodies are indeed fragile, but ONE DAY we will be free of the pain and suffering. Until then, know you are loved and that is enough.

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