Hardship hurts and suffering sucks.

But there’s very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all.

Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to stretch outside of our current comfort zones. But no matter how we feel, we don’t have to be buried by our challenges and circumstances. Instead, we can recognize that God has planted us right where we are for a reason: It’s time to get growing.

Here’s how.