We’re all trekking thru this life together and it is so important to be a light for others around us. Admittedly, sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Just look around you. If you’re at all like me, either you’re going through a trial or noticing that many, many, many of your friends are. Honestly, it seems like it’s getting a little heated around here! Just turn on the news.
A quick glance around me and I see cancer, suicide, loss of job, relationship challenges, strife, heartache, division – oh my…Enough!!! Don’t be discouraged – we can truly trek thru with grace. Let’s talk…
Life is full of trials. Always has been. Always will be. That’s how we get our experience! And experience is what gets us to the next level.
Did you ever read that book (or seen the movie) “The Giver” by Lois Lowry? The setting is a Utopian society in which there is no pain, no war, no poverty, no suffering, no emotions, absolutely nothing negative! A dream come true!!! Interestingly enough, as you make your way through the story, you begin to realize the value of struggle and pain. In the end, the society is seen not as a Utopia but instead as a Dystopia – where people are dehumanized, and the natural world is distrusted. God knew what He was doing when He assigned us to work and struggle a bit! Struggle builds confidence and character. Pain allows us to celebrate joy even more!
Imagine you are putting together a jigsaw puzzle and you pick up two pieces that fit perfectly together. Excitedly, you place the pieces together and then reach to find a couple more pieces that fit. You search for similar patterns. Shuffling and organizing the pieces, nothing seems to fit! So you move on to a new pattern… You know the drill. Nothing fits like you hope it will. Frustration strikes, but oh! Look, there’s one that looks like it will work, No! – it doesn’t – but wait try this one! Although you don’t realize it, in the process of putting the puzzle together you build patience, perseverance, and push through frustration.
That’s how we build character – by Trekking Thru the struggles! Experience is necessary. And it’s never complete if we just try to get out of our trials rather than pushing through them.
So how do you Trek Thru those trials with grace?
Remember every cloud has a Silver Lining –
The silver lining may come in the form of a friend that reaches out, an opportunity to use your experience to help someone else in the future, a deeper perspective, etc. God’s word says that He works everything for good for those people who are His. Last year, when I went through cancer, I met one of the most precious ladies who I reached out to, we clicked and since then, we have become fast friends! Actually, I have met and strengthened many relationships during my journey through the big C.
You know that phrase, “This too shall pass” – it’s a bit harsh, maybe even cold… but it is true. Everything has a season. Even difficult seasons pass. Stay positive and fight discouragement. It is a choice to look at the glass half empty or half full. Keep your eyes on God and what He says is true.
Reach Out to Others
There is nothing quite so therapeutic as putting your problems on hold to reach out and help someone else. This simple exercise adjusts our perspective and helps to show us that there is hope. Even in the pain, God can use us to touch and change the lives of those around us. That’s pretty cool!
Acknowledge that Trials Bring Growth
None of us want to be average. Average is boring! We have an intrinsic desire to make a difference and change the world for the better. That requires growth, empathy, and know-how that comes from experience. Remember, in order to get to the next stair you have to lift your leg a little higher and exert some energy!
When things come too easy, or too quickly for us, we tend to be judgmental towards others who struggle. There is a sense of understanding and empathy that’s missing. It’s hard to understand why someone struggles so much when we didn’t have to. When our sons were little there was a bit of a debate about whether or not “Competition” was good. Some moms promoted the mindset, “Everyone’s a winner!” While others insisted that competition was healthy and an important part of childhood. What I noticed was the moms with athletic kids thought competition was healthy and the moms with not-so-athletic kids typically thought competition was bad. It’s human nature to want things to be easy – especially for our children. But, experience is what brings us that deeper understanding and empathy that helps us to be relatable to others.
Embrace the trials of life, knowing that they have the power to transform you and take you to the next level… but you have to trek thru them – not around them!
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