“…[C]ount it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2-3
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-5
Whenever adversity makes its presence known in our lives, it is very easy to slip into “woe is me” mode. Why is this happening to me? Why is my day unfolding this way? Why can’t things go my way?
I had a “woe is me” kind of Sunday. I felt myself slipping into a very bad mood and I was resistant to getting over it. I was wrestling with a complicated family issue; I was looking back at all the work I didn’t do this weekend; I was dreading the week ahead; I kept harping on how tired I felt. I started to feel like the scales were tipping out of my favor and I didn’t like it.
So I stepped back, phoned a friend, and remembered those verses.
The verses above are reminders that difficult times prepare us for the good and the bad that will come. Trials, no matter the form – struggle, speed bumps, hills, valleys, crooked paths, set-backs, delays, altered plans – give us tools we need to build ourselves up. Read that sequence: tribulation » perseverance » character » hope. Each adds something to the others and couldn’t really exist without what came before.
This week, appreciate the trials you face. Something is likely to stop you in your tracks and distract you from your immediate task, goal, or path. Keep an open mind about the lessons you can learn from it. When the dust settles (or even as it’s swirling up around you) think about these things:
- How did you handle the situation in the moment?
- What you could have done differently?
- Did you learn anything from the experience?
- How will you apply the lesson(s) going forward?
Reflection isn’t always easy, especially immediately following an experience that upset you or threw you for a loop. I challenge you to try it anyway. And recognize that because you are (1) reflecting on the other side of whatever the experience was and (2) making steps to move on, you’ve already gained something. Be grateful for that.
Wishing you peace & joy,