The tough lessons of life can make you bitter, broken, or better. What have they done to you? If you want adversity to make you stronger and wiser, you need to realize that you are better for it.
TOUGH LIFE LESSONS
Welcome to Mindful Monday and our conclusion of 5 TOUGH LIFE LESSONS FROM 2018 THAT WILL MAKE 2019 BETTER. I began this series over six weeks ago with a singular goal in mind: to learn from the past to make the future better. 2018 was a difficult year for me (as it was for many of you!) filled with loss, pain, and doubt. While I was tempted to turn the page on the past and begin with a fresh, new chapter, I knew there were valuable lessons to glean from my mistakes, hurts, and regrets. If I genuinely believed that God does not waste anything in our lives and can use it all for our good and his glory, I needed to be open and willing to see, hear, learn and grow.
Our first life lesson began with learning to trust God despite our circumstances. The second lesson showed us how to choose courage over comfort. In week three, we learned the importance of identifying and choosing people in our tribe. Do you see a pattern in these lessons? We began first with our relationship with God, next with our relationship with ourselves, and then we moved to how we connect with others. Last week, we began looking toward the future by learning how (with God’s help) to build a better boat.
PERSPECTIVE & ATTITUDE
My final tough life lesson of the past year has to do with perspective and attitude. We live in a culture of victimhood where it is easy to blame others, shame ourselves, and make excuses for why we act the way we do. We have been taught to believe that n
But taking on the role of victim leaves us weak, hopeless, and unable to change and grow. We have a choice to take everything that happens to us (the good, the bad, the messy, the unfair, and the ugly) and use it for our good.
TOUGH LIFE LESSON #5: REALIZE YOU ARE BETTER FOR IT
A little over two years ago, I wrote a post entitled “Bitter, Broken, or Better: What Will Adversity Do to You?”. Little did I know that I would soon face a wilderness that would force me to answer that very question…to practice what I preach!
I had to ask myself some of the perplexing questions of faith and life. Am I willing to accept only blessings from God and curse Him when things are hard, unjust, or complicated? Am I willing to trust the promise of Romans 8:28 that he can and will work ALL things (that includes the good, the bad, the messy, the unfair, and the ugly) for my good and his glory?
WHEN IT HURTS, THERE’S A REAL GOOD REASON
Again, it was lyrics from a song that revealed the bold truth I needed to hear.
“When it hurts, there’s a
You let me be where I’ve been
So I can be all that I am
Better for it.”“Better For It” song by Riley Clemmons
And I can honestly tell you that the woman who is writing this post today is not the same woman who began writing over six years ago. Although I would not have chosen the wilderness God led me to and through, I now believe that he purposefully and intentionally took me there and allowed me to experience pain, doubt, fear, loss, and rejection to draw me closer to himself and to make me more like Christ.
His “real good reasons” included:
- To restore and renew me, not to rebuke me.
- To teach and train me, not to torment me.
- To protect and prepare me, not to punish me.
PRESENT SUFFERING VS. FUTURE GLORY
Although I already referenced Romans 8:28 which is a verse many of us know and quote often, it is important to look at the context of that verse and understand the entirety of Paul’s message.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.Romans 8:18-30 (ESV)
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[a] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[b] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
There is so much to unpack in this passage, but I will focus on the things that relate to today’s lesson: Realize you are better for it.
- Our present sufferings do not compare to the future glory that awaits us in heaven (vs.18).
- Our groanings make us hope for the day when God releases us (and all of creation) from the bondage of sin and suffering (vs. 19-25).
- Our weaknesses and shortcomings, if submitted to God’s will, can transform us into the image of Jesus so that we can live out God’s purpose for our lives (vs. 26-30).
ARE YOU BETTER FOR IT?
Only you can answer that question on this Mindful Monday, dear friend. It is a daily choice we make between being a victim or victor. A decision whether we allow adversity to make us bitter, broken, or better. A conscious and deliberate effort to declare today that we are truly BETTER FOR IT.
Here is the full song by Riley Simmons if you are interested. Trust me, it will get stuck in your head today and you will be singing, along with me, “I’m better for it!”
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