My past few years have been full of beautiful times and blessings…and also the hardest challenges I’ve ever faced. During that time I’ve learned something quite interesting: I now believe trials and disappointment just might be the fastest (albeit bumpiest) path to clarifying what matters most to me. Hard times have proven to be the perfect time to refine away the distractions of life until there is but one thing left: The True Desires of My Heart.
The saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Looking back over the past few years, I suppose I can say yes, that’s true. Technically. But why? In my case, I can see how time and challenges have changed how I view life and, indeed, they have changed me. And that is how we can grow stronger!
It’s more than the “power of positive thinking.” It’s using life’s let-downs as a way to learn more about ourselves, and to use that as a catalyst for change.
I had a disappointment recently in my professional life; the kind of let-down that can take up a little too much space in your mind if you dwell on it. Work and career disappointments can make us question a lot of things like our talents and abilities and, maybe, even the value of what we have already achieved.
When I let the truth creep in (the little nagging pieces of truth that I kept pushing away), I realized I had set myself on the wrong path in the first place, working toward a goal that wasn’t even right for me. Without the let-down, I may never have taken the time to re-evaluate my motives and my true desires. And now? The right path is more clear than ever!
That professional disappointment came on the heels of personal heartbreak, the loss of my mom eight months ago (okay, maybe not exactly “on the heels,” but the pain is still fresh and makes everything more acute).
I would give anything to have my mom back. But in those two and a half years when I spent countless special moments of quality time with her, and helping care for her, I learned much more than I can write here. Most importantly, I learned that time is our most precious commodity, and people are what matters most…and I will choose to spend my time with the right people. I’m spending time with family and friends, and people I can work with toward a common goal…and NOT people who are negative or who bring me down. (Ok, that last part is not always possible, but I try!)
I am a person of faith, and I had truly turned these situations over to God (and surely felt his presence through it all). But I’m also a person who leans on logic and tries to make sense of things, too. I’m learning that, for me, the best way to make sense of hurt is to look deep within, grow from the pain, and stay true to my heart.