The following is an excerpt by Minister Mark A. Albert from his upcoming book, Living an Examined Life. Mark has grtaciously agreed to allow this blog to publish some of his work over the coming months.
Life is not a smooth road. No matter what path we take, we will face adversity. Difficult times, however, can be the greatest learning events of our lives. It is during life’s difficulties that we can uncover our own emotional and spiritual capabilities. Tough times show us, first hand, those areas on which we need to work, and those areas in which we can flex our emotional muscle. In other words, we can clearly see our strengths and weaknesses during times of trouble. Tough times are a mirror in which we can see ourselves more clearly.
It may be during times of difficulty that we learn to adjust our “self-talk” and encourage ourselves as never before. In fact, it is during troublesome times that some people actually figure out that they have “self-talk” and it is, quite often, negative in nature. Those who embrace a more positive inner conversation recover from difficulty more quickly.
When life throws us a curve, we learn about establishing boundaries. We now know what we will, and will not, allow in our relationships in the future. In fact, not having proper boundaries may be the reason we are going through a tough time in the first place. We can now celebrate that “bump in the road” as a wise old classroom professor, who just taught us a truth we will never forget.
Distress may, even, teach us “who” our friends are, and “who” we cannot depend upon when the chips are down. How many showed up to help during our season of difficulty? Who were they? Why were they there? These are all legitimate questions to ask. Does this mean that we should be angry with those who did not help us? No… it simply means that we have had revealed to us the true nature of certain relationships. We would not have learned this information during stress free times. That knowledge may become very important to us in the future.
So… negotiate troubling seasons with skill and grace, looking for the learning, because, contained within the event is an encyclopedia of knowledge.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (NIV)
Minister Mark A. Albert is a board member and long time friend of Spirit Life Church. He is currently working on a book of wise prose and poetry called Living an Examined Life.