Bad moments often can become some of our best memories. Think back at some of the most humorous moments you've had with friends and family. When I was in law enforcement, we used to meet after work for a weekly, "debriefing." We would recall moments of the past week when we were the most scared. We would all laugh at stories of overcoming our fears and they would ensure us that bravery would arise again for the next difficult challenge. We were told we were courageous and so we believed it.
Difficulty opens the door to opportunity.
When I have clients who feel life is pressing down on them from all sides, I ask them to focus on where the growth opportunities are. Most of the time they have no idea what I'm talking about. They may tell me they are "overwhelmed," "tired," or "frustrated" with their life. They look at all the reasons to be miserable and have trouble finding any silver lining in the middle of a depressive torrential downpour. But, with fresh eyes, anyone can find something to be thank for. In today's world of ongoing problems, it's easy to worry about tomorrow. So, day after day we miss the blessings of our moments with family, friends, and loved ones. I recall learning about a father who was sitting in the middle of a battle singing with his little girl and using the booming of the artillery as if they were symbols of a drum. Paul the Apostle wrote some of the most encouraging words in the New Testament while he sat in a Roman prison awaiting his execution. His advice to us? Be thankful. Gratitude makes us focus on the blessings we have, even when we have every reason not to be thankful.
Look at every challenge as a way for God to send you blessings.
When Covid-19 hit last year and the schools closed to face-to-face education, parents were being sent home from work because they also had been forced closed. Suddenly, families were together. If they had focused on the blessing of the moment, they would have survived the epidemic stronger as a family. Unfortunately, many families suffered from the changes instead of taking advantage of them. Many years ago, a good friend of mine gave me this advice when I was forced into an early retirement due to an injury. I was complaining about the loss of income and the uncertainty of my future when she said, "Aren't you always complaining that you never have time with your daughter because all you do is work? And when you have time, you complain you never have money?" I agreed and she said, "Right now you have both time and money and you're still complaining?" I took a moment to consider this new truth and made the decision to enjoy the blessings I had been given. That next year was one of the most memorable and enjoyable years of my life.
If you only look at the challenge and the difficulty, even long after the problem has been resolved, you will never see the blessings you missed.
"If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there."