Struggles Make us Stronger

You have probably heard the story of the butterfly, helped out of its cocoon by a well-meaning human, only to spiral to the ground and die as a result of its lack of preparation for life.  The butterfly needs to build its own strength through the struggle, and so do we.

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, though sometimes it seems He trusts us more than we would like.   His faith in us is much greater than our own in ourselves and that is truly a blessing!

What do you struggle with in life?  And more importantly, what do you tell yourself about those struggles?  Do you give yourself credit for incremental progress?  Do you contemplate the correlation between pain and gain in a given situation?  I am a firm believer that the more challenging a situation is, the more there is for us to learn and grow from it.  And we get the lessons we need until we learn them.  OUCH.  I’m sure you know what I am talking about.

Thomas Edison engaged in over 10,000 experiments in his efforts to invent the light bulb.  He was often asked how it felt to experience so much failure and his consistent reply was a resilient reminder that he never actually failed at all, inventing the light bulb just happened to be a 10,000-step process.

Persistence paid off for General Douglas MacArthur as well.  After applying for admission to West Point twice, he applied a third time and was finally accepted. The rest is history.

Helen Keller, the famous blind author and speaker, said: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.  Silver is purified in fire and so are we. It is in the most trying times that our real character is shaped and revealed.”

I savor these words of wisdom as I embrace changes in my life, entering unknown territory with genuine courage and curiosity.

What changes, choices and challenges do you expect to embrace in the New Year?  Some we can anticipate and plan for, and others we won’t even see coming.

Perhaps you spent the holidays grieving the loss of a loved one, changes in your health or a significant relationship, or have been recently unemployed.  Whatever the case may be, all situations are temporary, and designed to prepare us for our next challenge.  Fear fades in the face of faith as we put our trust in a higher power, knowing it is all part of this process we call life.

Lou Holtz said if we are not growing, we are dying.  And growing pains are certainly part of the process.

Cultivate your own garden, and emerge from your own cocoon.  Struggles really do make us stronger, so be sure to savor the journey.


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