Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Trials & the Storms of Life
Instead of asking "Why me?" ask "What can I learn?".
I've thought about this a lot recently and I've found a few key reasons I experience trials and I thought I'd pass them along and share them with anyone else they might help. I feel that going through difficulty and trials can be for the following reasons:
Developing Empathy and Compassion - Many of my trials haven't necessarily been directly for me in a typical way. Many of my trials I'm finding have been so that I can understand other people better. Once I've gone through something, or done something maybe I shouldn't have done - I understand others so much better. The idea of "walking around in someone else's shoes" has a lot of merit and truth. If we think of our Savior and how he truly understands our weaknesses and struggles - it's because through the Atonement he has actually experienced them. As we go through hard times much of it is so we can develop an understanding and empathy for others. We all have such vastly different lives and by experiencing a little bit about others we grow closer I believe.
We Need to Learn to Forgive Others - I look back and see several times in my life where I have been hurt or wronged by someone else. I have been hurt, angry, said I would NEVER do that to someone else and I would never be able to forgive that person. Well I think we should "never say never" because I have also had experiences where I swore I'd never be - and needed other people's forgiveness. How can I expect someone else to forgive me for something I haven't been able to forgive another for? Going through trials gives us extra opprotunties to forgive others.
Trials Often Prepare Us For Future, Harder Trials We May Face - I see some of the trials from my past and think - WOW - that was a stepping stone to these other things we'd be learning later on. In fact in the midst of some recent trials I had a strong feeling that that particular trial wasn't the actual trial - but was to prepare me for something bigger later on. (That was a scary thought...). But since we're here on earth to continaully learn and grow it's important that we build upon what we know - right?
Trials Help Us Feel Grateful For Blessings and Re-evaluate What Is Really Important - I bet you've heard, "You don't know what you've got until it's gone." How often to we express gratitude for our health, or do we wait until we're sick to complain about the lack of health? As I've been going through a few things recently I have developed a great sense of gratitude for material items that I had always taken for granted. I've also realized what things are important (family, relationships, the gospel) and what things are just not vitally important. Trials have a definite way of giving us a different perspective.
Trials Teach Us How Strong We Are - When Cory and I were in the midst of a VERY hard summer job years ago one of our leaders in the company was talking to us. He said, "I know you don't believe me right now, but you are going to look back on this summer and say 'WOW! Look how strong we were - look at all we accomplished together!'". At the time I felt overwhelmed and stressed to a breaking point - but know what? Looking back on those experiences in Detroit it did just that. Repeatedly when we're faced with something I have the thought "Remember what you accomplished before? You can do it again - you're tough!". I think we don't realize our strength and trials give us a chnce to prove our toughness - even if it's to prove to ourselves that we can do hard things. We can often amaze even ourselves with how tough we really are!
Trials Are Given To Us To Bless Us - I believe this more right now than I have ever believed it. There are economic challenges we are going through right now that I know would break me if I didn't have this perspective. There are things I've gone through in the past that have shaken me to my core - but I ultimately have learned that trials are the greatest blessing our Heavenly Father can give us. They cause us to stretch, strengthen and lift ourselves and others in a way we would not otherwise be able to. They bring us to our knees and help us be reminded of a Father who loves us more than we can even comprehend. Trials are a gift and I hope that as each of you go through these trials you can find the same kind of perspective as I feel I'm being blessed with.
I am indeed grateful for the trials my Heavenly Father knows I can handle. I am beyond grateful for a knowledge that I have that after the storms, and even in the midst of the storms we can find beauty and peace. Through the particular challenges I've been dealing with in the last several months I can honestly say that I am happier and more at peace than I have ever been while struggling. Often after a trial is over and resloved I've been able to find the beauty of it - after I'm done suffering; but this is the first time I have been in the middle of a trial and felt extreme gratitude for the experiences and lessons I'm learning. Sure - it's hard and there are days that really stink - but I have felt the love and beauty that my Heavenly Father has given me. I feel gratitude in greater ways than I remember feeling it in a very long time. I have a new sense of what my blessings are and feel greater love for life. I know that we can all find beauty during the storm and I hope anyone reading this can feel that peace.
at 4:04 PM