Saturday, December 2, 2017

Trouble me

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who authored the words, "Only a man's character is the real criterion of worth." She also said, "People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built." Without experience, life builds no character - it is meaningless and hollow. We need to experience things - it is how we create, give way to new ideas, and learn from each other. Not every experience will be what we label as "rewarding" - but it can be "meaningful" if we learn from that experience! If we learn, we are likely developing something within our character that sticks with us in the long run. Character is what remains after all the "hoopla" of the experience dies down!

We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are very happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient.  And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope.  And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit he gave us. (Romans 5:1-5 ERV)

Why are we happy with troubles? The average person is none too happy when troubles come their way - for troubles can make life a little haggard and hard to handle at times. I think "trouble" gets a negative "label" in life - for we think of trouble as something that gets us down, puts obstacles in our way, or mires our lives with all manner of debris we don't want to have to deal with. Trouble can merely mean we don't experience stagnancy! Troubled waters were actually good on occasion, for they stirred up the debris that needed to come to the surface and helped the one navigating the waters to be ever-vigilant. 

Trouble can be a means to a new beginning - in turning over what hasn't been exposed, it can begin to influence that which is now "out in the open". Trouble is more than being "bothered" by something or someone because it really doesn't begin to affect us until it gets at what causes us to be "bothered". I am "bothered" by a lot of things, but only a few of these things actually put me into movement in life! The same is probably true for you - either because you need to avoid the impact of that which "bothers" you, or because you need to remove it so it no longer is a "bother".

As Roosevelt implied, character isn't bought or inherited - it is "earned" through the experiences one embraces. To embrace an experience, we engage with it - we get involved in it. We aren't bystanders - this is not how character is produced. If we are to have sound character, we need to engage in the things that actually help to refine and produce solid character within us. These are the things that might be harder than we liked, longer than we'd wished to endure, and more involved than we first imagined. Yet, these are the things that will teach us to navigate well, help us to be open to new experiences that will helps us to grow even more, and move us from a place of stagnancy into a place of freshness. Just sayin!