From time to time, I get thinking – deeply!
I scribbled these thoughts down on a piece of paper one day last month after reading the following verse from the Bible:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed not deficient in any way.” James Ch1 Verse 2-4
Then I got thinking about every struggle I have ever had; Every sort of challenge that came my way, and all the pain I have been through. What if I had been protected from it all? Who would I be today?
It is our instinct to expect the solution to be that we are rescued, or for the answer to our prayers to be that God will lift us away from the challenge, while at the same time expecting wisdom??? When I thought about this more, I realised that makes little sense. I could compare this to those children who have parents that shelter them from every possible danger in life (Wrapped in Cotton Wool) … these Cotton-Wool-Kids grow up to be foolish adults, void of common sense and wisdom. In the sort of world we live in, I doubt God wants that for His children – so we need to be nourished by pressure and challenges.
Then my thoughts went on to think about how everything in life starts as a seed – and what that seed needs to go through before it matures!
In order to grow to its full intended potential, a seed needs:
—> Periods of light AND darkness
—> A Purpose (why exist, if not to have purpose)
Whether your seed is faith, fat loss, strength gains, a new relationship, an old relationship, your own personal growth —> you must allow the seed of these things to root itself in your thoughts, and actions to help it grow!
This means, you need to be:
—> Committed (never give up)
Basically, there is no magic answer to anything that will bypass these stages and requirements. It may start with a seed (the seed is always there), but we give life to the seed by providing the right environment for growth.
The problem is that many people think this is the equation of life:
Idea/Seed + No effort + No time = everything you ever want ! hmmm
If you want something to happen, or something to stop happening, you must first nurture the appropriate seeds in you and let them grow – then wait to reap the results.
What keeps amazing me each time I read a verse in the Bible (which I never really did until recently), is that everything God says is being proven by modern studies into happiness, love and success. God requires us to grow and develop our fruit ( our character), by becoming renewed in Him, to reap the abundant life he has promised. And we know that happiness doesn’t increase when things are easy in life – happiness comes about when your character reflects gratitude, love, humility, self-control, kindness and patience. In other words, it’s not about the external environment, it’s about how we respond that makes the difference.
We are all too quick to lash out in anger and blame someone else (“them” or “they”) for our failures or troubles; We even blame God for not stopping it or rescuing us. But is it not anyone else’s or God’s fault. We are too selfish to realise what we need to do in order to grow enough to reach that place. I think we are given the opportunities to grow time and time again – and it’s hard to accept this – but at the end of the day, we’ll always feel like we’re drowning or swimming against the tide, until we learn how to ride the waves. Those are the options – there’s no place for cotton wool!
This goes for any goal!
The potential is in us. We take the time to nurture it and take responsibility for it and we WILL reach it.
Often we forget that TIME is part of the process and we expect results quicker. The great thing about time is that we have the opportunity to make the time count and let ourselves mature and grow wiser, making us more able to handle what lies ahead – and live purposefully, by helping others do the same.
A deeply rooted and mature Oak Tree reaches further and offers more shelter than a shallow stalk.
Effort + Time + Patience = a life worth having 🙂