Weekly Thought – October 14, 2014
Fred focused on understanding his giftedness and challenged others to do so. In mentoring a group of young high achievers he asked over 200 questions over the years of breakfast meetings. They are on the website www.breakfastwithfred.com. One of them is simply, “What is my uniqueness?” Four words which generate hours of contemplation and agitation. Fred made a close connection between giftedness and purpose; one’s being a manifestation of the other.
This week’s email is part three of a series describing the Rewards of Perseverance. The first three are: 1) Character 2) Maturity and 3) Experience. The next two are: 1) Finding purpose and concentration and 2) Self-knowledge.
Rewards of Perseverance (Part 3)
One of the advantages of adversity is the finding of purpose and concentration. Douglas MacArthur on V-J Day said, “It is my earnest hope that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge.” Trouble focuses the mind.
Some of us are trying to get away from difficulties. The sailboat needs breezes to move; the human being needs the winds of adversity for motivation. Our valleys test our ability to forget revenge and practice forgiveness.
The Lord purposes our path. Nothing is wasted in His economy. What he teaches about His plan for us is to be used for others. We are stewards of our material possession, but also our life experiences. Our endurance through hardship can provide teachable moments for others.
A second reward of perseverance is self-knowledge. The opportunity to really know ourselves often comes disguised as dark hours. These times shed much greater illumination on our true selves than success. Many of the world’s great achievers have experienced loneliness. In going through these valleys they better identified their own uniqueness and enhanced their future contributions.
In the introspection of hard times I learn two things: 1) I identify my productive strengths and 2) I define my destruction weaknesses. The second one is critical. Just as it is important to know the weight limits of a bridge, so it is important to know my stress factor. Positive stress is necessary for energy, and it can be healthy. But negative distress weakens my ability to deal with the current conditions in my life and make wise decisions. Knowing what my strengths and weaknesses are give me a structure upon which to build my decision making process.
In difficult times we often pull in and withdraw. In our family we call this “turtle time.” However, learning to trust others is a positive benefit of tumult. Too often I see people in trouble exchange trust for cynicism. Of course, the ultimate trust is in Go. The Psalmist David put it simply: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Ultimate self-knowledge is knowing who I am and who I am not.
This week think about: 1) How well am I handling current stress? 2) What strategy do I use to avoid cynicism? 3) Who is holding me accountable for finishing well?
Words of Wisdom: “Our valleys test our ability to forget revenge and practice forgiveness.”
Wisdom from the Word: “O Lord, my God, you have accomplished many things; you have done amazing things and carried out your purposes for us. No one can thwart you! I want to declare them and talk about them, but they are too numerous to recount!” (Psalm 40:5 NET Bible)