Friday, January 18, 2008

Obstacle or Opportunity?


"Life is hard. After all -- it kills you."
~ Katharine Hepburn

What do we expect? Life is a glorious privilege but it is also a continuous challenging rollercoaster of events and emotions.

Sometimes we are tempted to think we got an unfair shake in life but the truth is, no one's life is easy. We are so easily deceived into thinking some others have somehow escaped hard things in life.

I have friends that appear outwardly to be relatively problem-free. They look so put together, it's pathetic. They dress to the nines every time you see them, every hair is in place, their homes are beautifully decorated and neat as a pin, their husbands are powerful men, and their children are delightful. But being their close friend, I happen to know the inside scoop...

Their hair looks crappy when they roll out of bed in the morning (women's retreats - please don't get any weird ideas...) and underneath the Jones New York suit they wear on Sunday mornings, there is a lot of cellulite no one in the church knows about especially if they are in a church that still doesn't believe in "mixed bathing."


Their house looks like a disaster zone when they are sick or return home from a retreat after being gone two or three days...


Their husbands do really stupid and sometimes even hurtful stuff that 99.9% of the rest of the world would never know...

Their children's actions have taken them through multiple boxes of kleenex, crying themselves to sleep over disappointing things they have done.

My life is no different. One day I was preaching and started an illustration by saying, "One day I was really going through some depression, and..."

After church a lady came up to me and said, "YOU WERE DEPRESSED? You've got to be kidding me...I could never imagine you depressed..."

That was before I started this blog, I might add. Anybody reading it regularly knows I do have some days where I was sorry I got out of bed or days I never did get out.

There are aspects of everyone's life that no one knows, and if they did realize this information they would soon come to the understanding that LIFE is not a smooth road for anybody. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. One of the enemy's biggest traps is deceiving us into believing that a bunch of other people have it easier than we do and we have somehow been singled out and marked for difficulties.

Recently at one of our prayer meetings a word from the Lord came forth that said, "don't see obstacles...see only opportunities." That has resonated with me strongly. I had read an article months ago about that very thing and when the word came, it was a confirmation. Life has many obstacles and we can either sit and think about what's missing, what we don't have, what we wish we had, and what was rather than what CAN BE. This thought is giving me a fresh outlook on life right now with challenges I am facing.

M. Scott Peck said, "The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."

Dr. Lee told Larry and I that people always lead better in crisis. Our greatest moments don't come out of the places in which we are comfortable, but from what shakes us to make some type of change. Sometimes the curve of change occurs because of something we did or brought on and other times it has nothing to do with us. In my case personally, the changes I have nothing to do with are the hardest for me to navigate. The "out of control" feeling that nothing I could possibly do could keep this or that from happening...is often what sends me to bed with a box of kleenex. But I am learning to stop doing that as much and see the perceived obstacle as a beautiful opportunity.

What could this change open up for me that I never realized before? What does God have up His sleeve that I don't know about? What has to be lined up for the good of my future that I was completely unaware of? What or who did I cry over that walked out of my life that God knew was best for me to leave behind? What changes do I need to make to be better prepared for life ahead? What blessings does He have for me that I might have totally missed had I not been willing to go through the obstacles and lose some things I thought I desperately needed, and gain some things I never knew existed?

There are different ways.

There are truer answers.

And I'm committed to the journey of finding them.

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