Pastor Jan is still working through the New Testament letter of James as our church learns about Christian leadership. She sent the staff a list of five key Christian leadership principles from the letter of James and the first one jumped right out at me:
As we endure, we mature. When times are tough, don’t look for a way out, look for a way through. James 1:1-4
I have experienced this first-hand recently with my separation and now with our reconciliation. Grief is a tough thing – when you are in it and everyone around you is telling you that you WILL get through it and there is joy on the other side, you find it hard to believe any of it. I remember hearing that from countless people as I moved around numb from a broken heart, all the while wishing that I could just warp speed past the pain and go straight to the joy. I really and truly did NOT want to have to deal with the pain every day. It was horrible and I couldn’t imagine that there would be anything good to come out of it. If time machines existed, I would have spent my last dime to fast forward to that magical “joy” everyone kept telling me about. But, reality was what it was – I had to get through it, not around it.
Today, I am able to reflect a bit differently on those dark days. Being beyond much of that and now working through the mixture of emotions that comes with reconciliation, I can pull from the wisdom that came from the struggle. For instance, I can look at my marriage/husband now and listen without judgement, talk without overreacting, and trust without assumptions <trust is still a struggle, but getting better>. I also learned that no one is responsible for my happiness – only I am responsible for my happiness. So many important life lessons and nuggets of wisdom came from that horrible time in my life. I’m so glad I didn’t find a way around it.
Having a marriage shatter will humble the strongest of souls. Then having to piece it back together will build a strength you didn’t know you had. Maturity and wisdom comes through these experiences, not in spite of them. The more we trudge through the muck of life, the more we grow and mature. God is with us through it and will work within us as we grow from it – but we have to go through, not around.
What are some nuggets of wisdom you’ve learned from a tough situation? Have you tried to get around the grief/heartache/pain? What was the outcome?