Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Finding Beauty in the Midst of Thorns

There is no denying that life is full of challenges, and for good reason too. Challenges provide us with the opportunity to strengthen our resolve, embrace our faith, learn from our mistakes, and more fully appreciate the good times. But in the midst of these challenges, it is difficult to remain positive. It is difficult to see the benefits when the negative side effects are staring us right in the face. It is difficult to foresee that anything good will come out of the situation.

As a military wife, I have had more negative responses to my challenges than I care to admit. I tend to be the type of person who needs fair warning before some drastic change of plans and all too many times my mind has responded negatively to such events.

But even in the absence of any drastic changes, I still find myself complaining about the typical everyday frustrations. I complain when the kids make a mess and don’t clean up, or when they take too long to eat or get dressed or get out the door. I complain when I have too much laundry to wash and fold. I complain when my husband is out of town and I don’t get enough down time to myself. I complain when he is home and I don’t get enough down time to myself. I complain about the weather, especially lately when my kids have had numerous snow days and I am stuck at home with both of them fighting all day. I complain that I want to get a job that will allow me to work toward my career goals, all the while complaining about how much work there is to be done at home and I don’t know how working moms do it.

No matter how big or small, there will always be something to complain about. There will always be challenges, thorns pricking us as we try to move through the branches of life. But how these challenges will affect us is our choice. We can scoff at the thorns each time they dig into us or we can turn our eyes to the end of the branch and find the rose.
It is not the easy, carefree times in our lives that make us who we are. Instead, it is the challenges which build our character and teach us those lessons which are truly meaningful to us. If we train ourselves to see the rose in the midst of hardship, we can save ourselves from much unneeded misery and more easily discover the benefit that will come in the end.  

“Rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” What a powerful thought, since our natural tendency is to complain about the thorns. I urge you to practice seeing the beauty in everything—in life, in others, in nature, in all circumstances. It’s easier said than done, but little by little you might just find that your challenges become fewer and your happy grow in abundance.