Rick Warren once said that life is like the parallel rails of a train track. Just like the two tracks, the good and the hard parts of life often occur at the same time.
Around the same time as the release of Rick’s Purpose Driven Life, his wife, Kay, was diagnosed with cancer. Two rails in action: the exploding popularity of a book alongside a devastating diagnosis.
You’ve probably noticed this over the course of your own life--the disorientation of incredible grace alongside an extremely difficult circumstance.
As we near the end of 2019 and look toward 2020, it can be good to take a moment to look back. On the one hand, I could give you a glowing report of all of the highlights of my year. The first rail:
But guess what: right alongside this glowing report I was dealing with other personal realities. The second rail:
Each one of these led to feelings of stress. Duh. But this is the way it works. Amazing things occur and right along side those, we can be dealing with difficult situations or inner work.
In the midst, would I rather not have dealt with anxiety, fear, overwhelm and boundaries? Of course! But now, in hindsight, I am actually thankful for those circumstances.
Because here, in December 2019, I am stronger, I am lighter, I know how to catch myself before I go too far down a road I don’t actually want to travel on.
So, how about you? Why not take a few minutes and write down two or three good things that happened this year. Then write down two or three things that were hard, difficult or even downright unbearable.
You don’t have to thank God for the hard times. But you can thank God that he was with you in them. And you can thank God that you made it through them.
Good and hard occur at the same time. Holding both together is part of being a mature adult.
This is the beauty we see anytime we engage the practice of the Examen. Look back. Notice. Acknowledge. Learn. Discern. Try again. With God.
My prayer for you is that no matter what is on your list, you will know, right here and right now, that you are loved exactly as you are. You cannot be loved more or less because of your behavior, achievements or failures.
God’s love is unchanging. God is always toward you. Isn’t this the message of the Advent Season?
“Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am yours
Lord I'm forever yours
Mountains high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am yours
I am forever yours”
(Love Came Dawn, Kari Jobe)
P.S. You might find our latest podcast “Managing Our Omnipresent Smartphone” helpful.