It is the rare book that gives you a life-changing gift on the very first page, but that is exactly what I experienced thirty years ago when I opened M. Scott Peck’s remarkable book, “The Road Less Traveled.” Up until that point, I had been living (and struggling) with the assumption that the assorted difficulties I was experiencing in my life were God’s actions, intended to somehow teach me a lesson, get me to straighten up and fly right, or punish me for some misstep I hadn’t realized I had made. This kind of thinking made attempting to live by faith very difficult, as it constantly undermined the very trust which is so foundational for faith in God to grow and thrive.
Here is that first page gift: “Life is hard. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
Coming to understand this as one of life’s great truths completely changed my life. I was not being singled out, everyone had struggles! Rather than secretly fearing God was the sender of difficulty and trials, I could now fully trust God to be the very source of the courage and resilience I needed to navigate my life. I cannot overstate the profound relief of being released from attributing ALL THINGS to the hand of God. What a joy to fully trust that Love itself walks with us each moment of our lives, always working for GOOD within every circumstance, filling each day with hope, courage, and resilience, whatever life sends our way.
The ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
What lies behind us and what lies before us
are small matters compared to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
May your choices reflect your hopes,
not your fears.
At first glance it may appear too hard.
Always look again.
Mary Anne Radmacher
The only real failure
is the failure to grow from what we go through.
Note to self:
every time you were convinced
you couldn’t go on,
It’s your reaction to adversity,
not adversity itself,
that determines how your life’s story will develop.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start,
anyone can start from NOW and make a brand-new ending.
No matter how bleak a situation may appear,
it does not entirely own us.
It cannot take away our freedom to respond,
our power to take action.
We all have battles to fight.
And it is often in those battles that we are most alive.
It’s on the frontlines of our lives
that we earn wisdom, create joy, forge friendships,
discover happiness, find love,
and do purposeful work.
The truth is that God has entered the stuff of this world
and is present in Christ through the Spirit
to transform brokenness
I can do all things
through Christ who strengthens me.