Don’t Do It.

What are you thinking on?

What are you thinking on?

Have you ever gone through trials, and thought if only you had someone else’s life?

Don’t do it.

It’s easy enough see the good things in another person’s life…. But remember, you can’t see all the bad. You can’t see the heartache. You can’t see the trials. You can’t see the broken relationships. You can’t see the disease. You can’t see the addictions. You can’t see what’s lacking. You can’t see the stress. You can’t see the tears. You can’t see the pain inflicted. You can’t see the pain received. You may see some. But not all.

The other night a friend compared it to “the Facebook picture”. On Facebook many people have happy pictures, and comment about the amazing things going on in their lives. But most people don’t share everything. Our friend said someone she knows has a profile that makes it look like they have the perfect life:  A loving spouse, children, fun and exciting trips and activities. But if you could see behind the scenes, you would see the anxiety, depression, tears, and strained and broken relationships.

Everyone has trials. The trials we bear may cause us, or those we love, to suffer so much. But so far, we have survived. Is it possible that if we did experience someone else’s life…. experienced someone else’s trials…. we would not be able to stand up under what they’re going through? Would we not survive? People may try to weigh the severity of trials in different ways, but we are all different people. What one person may be able to handle, another would crumble under.

Trials would be truly devastating if nothing good could come from them. But I believe in a God who loves us, and takes the worst of times and uses it toward good. Even if you don’t believe in God, good can come out of trials. We can learn appreciation for things or others. Relationships can be healed or made stronger. Connections may develop or opportunities presented. We can become better people:  more patient, kind, loving, understanding, forgiving, smarter, empathetic, etc.

I’m not saying trials are easy, or that we should be thrilled to have them. Seeing people suffer, I just don’t want them to lose out on what can come from trials. Wishing for another person’s life can easily distract us from the good that comes in our own. There is always something to hold on to.

Advertisements

Learning Lessons Through Pet Peeves

A couple Sundays ago our pastor had everyone fill out a form. One question was, “What is your pet peeve?” At the time, I couldn’t come up with anything, so I left it blank.

The rest of the week I was reminded, daily, what my pet peeve is:  people not using their turn signal. Maybe you think it’s silly. But it drives me nuts. Too many times I’ve had to slam on my brakes or jump out of the way (while running) because I didn’t know the vehicle would be turning. What seems even more ridiculous to me is when a driver gets mad that I’m in their way, but they have given no indication they plan to change direction. Anyway, enough venting. Time to hit the real reason I’m writing this post.

One of the days I got cut off without warning, the thought popped into my head:  Laura, you don’t know why they did that. Um, okay. Then all the possibilities flooded my mind. Yeah, some people are just rude or don’t care. But what about the person who just received devastating news? What about the person who’s life is in shambles? What about the person who’s hurrying to the emergency room? What about the person who’s trying to make it to an injured or dying friend or family member? What about the person contemplating taking their own life? What about the person who’s just plain miserable? Those people…those people are less aware of their surroundings.

Then I thought about the Sunday after, when pastor shared a list of people’s pet peeves. Two of them stuck in my mind:  when people don’t say hi or when people don’t make eye contact. Most of my life I didn’t do either of those. It wasn’t because I didn’t care about others or thought it was okay to be rude. It was because I believed I was worthless. I was not worthy of others noticing me. I was not good enough for someone to want me as a friend. Those beliefs kept me from interacting.

When I was able to piece together the negative cycle my actions and others’ perceptions created, I realized how devastating our pet peeves can be. How devastating my pet peeves can be.

Since then, I have worked to alter my attitude on the road. I have hung farther behind the car in front of me, to let others in as we pass construction. And I noticed something strange. Even though I opened up an easy opportunity, cars still passed. And because of the construction, I would catch up to them while they’re trying to cut in. It reminded me that sometimes we are so focused on where we think we should be or want to be, we miss the simple opportunities God holds out for us. Don’t miss those opportunities.

How do you view the world?

Castle, Rejection, & Failure

My current favorite TV show is Castle. It has all the elements I love….mystery, humor, romantic tension, and the main character is a writer. And, in my biased opinion, it’s well written. A recent episode contained a conversation between Castle and daughter that struck a chord with me:

Daughter: How do you do it, dad?

Castle: Do what?

Daughter: Well, that letter that you have framed in your office.

Castle: My first manuscript rejection.

Daughter: Yeah. How can you stand having it there?

Castle: Because it drives me. And I got twenty more of those……….. That letter, that letter reminds me of what I’ve overcome. Rejection isn’t failure.

Daughter: Sure feels like failure.

Castle: No, failure’s giving up. Everybody gets rejected. It’s how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up.

Most of my life I have viewed rejection as failure. Castle, though a fictional character, reminded me that rejection can be an open door to another opportunity. We may miss that opportunity if we categorize rejection as failure. Many people who have impacted the world “failed” originally, just as this video describes: