I have heard it said that every failure is an opportunity to learn. Or, in the words of Zig Ziglar,“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly–until you can learn to do it well.” So, if at first you don’t succeed… try, try again. You get the message!
We are called to persevere through what may feel like suffering in our lives and relationships.
The byproduct or “fruit” of our perseverance can be strength of character as well as hope.
“And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; 4 and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].” Romans 5:3-4 (AMP)
We all desire to strengthen our character… to live out the values that we desire to exhibit! And we should- because appreciating certain values without action can be frustrating- not only for us, but also for those we are in relationship with.
James 1:22 (AMP) says, “prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].”
According to this equation given to us in scripture, getting to character development might feel uncomfortable; here are 3 ways to EMBRACE the uncomfortable.
1. Focus on the reward
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” To win the PRIZE! Before you begin a process that you know may be challenging (i.e. counseling), consider the prizes that are possible if you are able to endure circumstances and conversations that may feel awkward, uneasy, or anxiety-provoking. Ask yourself: where is my attention and focus?
2. Reframe your perspective
Are you naturally a pessimist or skeptic? I can be sometimes, if I’m honest. But, I challenge myself in uncomfortable situations with this question: Is there another way to look at this? For example, during a tough workout at the gym I often rehearse the old adage: Pain is weakness leaving the body. That one has always stuck with me! How can you look at your discomfort in a manner that motivates you?
3. Celebrate small victories
Every hour that you do something towards accomplishing your goal, matters! Every decision that you make to shift a negative, defeating perspective, matters! Every uncomfortable moment that you endure, matters! In order to get something we’ve never had- we have to do something we’ve never done. That can feel painful, but the result is worth it!
So, I encourage you to look at the next couple of weeks. Do you have an uncomfortable conversation, meeting, event, or social situation coming up? Take some time to decide that you will endure the stretching, the awkwardness, the pain, or the uncomfortableness that may ensue!
Pray this prayer with me: Lord, help me to face (fill in your situation). I am feeling super nervous about it! I want the prize that you have set before me. I want to experience change in my character and relationships. I want to be the best version of myself. Thank you, God, for your faithfulness to give me peace and confidence in the midst of situations that feel like suffering. I love you, Lord, and I choose hope today! Amen