All of us have faced, gone through and survived adversity. For most of us, adversity is a constant companion. Without adversity, we would never be able to realize our true potential or come to know who we really are. With this being said, many of us bristle at the thought of adversity and quite frankly subscribe to the theory of LESS is more. Over the last few years, I have started looking at adversity from a different perspective. Rather than resist adverse situations or people, I have come to embrace them as “God scheduled opportunities”. In other words, when I find myself in an adverse situation, I realize that I am being presented with an opportunity to learn, grow and mature into a more conscious person. Below are 4 common areas of our lives in which adversity routinely shows up. Our challenge is to find the “God scheduled opportunity” inherent to each. Remember, we cannot experience the gifts born from adversity if we are continually judging the experience as being negative.
*Death. Death represents the ultimate adversity. Death is a painful experience and it is final. None of us will escape death and most of us will experience it several times during our lifetime. Sometimes we will understand death and at other times it will make no sense. Only through death can we truly appreciate life. Understanding that death is an integral part of life, we are given an opportunity to enjoy the present moment and to take nothing for granted.
*Illness. I believe that a persons overall happiness is directly related to their health. When we feel good, our outlook on life is vastly different than when we feel ill. It is through an illness that many of us have gained a greater appreciation for life. Illness has a unique way of putting our lives in perspective. For example, a significant illness may cause us to make a major course correction that ultimately adds quality years to our life. In short, illness presents us with the opportunity to truly appreciate and honor our health.
*Career/financial loss. The world has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Once upon a time we went to work for a company, bought a home, raised a family, worked for that same company and lived in that same community for the majority of our adult life. Today, we live in an economy where job loss and financial insecurity are commonplace. According to a recent study, the average American worker will change jobs a minimum of 5 times during their professional lifetime. Each time we go through a career, financial or geographical change we experience a significant amount of adversity. Both career and financial adversity provide us with an opportunity to become more frugal, flexible and patient during periods of change. In today’s world we must learn to respect the fact that change is the new order of business.
*Relationship loss. From our first break up in high school to a recent fall out with a close friend or family member, relationship loss offers up some of life’s greatest adversity. Relationships fall into the categorical designations of reason, season and lifetime, with lifetime relationships being the least common of all. Once we get past the hurt of an ended relationship, we tend to go into a place of introspection. It is through this process that we can usually see why God scheduled this opportunity and how it was necessary for our growth.
I encourage you to embrace and appreciate the “God scheduled opportunities” in your life! As always I appreciate your thoughts and feedback.