Your Challenges Are Your Lessons

Published on: September 1, 2014

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“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakami

David and Goliath

Goliath challenged King (Saul) of Israel to single combat with one of his finest warriors. Many were terrified of Goliath owing to his enormous stature, standing at six foot nine. Many of the King’s soldiers were opposed to engaging him in battle fearing for their lives.

David, a young teenager, offered to fight Goliath believing he could overcome the gargantuan warrior. The king hastily refused believing he was no match for Goliath, but ultimately conceded due to pressure. And so David confronted Goliath with the most meagre of weapons: a slingshot and a few rocks.

Before waging battle against Goliath, David retreated into solemn prayer to guide him against his formidable rival. With exact precision David directed his stone slingshot toward Goliath’s head, killing him instantly thus falling to the ground to be pronounced dead.

The story of David and Goliath depicts the extraordinary strength all men possess against mightier forces. The parable from the Bible’s First Book of Samuel, illustrates the impending power of man to overcome herculean forces if the motivation is compelling.

The tale conveys the knowledge that our challenges are not always as they seem. In many ways we feel a close association with David as we wrestle with the forces of life. The challenges in your life are there for a reason – to guide your personal development.

So how do you remain resilient when life offers you lemons? Surely positive thinking alone isn’t enough to overcome the ravages of life? Allow me to offer you a potential avenue to overcome challenging circumstances.

Yield To Your Challenges

Firstly accepting that life can be challenging at times, allows us to surrender with an affirmation of complete acceptance, rather than suffer. Saying yes to the circumstances that transpire in no way underscores their impact on our life. It is merely an inner declaration that everything will turn out alright in the end. It is in no way conceding in apathy as you might believe.

Challenges are an invitation to accept change in our life. More often than not the changes occur gradually over time or if we are unaware, rather precipitously. If there is resistance to the change, suffering is brought on from our unwillingness to embrace what unfolds.

You would agree that life is subject to constant change. What unfolds during the initial stages of a significant life change may not be in agreement with what we had anticipated. Hence, it is the uncertainty of the change which leaves us gasping for breath, rather than the change itself.

Our response to embracing life’s challenges is to lean into them with compassion and an open heart. Remember, your resistance creates more resistance, thus leading to more suffering. Leaning in to your challenges is a mental and emotional confirmation to yield to them by embracing what develops.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” – Randy Pausch

Lessons In Overcoming Challenges

Now you might be inclined to think, “How can I accept bankruptcy and the loss of my possessions as an important life lesson?” “Where is there growth in that experience?” Allow me to use the following examples to illustrate how growth is possible amid the backdrop of unrest. The following excerpt is extracted from the author’s Wikipedia page. It demonstrates one man’s tale to rediscover himself following ruin:

“In the early 1990s Neale Donald Walsch suffered a series of crushing blows—a fire that destroyed all of his belongings, the break-up of his marriage, and a car accident that left him with a broken neck. Once recovered, but alone and unemployed, he was forced to live in a tent collecting and recycling aluminium cans in order to eat. At the time, he thought his life had come to an end.”

Neale’s life-changing experience was to become the catalyst for his awakening and he became one of the world’s most notable spiritual authors. His book series Conversations With God have gone on to sell 7.5 million copies worldwide and has been translated into thirty seven different languages.

German-born spiritual writer and speaker Eckhart Tolle also endured a similar fate at the age of twenty nine. Having underwent long bouts of suicidal depression, he experienced an inner transformation before going on to compose his acclaimed spiritual teachings. His notable book The Power of Now also sold millions of copies worldwide, becoming the catalyst for ushering change in human consciousness.

What is clear from these examples is that in spite of their misfortune, both men conquered life’s plights by embracing the lessons held within their experience. Their accounts represent a show of incredible transformations in the lives of ordinary people.

I recommend you read a book called The Secret Of Success Is Not A Secret. Contained within are stories of more than three hundred people who encountered failure and setback prior to accomplishing phenomenal success.

It must be appreciated that there is no permanency to life, even our thoughts and emotions are subject to fluctuations on a daily basis. Accordingly your challenges are not as enduring as you might consider.

Therefore, allow your challenges to lead you without struggle. Simply uphold a quiet YES by consenting to the forces of life to take you in the direction of where your personal evolution advances.

What we think we need and what is best for us are two distinct components. Surrender the need to control outcomes by allowing the goodness of life to permeate through you.

You are the expression of life – do not ask what life has to offer you. Rather, what can you offer life as an ambassador for the collective consciousness of man.

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