pexels-photo-241322 woman on mountain BOne of the unfortunate truths is that we only grow in character and maturity when faced with challenges. If we went merrily along without conflict, frustrations or obstacles, we would be immature.  We probably would be arrogant and think that we are better than other people who have problems.  And if we encountered the slightest opposition in life, we would crumble because we hadn’t developed the quality of resilience.

As a result, challenges are not completely bad things. Rather, they are opportunities to learn and to grow.  For instance, if someone is rude to me, I have two choices: I can be rude in return, or I can walk away from or ignore that person.  Now anyone can respond by being rude.  That is the immature response.  But if I don’t engage with a rude person, then I have the opportunity to develop qualities like self-control and patience.

When we encounter challenges, God is looking to see how we will handle them. He wants to see how our characters are developing.  And He wants to identify where we need to improve.

Like everyone, I have challenges in life. For instance, I have to deal with people who test my patience.  So, I do my fair share of walking away from people or just ignoring them.  And I have family members and friends whom I worry about.  So, I have to think of ways to encourage and support them, as opposed to simply wringing my hands.

As I grow older, I find that my challenges don’t decrease. Some fade away over time, and then new ones arise.  So, just when I think, “Wow, I’ve overcome my insecurities,” lo and behold, my patience gets tested.  Or just when I think, “Hey, I’ve stopped procrastinating,” life tosses me the challenge of having to learn to do something new.

No one wants to be faced with challenges in life. We all wish life could be nothing but smooth sailing.  But none of us are immune from hardship.  That is why it is important to learn how to transform our problems into blessings.  And the only way we can do that is to learn from them.

If you are facing challenges this week, ask yourself, “What does God want me to learn from this experience? How can I handle this problem in a way that will improve my character?  Does this problem expose a part of my character that needs work?”  Consider how you can use your challenges as the means by which you grow in maturity and wisdom.  Turn your challenges into blessings.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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