Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Adversity into advantage

As a few of you know, I've been kinda down lately. I've mentioned before on this blog about spiritual warfare, and I know my struggle is literally all in my head. Dealing with situations, or not handling myself well in certain situations, or not dealing with anything has lead to a seriously no-fun roller coaster effect in my life this year. I have wonderful friends who listen to me when I break, and I am truly blessed (thank you and you know who you are). I've just finished half of David's message from Sunday. I had to stop. I have to let that part about loving your neighbor "as yourself" sink in. He's right, if I don't love myself, I can't do a good job of loving others. And lately, I certainly don't like myself very much. One of my many faults is that I have a hard time turning a failure into a win. I have had a lot of failures (career, music, marriage, no kids, stuck in a rut, etc.) - to the point that I convince myself that I AM a failure. Leads right into my "I'm not good enough" backpack that is glued to me. Seems like this year has been one failure after another for me, and I have not had a real "win." This message has been coming to me from a few directions lately. I got this story from Matt Fuery as part of an email newsletter today:

When I was in high school I remember getting my ass kicked in a wrestling match. I was crushed afterward and cried uncontrollably. I felt I had "worked so hard" and all I got in return was the pain of loss. In the midst of my despair my father took me aside and said, "I've noticed that you always turn adversity into an advantage. You have a knack for taking everything bad that happens to you and making it into something good." This advice immediately lifted my spirits. I accepted it as true - even though I don't know that it was BEFORE my father said this to me. Last week my son had a karate tournament. I have not pushed him at all in this endeavor as I want it to come from within - and when it does - and IF he ever asks for my help - I'm there. But nothing will be forced upon him - other than a few stories about how people succeed and how they fail. Well, Frank got beat. And he felt humiliated. He cried his eyes out, just like I did back in high school. My wife was worried. Not me. I said: "This is a very good sign. Look at the other kids who lose. They walk off with a 'ho hum.' Show me a kid who hates to lose and his energy can be channeled to greatness. It's the kids who don't care who will never become champions.'" When Frank and I walked outside and asked: "Why do you think you lost?' "Because I'm stupid," said Frank. I said: "No. That's not right and you know better. You lost because you didn't practice enough. Success boils down to proper use of your imagination and lots of practice. If you want to be great, practice more than anyone else. And when you practice, imagine being great. Otherwise you have no business crying. It's all for naught. " That night Frank asked me to help set up the bag for him so he.could practice. I told him I would and walked away. He asked a few hours later, I said I would and got busy doing something else. The next morning he asked again. "Ah, so you're serious?" I said. "Yes," said Frank. "Great." I set up the bag and helped him for 15 minutes. He was thrilled. "If you put in more time than anyone else," I said, "you'll be hard to beat. You may not win them all, but you'll win most - and you'll become a better person because you gave it everything you've got." The next day Frank asked if he could practice again. I said yes. "Anyone can sit around and pout," I told him. "The.champion gets back to training - and while he trains he imagines a different result next time." Frank smiled. Put your time in, my friend, and you'll become great at whatever you do. Matt FureyZen Master of Exercise, Health and Fitness™

I want to be able to turn adversity into an advantage. I pray the Holy Spirit will work in me so I can see how God loves me...and not just the Sunday School answer of John 3:16. I hope that I can spend some time on myself learning about the person God knitted me to be. He took the time and care to make me - now why can't I like me? I know Jesus died because I'll never be good enough to get to heaven on my own...but does that "not good enough" feeling have to linger? This is not humility - this feeling immobilizes me.

I do look in the Bible and fictional characters for inspiration to turn my bad attitude around, or at least relate to someone who did. In the Bible - Joseph is my favorite right now. He is the perfect example of turning adversity into an advantage. I will be returning to Genesis to re-read for the umpety-millionth time. I need to re-focus. Figure out what needs to be set right - what do I need to get rid of - what do I hold onto. Another email message was forwarded to me recently - talked about God leading the Israelites the long way to get to the Jordan river -- right into the Wilderness. Unfortunately, their stubborness and disobedience to God KEPT them in the wilderness until a whole generation of people died-off! I don't want to be in the wilderness my whole life.

I want to believe God has something big planned for my life. I know I'm not Wonder Woman (which is also my favorite), but I relate to her - not so much in the fighting mythical gods and aliens or deflecting bullets with bracelets kind of way - but in her storyline right now, she has been going through her own "who am I" state. The writers who create her character have idealized her as a "perfect" woman, but she also knows better than that. She has worked to know her strengths, and she is aware of her weaknesses and through various storylines has worked on those weaknesses. God is my creator - the Holy Spirit inks me (gives me my color) - and Jesus, well, has written my storyline over two thousand years ago. And only He knows the next chapter and the last one. I know I need to be patient - be still and know that He is God...I just hope He lets me know who I am in the process...and helps me to love me as He does, so I can love others as He wants me to. And a little help on direction would be good too.


Rebecca Jo said...

hehe....you said "knit"!!!!

See - I told you you needed to hear the message Sunday - it was terrific!

You're going to come through this learning so much & being so much stronger! You wont be in that wilderness for long - you're searching too much in the Word & listening to God - exactly what you should be doing! Hang in there - we love you!

Joe said...

That was an awesome blog post. Thank you for sharing the story of how practice makes perfect.

I feel that you are on the verge of being released from the bondage of this depression and rough season that you've been going through. I know that God has great plans for you and I can't wait to see what they are.

Keep up the faith and remember you don't have to go through anything alone. You've got plenty of people that are here for you!

You can do it! :)