Life is often filled with unexpected surprises and uncertainties that can catch us off guard. Many of the unusual circumstances and situations that occur in our lives involve our relationships with other people, whether family members, friends, or business associates.
Perhaps you have heard the story of the guy who woke up one morning and said, “Mama, I don’t want to go to school today. None of the people down there like me.”
“Son, you have to get up and go to school,” she said.
“Mama, please don’t make me! The teachers don’t like me, the coaches don’t like me. I don’t even think the janitor likes me!”
She looked at him and said, “Son, you have to go to school, you are the Principal!”
I am sure there have been days when we all have wanted to pull the covers up over our heads to escape from the world and hide. Unfortunately, that is not possible. As we go through life, we are going to encounter bumps and bruises. None of us gets a free pass. But, if you stop to think about it, that is actually a good thing.
I am asking you to consider the fact that one of the blessings of life is that the bruises you receive from the difficult times you go through are the very stories you will be telling in just a few weeks.
As most of you know, I am a professional motivational speaker. All of the stories I share when I speak come from the events that transpire in my own life. It would be boring and uninteresting for me to tell a bunch of stories that I read in a book somewhere about someone else’s life. Amazingly, people are much more interested in my own personal experiences, especially my failures, and how I have learned to deal with life with the daily challenges I have personally faced, than they are from stories I once saw in a movie or heard from someone else. The same is true of you.
There are so many difficult things that we must learn, and none of us will escape unscathed. It is not possible to use a “get-out-of-jail-free” card that you may have kept in your pocket since the last time you played Monopoly. It is impossible to stand on the sidelines of life trying to avoid it. It is better to get in the game and actually learn what we need to know.
Most of us have heard the story of the children of Israel wandering in the desert for forty years. The reason they wandered around so long is because God was trying to teach them how to understand His ways in dealing with them. They were a hard-headed group of people! It took them forty years to learn what could have been learned in eleven days. (It was only an eleven-day journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, but it took forty years. That is what I call a lot of wasted time!) Can you imagine telling your family and friends that you were going on an eleven-day trip and then you ended up being gone for forty years?! They would think you had a very serious problem!
Years ago, I was in a church meeting where we sang a song that I will never forget. It was a reflection of the wilderness wanderings we all experience, just like the children of Israel. The title of the song was “Take Another Lap Around Mt. Sinai”. The lyrics of the song talked about how it would be necessary to take lap after lap around the same lesson, over and over again, until the lesson was learned. I have often thought about that song and worked hard to learn the specific lesson life was trying to teach me as quickly as possible. There is no real lasting value in ignorance, much less stupidity! And remember what John Wayne said, “You can’t fix stupid!”
It is crucial that we learn the lessons of life. They may sometimes come with bumps and bruises, but in the long run, they will produce some great stories and examples to share with other people in order to help other people on their journey as well.
The older I get, the more I see that life is really a very short experience. (I can hardly believe that fifty-five years have passed since I graduated from high school and left Griffin, Georgia, to go out on my own into the world!) I have had my share of bruises, but I have also let those bruises become the stories that I share with other people. It has turned into a wonderful experience for me. I would much rather be a participant in life and have bruises than to be a spectator and have no stories! Wouldn’t you?
Perhaps you have read the famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.”
Let go of the concern and fear you may have of getting a bruise here and there and step up to face whatever may come your way. There are some great stories waiting to happen to you so that you can, in turn, share them with many other hurting people who are in need of your encouragement and guidance! It truly is a “win-win” situation!
Tip: Go for the stories and don’t worry about the bruises!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm