Picture this: I’m standing in the kitchen, pulling the ingredients together for the super awesome crock-pot dinner I had planned for the evening. I grab the bag of potatoes – which has two in it – and discover that one of them is rotten. Moldy. Squishy. I need two potatoes for the recipe. I turn back to the potato drawer and see that there are three little red potatoes left. “Well, I guess that will have to do,” I think to myself. So, I go to work preparing dinner.
A little bit later, a sense of failure washed over me. “Why didn’t you check the potatoes before grocery shopping? That was dumb! You could have gotten more.” I went for a walk (my time to decompress), and realized there are two perspectives to my potato incident. I could see it as a failure – I hadn’t ensured that both potatoes were still edible. Or, I could see it as a moment of resourcefulness. I didn’t have two good russets, so I subbed in what I had on hand.
I think I like that one better.
I think it’s the same way in our walk with the Lord. When he allows us to hit bumps in the road, we have two options: to see it as a bump in the road and cry and moan about it, or we can see it as an opportunity for growth. In my experience, when I can shift my perspective to see life’s difficulties as a chance to grow, the situation becomes more bearable. I have a sense of direction now.
All of this makes me think of God’s discipline. Hebrews 12:7 says “Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?” A few verses later, Hebrews 12:11 says “Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
So maybe my potato incident wasn’t “discipline”, but I think it illustrates the point of perspective. When those difficulties in life do show up, changing our perspective makes such a difference. Knowing that those difficulties (discipline) will grow us – it makes me feel a lot better.