Monday, June 18, 2012

Pearl of the Day: Hard Places=Much Growth

 God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
   You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
      you find me quiet pools to drink from.
   True to your word,
      you let me catch my breath
      and send me in the right direction.

 Even when the way goes through
      Death Valley,
   I'm not afraid
      when you walk at my side.
   Your trusty shepherd's crook
      makes me feel secure. ~Psalm 23:1-4 (MSG)

How many people do you know who enjoy going through difficulties?  If you're like me, not too many. As a matter of fact, I don't recall anyone in my lifetime saying they enjoyed walking through hurt and pain. No one, that I know of, enjoys feeling pain, whether it be physical or emotional, because, well, it hurts.  Unfortunately, the likelihood of living a life without any pain, or hard places, is pretty much non-existent. We will all have pain and hurt at some point in our lives, but sometimes it feels like we have more than our fair share, doesn't it. 

Those painful things can come out of nowhere.....people may betray us and hurt us, relationships may end, loved ones may pass away, finances may take a turn for the worst, and people or circumstances may change.  Whatever the situation may be, it can be a struggle to walk out our faith during these hard times.

How can something that hurts so bad, work out for good?  I've had many days where I have struggled to understand how things could work out for my good.  When the pain and hurt was fresh, it was hard to think about anything good coming from it, but as time has passed, it has been encouraging to see the growth that has/is coming from these struggles.  It has helped me to see that there has been a reason for what I've gone through.  The pain has been great, but the growth has been greater.

I would like to share a few of those areas where I have grown through the hard places. These may seem like simple things to some, but to me they were major areas of bondage and struggle for me.

*I am valuable and loved.  No matter how other people treat me and no matter what they say about me, God sees me as a treasure. My worth and value come from Him, not other people.

*Always seek God's approval over man's approval.  I've learned you cannot please everyone all the time, and even if you could, you would be miserable yourself because you aren't living your life for you, but for others.  There will be times when God calls you to do something that no one else will understand. That's okay, do it anyway.

*It's okay to say no.  It's okay to stand up for yourself.  Having boundaries is a good thing.  I am not responsible for how others feel, think, act, or for what they say.  That is their stuff and I am not going to carry it.  I am responsible for me and my own feelings, actions, words, and thoughts.

*Walk in truth and integrity, no matter what anyone else is doing. 

*Don't try to pay back evil for evil.  God is well aware of the actions of others and He will take care of things in His way and in His time.

*Happiness is a choice.  The circumstances of my life do not determine my happiness, I do.

These are just a few areas I have grown in.  I have not, by any means, recovered and healed completely from the hurts I've been through in this season, but I am on my way.  I know God will continue to work things out for my good, because that's what He has promised.  I have not enjoyed the pain of this season, but I have come to the conclusion that the growth I've experienced may not have come through any other means, but by that which has transpired.  God knows what it will take for us to move to the next level He has for us.  The hard places may not be where we would choose to go to grow, but in my experience, it's been the most likely place for growth.

I don't know what hard places you've been through or may currently be going through, but please know my friend, that God is there too.  He does have a plan and a purpose for everything we walk through. The hard places will bring much growth if you allow God to work it out for your good.  How do you do that?  Trust Him.  Until next time my friends, be blessed!

The video is from a song called "Blessings", by Laura Story. I hope it blesses you as much as it does me when I listen to it. 

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