The sign outside the door read “Quiet, Class in Process”. When I looked further I read “Level 2: Suitable for Most Fitness Levels.” Confident I fit into “most fitness levels” I grabbed a mat, looked to the right and left of me (as though waiting for someone to intervene) and walked in.
Fifteen minutes into the class I started to second guess my decision, thirty minutes in I was sure that somehow I’d fallen outside of the category of “most fitness levels” and by 40 minutes in, my form was sloppy, I was sweating, breathing heavy and I’d quit caring about how my shirt was sliding and exposing my less than taught waist line.
Our days are marked by experiences, both good and bad, meant to shape and prepare us for what lies ahead. This process, established from birth, continues each day until our death. The accumulation of life experience guiding our steps like the shepherding arms of a parent. But even toddlers, despite the attention of their well-intentioned parents, fall down sometimes and so will we. Our legs will wobble and we will trip over the very experience that shepherds us through a new door.The accumulation of our life experience prepares us for what lies ahead. #Life2.0 Click To Tweet
Every experience shapes us. Impressions are made physically, emotionally and mentally. Even our character, that thing that represents who and what we are when no one is looking is impacted. Our experiences may caution us with the memory of a bad choice or they may fuel the confidence to take a step forward into an unknown future secured by a very known God.Our character is shaped by our life experiences. How have your choices impacted your character? #Life2.0 Click To Tweet
The Here and Now
Looking back I can recall periods of my life where I was desperate to get through particularly rough seasons. They were seasons for which I felt ill-equipped and under-prepared. I prayed desperate and impatient prayers for the season to be over and the storm to pass quickly. However, the problem with constantly waiting for the “Next Level” of life is that you miss out on all the good stuff that is happening right now – even in the midst of the storm.
Sisters, I know that some of you are going through difficult times. Hard times. Tragic and scary times. And, while I know that you wish these seasons would pass quickly, without the accompanying storms making direct contact with your life, I want to encourage you that there is purpose and power in the suffering.
There is value in the here and now.
You are dealing with ill-health, chronic pain and the menacing ties of anxiety and depression. You are lonely, tired and just worn out. You’ve realized that you can no longer manage on your own strength.
Your children are struggling to make their way through life and what once seemed like a “sure thing” for them is now a distant dream. Uncertain of what else to do, you get on your knees in prayer for the prodigal.
You’re tired of the arguing, the stress and the hurt feelings. Your marriage is struggling to survive and you’re not so sure you care anymore. And so, you cry out in surrender, handing over your disappointment and hurt and a promise you made so many years ago.
Tonight I pray that in the midst of the storms you would find a different kind of encouragement. I pray that you would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and discerning as to how God is using your current experience to draw you closer to Him. I also pray that years from know you would see clearly how God used this experience in your life to bring glory to Him and His kingdom. In the meantime, I leave you with one of my favorite verses an encouragement to me when I find myself in the midst of difficult times.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.