4.22.2007

Level of Difficulty

There are some parts of my life that are easier than for others, and some parts that are harder.  I won't say which are which, but the harder parts are easy to fixate on.  I'm coming to the realization that there are three ways one can deal with those higher levels of difficulty: 1) be bitter, 2) make it into one's identity, or 3) accept the uniqueness of it and make it work for you.

"Be bitter" is self-explanatory, and certainly I've lived there before.  You harangue and you roll your eyes and you otherwise curse the world for having it easier than you.  Not a very Christianly attitude to harbor.

But nor is finding some false badge of honor in your misery.  I know when I'm going this route when there is a secret fear that my circumstances would change for the better, relieving me of my difficulty but then taking from me this thing that I've grown to associate with being me.  Maybe it's before others or just to myself, but this thorn in my side has become a way I make myself feel good about who I am; taking it away leaves me no better than others.

Finally, though, there is a way we can deal with the levels of difficulty in our lives.  We can accept them as a unique mix of challenges for this stage in our trajectory, ordained by a wise and loving God for some greater, grander purpose.  They may not necessarily be life-long, lest we confuse acceptance with affirmation that these obstacles are good things.  But they are certainly not random or, even worse, barbs from a God who is impotent or out to get us. 

God has made us all.  And He has made many of us, who are far greater than we will ever be, go through things far worse than us.  Not saying, "look what others have to go through, in comparison you should be happy," because that would minimize our struggles and pains.  But to say, "there's a greater purpose to it all." 

I don't think it's quite a right analogy to say that, like in diving or gymnastics, a higher level of difficulty translates into a greater multiplier for one's score.  But there is some truth to that in life.  With a higher level of difficulty comes, not more points from God, but more opportunities to stretch and grow and, really and truly, to live.
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