Trials and tribulations, challenging times, tough situations and the ever present “why me?” Such is this journey called life. Hindsight is 20/20; many times when an opportunity (disguised as a problem) is in front of us, our forward vision all of the sudden becomesblurry, and that molehill looks like a big, bad, burly and un-climbable Mount Everest. Though it may just be our perception—for nothing is truly good or bad but thinking makes it so—it often becomes our reality. When this happens, how often does the little voice in your head cry out, “why me?”
I remember as a young adult asking my mother that question. At the time, she was in the “La Brea Tar Pits” of living. From the outside in, it looked dismal. She was going through physical and mental challenges that would wipe out most people. Physically, she had high blood pressure and diabetes, she was grossly overweight, nearly had her foot amputated and held a smoking habit that was wreaking havoc on her health. Mentally, she was dealing with an incredibly stressful job, going through a divorce from my father after an almost 30-year marriage—and with it, experiencing the mental anguish and feelings of complete failure. Not a great moment in time by any standard…or was it?
During this period, I was amazed at how strong she seemed in the face of all of her many challenges. This was her way of being for as long as I had known her. Hands down, she was the strongest woman I’ve ever known. While speaking with her on the phone, I remember asking her how she handled it all; I’ll never forget her response.
“Bretty,” she said, “To whom much is given, much is expected. God will never give you more than you can handle. However, He is also very careful of whom He gives the greatest challenges.”
Baffled, I asked her what she meant to which she responded, “Some of us are put here on earth to do great things and make a big difference during our lifetime. We are built to withstand the tribulations so we can be an example to others. Though I may not have achieved everything I wanted to in my lifetime, I believe that my greatest achievement will be my children. I bear these burdens so you don’t have to and will learn that greater is He who is within you than he that is in the world. To whom much is given, much is expected”.
That was probably the most important lesson my mother ever taught me. She died unexpectedly just a few months after that conversation.
Looking back (with 20/20 vision, of course), it was the first time that I began to recognize the value of challenges. Without them, we don’t grow. A diamond is not the most precious stone on earth because it is common and easily made. When we understand the benefit challenges present us, we can then start to look at them through a different perspective; one that acknowledges the true gift they provide.
If you’re experiencing opportunities disguised as challenges in your life, then congratulations! I’ll pass onto you what s my mother shared with me, God will never give you more than you can handle. And if your challenges seem to be extraordinarily large, then buckle up for the ride of your life. That means you are up to something HUGE!
To whom much is given, much is expected. Thank you for being an example to us all.
Brett Penager, CMO