Chop Chop, Start Laying Them Bricks Down!
"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley
Call me naive, call me childish, call me ignorant, but I will continue to believe that the best lessons in life are the ones you acquire from the most painful and challenging experiences. The knowledge you develop and store in your soul from the struggles, trials, and tribulations you face are the ones I've realized stick.
Now I don't believe that we all need to hit rock bottom to gain wisdom, but instead, I think that no matter what God's reason may be in the seasons that hurt the most, we must faithfully allow him to teach us what we need to overcome our future battles.
Though I'm still learning and growing (well when are we not doing that), I believe that the person who I currently am and aim to develop into ultimately is someone who will retain the lessons from my scars. I strive to use the stories behind these experiences to pave a brilliant future for those who will come after me. But before I can start helping others, I must first work one me.
Now, this post isn't about me trying to talk all 'Auntie Abigail' to you. No, today I want to encourage with a harsh truth I've come to know from some of the hardest experiences I've had in my 24 years of living on this Earth:
Your life has the potential to become the greatest form of art you could've ever imagined, but you will fail to become the masterpiece you were meant to be if you do not take some hits and use those punches to strengthen yourself.
I said this before, and I will repeat it, following Christ isn't about roses and rainbows. And life (regardless of faith) isn't a fairytale. (I know, where did the happy, positive Abigail go, right? I'm still here, just bear with me. I got you!)
Look back at the quote I started with for this post. When I read this post, I thought about the story of the 3 little pigs. You know that silly story our parent's shared with us about how 3 animals designed and built their homes only for 2 of them to fail because the materials they used were inadequate to withstand the wind that this bully of a wolf released on them? Yeah, that story.
Let's go back to nursery but take your adult-self with you.
As a child, we all knew that we wanted to be the last pig: the one who built his home with the bricks. But guys, have you seen pigs? Have you felt how much a brick weighs? And think about how many bricks it took this animal to build his home. ( I always imagined he made a cottage because I can see pigs in cottages, but hey he probably had a mansion or something. I mean he had enough time to trip out his home with an indoor pool too...okay I'm going off topic.)
I thought to myself, the last pig had to have gotten the bricks from somewhere and he had to carry those pieces and organize them so that he could use them to build the home he believed would protect him from the wolf. See I think that the last pig used the bricks and heavy materials he was given to make something sustainable. I believe that this nursery story ties into life more than we thought when we heard it at such a young age.
Reflect on this year, last year, the past 10 years, or your entire life. What are some of the hardest cards life has dealt for you? What bricks have been thrown your way? Some hurt more than others; nevertheless, they seemed (and some may still seem) to have weighed you down in some way or else you wouldn't be reading this post. What have you done with those bricks? Have you carried them this entire time and not applying it to the structure of your home? Have you been looking at your life, playing the pity party, and saying, "whoa is me?" Have you been wasting these amazingly strong elements instead of using them to create a fortified home?
'and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. '
-Romans 8:16-18 (NKJV)
'Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.'
'Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.'
I believe that instead of looking at all the heavy things we've been given to face in life, we ought to thank God for not only preserving us in the process of acquiring these elements but for giving us experiences and lessons that we can use to build up who we are in him. There's a quote I've come to adopt as a motto:
God has given you the experiences and the lessons. And though they were painful and heavy to carry, you are meant to use them to build a home (being you) that is unshaken. Instead of looking at obstacles, challenges, and tribulations in life as so, begin to see them as building blocks. Change your perspective from how painful and harsh life has been for you into realizing that the house you are meant to develop and become is being formed with the most substantial parts of your story.
Remember that God does everything for a reason. Stop sitting there acting like you've got nothing to do. You have been given the elements to create a foundation that hell can't even penetrate. Now, chop chop! Get the cement out and start laying those bricks down already!
Until next time...