It had been a long few months. The church that I serve had struggled through some important issues that required honest communication and hard work. I was physically and emotionally tired. The weekly duties of my job began to feel like drudgery instead of ministry, and I knew it was time for some rest. We took some time off, regained strength and perspective, and life began to feel normal again.
Once things evened out, I could feel myself and my church hitting our stride again. Everything seemed to come together. New people checked out our church, our finances were stable- in other words, all the issues that torment the life of a pastor seemed to be at bay. Life was good.
These are the times in life we love, aren’t they? You probably aren’t a pastor and therefore don’t personally relate to the issues I deal with, but you have issues of your own. You have your own circumstances that periodically rear their heads and make your life miserable. And I know you relate to those rare times when, for a moment, all is calm.
I have a thought about those times in life when everything seems to be going right. If you’re like me, those times are considered to be signs of success. We’ve successfully solved our problems, we’ve successfully dealt with our issues, and a stress-free, problem-free time is our reward. But are these time really the best times of our lives?
It occurred to me that the times of peace and tranquility in my life are enjoyable, but they are also dangerous. I’ve discovered that in the times of an absence of challenges, I get lazy. I lose forward momentum. I stop making goals, settling instead for the heaviness of inactivity. Instead of pushing forward in life and achieving, I want to remain in my office chair, my feet propped up, with lemonade in hand. The physics law is true: a body at rest tends to stay at rest.
The challenges we face in our everyday lives aren’t always fun, but they are in fact the wind that drives us forward. Winston Churchill said, “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” As frustrating as our problems and challenges might be, they serve to keep us focused and keep us engaged with life. Nothing meaningful is ever earned without a meaningful struggle.
I guess we ought to ask ourselves the question of whether we’re looking for a comfortable life or a fulfilling life. I believe we are made to live at a higher level than what the path of least resistance offers us. That’s why Jesus invited Peter to step out of the boat and walk on the water. If you are currently drifting along in life with no worries and no challenges, don’t stay there for long. Set a goal that requires work and move toward it. Embrace the challenges that achieving your goal will require. Don’t shy away from the hard things, because challenges are the catalysts of a fulfilled life.
If you care to comment, I’d love to hear a personal story of how a personal difficulty or challenge brought fulfillment and meaning to your life. And as always, thank you so much for taking the time to read, follow, and respond.