A few days ago I had a phone conversation with one of the children affiliated to the Big sister initiative. She sounded so upbeat about school and life in general. “I like my new classmates and my grades have improved”, she said. I was so excited, It felt like a major win. We talked about other things, like the possibility of us having another outreach at her school this quarter, her plans for the new year, my plans for the new year etc
This was a sharp contrast from the girl who had reached out to us a couple of months ago. From our initial telephone conversation, she was bawling her eyes out. She had just received her report card from school and she had been asked to repeat a class. “my world has ended”, “I feel so stupid”, “God doesn’t love me”, ‘why am I so unlucky” were some of her words. I simply listened for the first few minutes because I knew it was important for her to go through the emotions. Then I offered some advice and we ended the call on a bright note. During our follow-up calls, we talked extensively and seemed to have settled in. Her recent call was a further affirmation that she was indeed in a better place.
What lessons have I taken from the experience?
One of life’s greatest gifts is the fact that life can be difficult. We build invaluable strength while dealing with life’s difficulties. This strength enables us to successfully fulfill our deepest, most meaningful purposes.
Over time you will find that life isn’t necessarily any easier or harder than you thought it was going to be; it’s just that the easy and the hard will not be exactly the way you had anticipated, and will not always occur when you expect them to. This isn’t a bad thing; it makes life interesting. With a positive attitude and a deep-rooted knowledge of who you are in Christ, knowing that God loves you and wants the bets for you, you will always be pleasantly surprised.
Your mindset and the frame of your thoughts will play a major role in how your journey will play out. It’s okay to have down days and tough times, try not to get overwhelmed by them. Trust God completely. Expecting life to be wonderful all the time is wanting to swim in an ocean in which waves only rise and never come crashing down. However, when you recognize that the rising and crashing waves are part of the same ocean, you are able to let go and be at peace with the reality of these ups and downs.
If your year didn’t start off on a positive note, don’t let it beat you up. You are just starting the 3rd week of the year. I strongly believe that 2018 will be an exciting, defining year for many of us. It is also one that will stretch us and require us to come out of our comfort zones. For some of us, this could mean writing your school leaving examinations, preparing for A levels, starting out as a fresh year student of a university, starting out in a new class or a new school, moving to a new country, starting a new life afresh etc. How you respond to these changes will be crucial for the next level. Irrespective of where you currently are; project into the future, stretch the limit and keep pushing to achieve your goals(yes, the ones you had written down earlier this month).
The stimulus for growth is discomfort. Times of stress are also times for growth, challenges give room for opportunities and if we use setbacks properly, we can grow through adversity.