How to Grow by Finding Life’s Lessons in the Valleys of Life

Ever had a situation you wish wouldn’t have happened? One of those moments where you secretly long for a magic wand to wave over to erase it, so you could just go back to the way things were?

I used to.

Like seriously, who doesn’t think life would be so much better if the Staples “Easy Button” really worked!?

But then I realized something.

If everything was easy, we would we miss out on the opportunities to grow.

I remember once talking to a mentor of mine about a problem we had both found ourselves in, though ironically on opposite sides of the situation. As we discussed it, I remember saying, “I believe everything in life happens for a purpose. That purpose is to make us better, and we are both going to grow from this.”

This morning, as I was pondering the situation we had discussed, I realized it’s difficult when you’re going through the process of putting pieces back together to not wish for the magic wand.

So I did something even better. I stopped and prayed.

I asked God to provide peace, wisdom, patience, grace, and forgiveness, as I continued to go through the process. Shortly thereafter, I came across these verses:

**** Romans 8:28-29 ****
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

God designed us to be intelligent enough to overcome the challenges placed in our paths and to become better leaders, friends, and servants of others because of them.

Life is full of paradoxical moments and reactions, but each of those times contain lessons.

  • We can complain about what has happened or we can find peace and share the lessons to help others grow.
  • We can respond in trials with anger and impatience or we can show grace and patience.
  • We can choose to keep hatred or bitterness in our hearts or we can extend love and forgiveness.
  • We can see all of our valleys as negative things designed to keep us down, or we can recognize that through the valleys we have the opportunity to grow strong enough to reach the next peak.

In mid-June, I sat at a banquet next to a complete stranger. We spent just a few hours together, with minimal conversation. We would later connect on Facebook, and he would share a quote that would inspire me to read a book by Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

“There are five people you meet in heaven. Each of us was in your life for a reason. You may not have known the reason at the time, and that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on earth.”

We don’t always know God’s plan, but He has one. It’s our job to trust it. It’s our job to turn to Him in the moments of doubt and recognize through everything, He is working for our good.

Remember that magic wand and the Staples Easy Button? They do exist.

They exist when we find and extend grace and forgiveness. They exist when we come from a place of humility. They exist when we recognize everything has a purpose, when we are open to seeing and learning the lesson, and through that process, when we grow to be the person God calls us to be.

When you think of it that way, I don’t want to wave a magic wand and go back to the way things were. I’m grateful instead for the person I have become and will continue to blossom into through it all.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.