When we go through trials and troubles we often ask, “Why?” “Why me?” “Why now?”
“This isn’t fair!” “How can I possibly get over this?” “Why should I even go on?”
Did we lose a job, a significant opportunity, or even our livelihood through our own machinations or the schemes of another? And did we hold on to the anger, bitterness and resentment we experienced? Did we flounder in the fear of not having enough to survive or the self-pity of being done wrong? Or, did we manage to persevere through our anger, fear and resentment.
It’s not fair – I don’t deserve this!
We can only help others when we ourselves have survived real sorrows and pain. When we have persevered through the anger and frustration of having to wait for answers or the end of a trial, when we have persevered through our own trials and tribulations and kept faith in the values we cherish most, then we will have developed and strengthened our character to the point where we will begin to understand what our purpose in life is.
We Need to Work through Our Trials - Not Eliminate Them
The world may tell us to look deep inside ourselves and find the ‘gumption’ or the ‘grit’ to not only continue on without complaint but to rise above our circumstances with the strength we are told resides in all of us. We attempt to ‘raise ourselves up by our own bootstraps’. We do this many times a day, mostly without recognizing it. So it’s natural for us to think we have to do this when major crises occur in our lives. If we think it’s important, maybe even vital that we adopt the attitude of the ‘strong, silent type’ or the ‘gracious forgiving type’, then we will most likely attempt to survive our deepest hurts, our most severe problems and the onerous catastrophes that can happen in our life by using our own efforts, our own ways and, especially, our own ego.
Me, myself and I
In Freudian psychology the ‘ego’ is one of three main divisions of the mind: the id, the ego and the superego. The id is that part of the psyche that is unconscious and the source of primitive instinctive impulses and drives. The superego is that part of the mind that acts as a conscience to the ego, developing moral standards and rules through contact with parents and society. The ego, the part of our mind that we use to think and sort out problems, contains consciousness and memory and is involved with planning, control and conforming to reality as the world knows it.
My ego thinks I am much more important and more capable than I am in the cosmic perception of things
If we choose to use our own intellect and our own efforts to ‘rise above’ our fears, hurts, angers, frustrations, and resentments, it really won’t work. See: My Favorite Idol Is Me!
Our ego is inclined to lead us in the same old directions that memory says worked best in the past. And as a result, we may not learn what we need to learn to not fall into the same situations and circumstances again. And we may not know how to get through or bear some major trials over which we have no control. So, we may have to go through the same trials and tribulations again and again before we can move on.
This is not because of some malevolent force or ‘karmic’ law in the universe; it’s because if we use our natural characteristics (our own strengths, our own determination, and our own understanding of the world and how it operates) we will likely go in the same direction as before and get the same results we got before.
What we think doesn’t matter one whit!
Do you know it doesn’t matter what we think we should do, or what we feel about our circumstances, or what we understand about the importance of resolving our problems, or what we believe about how we should manage ourselves and our situations? Our burdens are our burdens, our pain is our pain. When we face trials and tribulations it doesn’t matter what we think, feel, understand or believe. Not one whit!
There is not one iota of value in our own abilities.
Do you know what the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet is? It’s ‘I’. And it is pronounced ‘iota’. Do you know what ‘iota’ means? Iota means the smallest amount of something you can imagine. Iota and whit mean the same thing. From God’s perspective and from an eternal, cosmic perspective, ‘I’ (my ego) means nothing. God does not “help those who help themselves.” It is not in the Bible (as some think) and it’s not true. God loves us but he doesn’t respect our egos, our minds, or our abilities to help ourselves.
If we turn to God in difficult and tragic circumstances we may rest in his love and safety. We may trust that he will help us through—that his grace is sufficient. And we may trust (whether or not we understand it) that he has a purpose for our going through this ‘valley of the shadow of death’.
How are We Seen to Face Our Difficulties?
How do we face our difficulties? How are we seen to face our difficulties? How do we teach and help others to face their difficulties? If we faced the loss of a loved one, as excruciating as that pain may have been, did we fall apart in utter defeat? Did we wallow in self pity? Did loneliness and fear close us off from the rest of the world? Perhaps for a time it did. But did we finally manage to persevere through the pain and find meaning in going on with life.
Our Purpose in Life
Showing others how we face trials may be our most important purpose in life.
As strange (or disappointing) as that may sound, how we face our problems and troubles in life may be seen by others as a real inspiration. What we do, how we communicate while going through very difficult times, may be a motivating example to others. How we are seen to grow and succeed in life while we face heartache, disappointment, or defeat may help save another person from wallowing in grief or self-pity.
If our purpose in life is to help to show others how we meet our trials 'head-on' and go through them with as much strength of character as possible, then we have a very noble purpose indeed.
If we can help just one other person persevere through their heartaches and disappointments without falling to pieces or disappearing in self-pity, we provide a very valuable assistance to others.
Trials strengthen us and help us find our reason for living. So the next time you are going through an enormous trial – let real joy shine through your pain, your frustration and your heartache!
You never know who may be watching and needing an example of finding real purpose in their life.
Our example may be the one thing that allows another person to persevere through their trials and go on to find their purpose in life.
2011-2012; Maralexa, Marilyn Alexander, MBA. All rights reserved.
Marilyn Alexander (author) from Vancouver, Canada on November 18, 2012:
Hi gtres101 - thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, sometimes it is hard to go on with all the "stuff" happening around us. But, I know that when I persist with a positive attitude, surprises happen and in some ways life gets better. Bless you.
gtres101 on November 15, 2012:
but sometimes its hard to go on