This subject has been on my heart for a while now, and this post has undergone several rewrites. When I worked in an office, I had a reminder on my bulletin board that God brought people into our life to either be a blessing or a challenge. Sometimes they are both, but always at least one or the other. Ironically, some people that started out as a huge challenge ended up being unbelievable blessings. Occasionally the opposite is true also. The same is true of situations – blessings and challenges.
I believe that our perception or attitude has a lot to do with how we view the person or situation. We can choose to see them as blessings or challenges and respond accordingly. What about those times when you are surprised – either in a positive way – or negative way? Do you respond to the person or the behavior? Try and figure out what prompted the behavior? Choices….
Some of my response at the time stems from the season I am in. Seasons of rest, change, or growth affect my response.
It’s very easy to think about people and situations that you are experiencing; or have experienced in the past and label them as a blessing or challenge. Have you ever stopped to consider your presence or part in a situation in someone’s life? Are you there as a blessing or a challenge? Do you build them up or manipulate/control them for your own purpose or amusement? Are you even cognizant of the effect you have on others? Do you believe that you are either the manipulator or the manipulated? Sometimes, when I discover that I am being manipulated, I find it very satisfying to play along…although, frequently find myself feeling sorry for the person that feels it necessary to manipulate others. It’s always a good lesson and reminder to make me more aware of the potential to be a manipulator, and work to avoid that.
What about seasons? There are times that it is easy to figure out what “season” you are in and engage in the work of that time. It’s just as easy to ignore seasons and just float through life; or try to control them and fail to learn. I have been pondering what causes or initiates us to change ‘seasons’. There are always the obvious factors that stimulate change, like kicking someone out of the nest, or tossing them in the deep end of the pool…. I am more interested in figuring out the more subtle internal drive to seek change, especially when I find myself in a comfortable place.
My challenge for myself is to be aware of the reason I am in someone’s life – am I a blessing or a challenge? And to be aware of the season I am in – and exploit it fully – and be ready to move gracefully into the next season. With age comes the awareness that challenges are blessings in disguise, and some blessings are challenges in disguise.