Sunday, August 24, 2008

Leveling the Mountain; Don't let One Bad Thing Define Your Life

A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man made perfect without trials
Chinese Proverb

Facing challenges is not optional in life. We have them, big and small, on a regular basis. If you see people who appear to float through life unscathed, look closer. Some people have a way of always looking fresh and cool, nothing ruffles them. More faith? Possibly. More blessings? Maybe. Better ability to suck it up and not let it show? Likely.

The challenges I’ve encountered in my life have varied from fighting for my kids (--sometimes fighting with my kids), a rough patch in my marriage, a time in my youth of near-poverty, loss of loved ones and a few hurtful moments with close friends. I find that the most difficult to recover from are those I’ve caused. And to be honest, I tend to usually point a finger at myself first, even when it may not be rightly deserved.

Moving on to the next “thing” in life can feel impossible when we are mired down with a challenge like the death of a loved one or an important relationship in crisis. I know some people who are standing in front of those giant stone walls and trying desperately to find a way forward right now. The courage and energy it takes to just keep going (and even breathing) is staggering.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten was from Pastor Michael Tucker ( years ago. He told me that I was making a particular challenge into the focal point of my existence; a “mountain” of which I was relating a timeline of my life…the way things were “before” and “after” this incident. Instead of the experiences of my life being on a straight line, there was this giant hump that stood out in bleak contrast. He told me to "Level the Mountain." Stop making this one awful thing into such a defining point in my life and my future.

It takes time and deliberate action to survive some of the challenges in our lives. Keep moving forward if you are faced with a challenge right now. God will help you find a way around, over or through that fortress wall in front of you. In time, you will be on the other side, then you can focus on leveling it into just another one of the challenges you’ve overcome.
Diane Markins


John said...

I agree Diane, a positive attitude is key to overcoming failures. Just moving on to the next thing in life is paramount to growth and success. I 'll keep God and your words in mind for future stumbles on the road of life :)

Theresia said...

Powerful and profound words, Diane. I agree with what you and Pastor Tucker have to say. I have always held that belief for my own trials and tribulations. For some reason, I feel like it's different with 9/11. It's one thing to keep the existence of a mountain regarding a fight with my husband but it's altogether another issue when faced with 9/11 or perhaps even cancer. Maybe I'm justifying my own mountain. I don't know. I do know that God is able to help me overcome - and He has. But I still know that there was 8:45 am on 9/11/01 and then there was 8:46 am. That will never change.

Diane Markins said...

You're dealing with your mountain in such a positive way. Leveling it might be counter-productive for you. Just keep climbing it and don't let its sheer size and daunting presence defeat you!