When I was in college I really learned how to study and how to take tests. The problem is that the tests we have in life are rarely the type we can study for the night before and pass. I guess that is why so many tests become our mess.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like taking tests and I especially don’t like making messes for myself or for others. So, the obvious question is, how do we prep for the tests of life and how do we minimize the messes?
Here are few thoughts to consider that might help in the future:
- Tests are a part of life, so don’t be surprised when they come. Anticipate them. Acknowledging their reality and anticipating them is the first step in dealing with them in a healthy way.
- A life test may come in many forms: Being let go from a company unexpectedly, having a relationship you cherish go haywire, getting bad news from the Dr. about your health, getting a call in the middle of the night that your child was in a serious accident, finding out that the company you invested in heavily has gone bankrupt and your life savings is gone, etc. These can be painful to endure and will test who you really are.
- The tests we take are either passed in that we did not let them crush us or derail us, or we fail the test. We fail when we worry, fret, lose sleep, lash out at others, or seek to blame someone for the mess. When we do that, it becomes our mess. Sometimes there is a viable person or company to blame, but often it is just the way life unfolds. It rains on the just and the unjust alike, and there will always be circumstances beyond our control. If you let the things you can’t control take control, they will drive you crazy.
Here is how to make lemonade out of lemons:
- Let your test become your testimony. The tests you have endured will make you stronger and there are others struggling with the same issues. Share with them how you made it and encourage them in their storm. There is something therapeutic about helping others when you are in a storm of your own.
- Let your mess become your message. Everyone makes mistakes. When you do, own up to it, seek forgiveness where necessary, make it right if within your power, and help others who have made messes to see that something good can come out of it…even if they don’t see it at the moment.
- We will never see clearly when we just got punched in the face by life circumstances. In that moment, try not to overreact to what happened. Seek to put it in perspective in the bigger picture of life, and remember that most of the things that set us back are temporary issues…and all of them are opportunities for us to learn. I hope you learn from them and move forward. Resist the temptation to have a pity party.
- Seek advice from people who understand the situation you are going through. If they have been through something similar and have made a few messes along the way, they probably have some counsel for you to hear. Just make sure they are grounded spiritually and emotionally themselves, otherwise you both might be making poor decisions together in the future.