Look at life as your textbook and begin to learn from everything that happens. Your quality of life will be tremendously improved as a result of this new way of thinking. Rather than thinking you didn’t do very well on an exam for your college course, here is your chance to prove to yourself that you can do better. Or maybe you had to get up to give a welcome at your church, but you were so nervous that the words just left your brain. Or, you have been stopped by the police so often that when you drive, you’re always looking for another police officer to pull you over.
That kind of negative thinking brings trouble into your life. Remember the scripture that says, “So as a man thinketh, so is he.” We must become intentional about what it is we are to think about each moment. Otherwise, our minds may be subject to wander. It’s wise to ‘set your intentions’ and look carefully at everything that happens in life. Learn from it; there is definitely a message in the mess for you to learn.
Gain knowledge from the good, the bad and from the ugly. When we get ourselves in trouble because we took a wrong turn, it is most critical to discover how to get back on point. We must figure out how we got off track in the first place. Turn around, go back and get off that road. It may appear that you’re going backwards, but the change will surely help you get back on track.
When things occur in our lives, especially the stuff we consider bad, we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. We forget to take a close look to see how we got into this mess in the first place.
Romans 8:28 is the scripture that says it best: “And I know that all things work together for good to them who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.” Another way to say this is the topic of this column: “We can learn from everything!”
There is an analogy that I’ve shared in previous columns that was written by Portia Nelson in her book, “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery.” I heard self-improvement specialist Wayne Dyer tell this metaphoric story to make a point during his PBS special:
“I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes me a long time to get out. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. I walk down another street.”
Why did it take Portia Nelson so long to make the change? Maybe it was conditioning because many of us feel more comfortable with pains with which we’ve become familiar. We’re afraid to make moves that we’re not sure will work for us, so we’d rather stay where we are and continue to suffer. We become comfortable bumping our heads!
Become courageous and find meaning in everything that occurs in your life. Then, begin to set your intentions daily.
Lyndia Grant is the host of “Think on These Things,” a radio talk show on WYCB-AM, 1340, Fridays at 6 p.m. Contact her at 202-518-3192 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.