I spotted the quote above on a meme. It was the perfect meme for me at that moment. Seeing it wasn’t a coincidence. It was evidence that when we most need guidance it comes to us in often unusual ways. We must just notice and focus long enough to recognize what we’re noticing as guidance.
That isn’t always easy. Because when we are troubled, we tend to see things through the prism of whatever it is that is troubling us. If we’re having a trust crisis, we notice trust issues. If we’re having a kid challenge, we notice kid challenges. If we’re having an issue on a false accusation—against us or someone we care about—we notice everything related to false accusations.
That’s human. But it is also a problem. Because if we’re focused on the problem, we are not focused on resolving the problem.
That makes it imperative that we recognize the problem, then switch our focus to what we can do to resolve it. Noticing the problem in others, so that we better understand the complexities of the problem is important. Don’t get me wrong. You must come to understand what’s wrong before you can hope to make things right. The problem is, we often notice what’s wrong and let what we notice drag us into a pit of despair, focusing solely on what’s wrong. We never get to the, “Okay, this is the problem. I get it. Now, how can I fix it?”
The purpose of understanding is complete. But you must make a conscious effort to release the notice and switch your focus to solutions. Some get stuck in the notice pit. Why?
Many reasons. But some really common ones are:
We have to do something. Something more than gripe about the unfairness, the injustice, the challenge, and asking, “Why me?”
We’re exhausted and weary to the bone of all the bad things going on and we just can’t find the energy to deal with one more thing. Yet if we don’t, we’re going to keep dealing with this thing until we do resolve it.
Have you ever gone to bed at night and something weighing on your mind just keeps replaying and replaying and you can’t shut it off? You watch the time tick off on the clock knowing you must let go and yet your mind won’t shut down? That’s the absence of a resolution and what it does to us.
We don’t want to change anything. We want some nebulous something to change this thing for us. The fact is, there’s no use in scanning the classifieds for a white knight. They’re all booked elsewhere. If we want to resolve a challenge in our life, we must make the effort to resolve it.
On that, may I suggest hitting your knees first and not as a last resort? I am a simple woman. I don’t claim to have all the answers to all the questions in life, but I do know this: God does know the answers, and seeking his counsel is the smartest thing seekers can do. And the sooner we do it, the sooner we get to resolutions.
It is a fact that brainwave patterns change during prayer. That means the way we are thinking changes. We don’t feel it’s us alone against the world. We don’t feel we’re the only person on the planet facing this specific challenge. If God is guiding us—through thoughts, signs, messengers in the form of friends or family or strangers on the street, or notice—then an answer to our challenge exists. And we are not facing it alone. We are not the only one facing it.
There is power in knowing that. Power in engaging with the most sympathetic of ears. With the most compassionate of hearts. With the most understanding and greatest in wisdom.
Regardless of what we’re facing and how challenging it is, we know that circumstances last for a season. It might be a long or short season, and it might be painful and test us into better knowing who we are and where we stand or sit. It might be uncomfortable and cause us different challenges that we do not want to visit even though we know we must. But it is just a season. And while it might pass with the elegance and ease of a kidney stone, it will pass.
There’s strength and hope in that certainty. Discoveries to be made. About ourselves and about others. About human nature and about humanity.
Knowledge is always beneficial and perhaps it’s more valuable if gaining it isn’t easy but fought hard for, enduring that inelegance. Maybe that battle assures us that the knowledge and insights we gain are important. Worth remembering.
Undoubtedly, the knowledge and insights stay with us, and we bring it forward in other situations for the rest of our lives. Perhaps in ways that spares us from other hard seasons and their kidney stones.
Of this I am certain: When you’ve been through a hard season and emerge wiser for the experience, you gain a new and deeper appreciation for other seasons. For ones of hope and joy and affirmations of the good in people and in life.
You then understand the saying about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Little looks beautiful when you’re in a kidney-stone season. But when you’re not, beauty manifests in many things.
Mmm, thinking. . . Years ago I wrote a story about a man standing beside a pond and barn. He was mourning the death of his son. He saw dark things like the cracks between the slats in the wooden barn. Dark and murky water.
In the story, there was a little girl at that same pond. She had learned to ride a two-wheel bike and was elated. Joyful. Thrilled at the sense of freedom.
Same pond. Same time-frame. Same story. Just seen through two different sets of eyes, from two in different seasons.
I wrote then: “There is nothing so arrogant as sunshine to one who is grieving.”
Mindset. How we see what we see. And a fitting reminder of the big truth about seasons.
I’m ready for my kidney stone season to pass. I think it’s the darkness before the dawn part. Prayer is definitely my best friend.
This makes so much sense, Vicki. And thank you for sharing hard-earned experience with those who might be going through the darkness right now.