Saturday, December 12, 2009

Learning from Experience, Yours & Theirs

Congratulations on living as long as you have! You must have learned a lot of things, by now. Have you thought about this: what you now know may be interesting or helpful to someone else?

And consider this: many of us have thrown away a lesson we once learned, simply because we never thought it through, and we have never written it down. We struggled, survived, but then forgot it.

If we’ve coped with some calamity, but haven’t analyzed the situation, then there’s a big chance that we may face another calamity and have to learn the hard way, again. To profit from our past experiences we need to make sense of the cause and effect.

Tensions, temptations and transitions come to all. None of us will live long enough to make all the mistakes and learn all the lessons first-hand. Learning from experiences — good and bad — of others can save us a lot of time!

Pour yourself a cup of coffee (or herbal tea) and take a walk down memory’s lane. See how you will answer the following:
  • Was there a major turning point in my life?
  • What has brought me the most joy?
  • What have I learned from observing others?
  • How did I see that life is worth living?
  • Who have I been able to encourage?
Major life lessons are worth thinking about. Some events can be extrapolated to yield useful insights into life, in general. Go ahead, and discover your responses to other thought-provoking questions:
  • What has God taught me from lack of money?
  • What has God taught me from pain — sorrow — depression?
  • What has God taught me through waiting?
  • What has God taught me through health issues?
  • What has God taught me from disappointment?
  • What have I learned from my family and my relationships?
  • What have I learned from my church and small groups?
  • What have I learned from my critics?
  • What has God taught me from failure?
  • Who have I helped and challenged to greater spiritual awareness?
If you consider the effort you’ve put into your own survival and your own success so far, perhaps you’ll want to invest some time writing down the insights you have gained through your challenges, problems, circumstances. Don’t be put off by the word, “writing.” It isn’t an official-looking term paper for school. No teacher is going to red-mark your spelling or grammar! This project is for you, and you’ll judge its contents and appearance.

You’ll then be in a better position to grasp the value of your own life lessons. You’ll be able to more effectively share nuggets of wisdom with others.

Don’t be surprised if the Lord brings someone into your life who needs to hear some of what you have to say. Your success in dealing with some problem, addiction, grief, or illness may bring help and encouragement to others.

Why has God put you here on earth? First, to bring you to an awareness of Him, so you will want to turn your back on sin and invite Jesus into your heart. Receive Him and be baptized. Then, He will allow you to be part of His reaching out to others who need to hear the way of salvation so they can have a loving relationship with Him, too.

Sharing our life lessons with others is one way we can tell others about God’s grace.

“Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders;
make the most of every opportunity.”
(Colossians 4:5 NIV).

We are not expected to do this by our own abilities, clever arguments, or even heartfelt sincerity. God will enable and empower us by His Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8). Be thankful for this!

Life is not meant to be a string of confusing and frustrating episodes without purpose or meaning. Find out what God has been doing in your life, then ask Him to show you how to make the most out of what you’ve got. Picture yourself hearing the awesome words, “Well done, good and faithful friend. Enter into the joy of My eternal presence.” (taken from Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:21, John 3:15 and John 15:14).

So, what do you know? Do you know this?

“ Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way.
The Lord be with you all.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:16).
# # #
by Elaine Hardt ©2003