If given a choice, I think most folks would rather life be filled with only good experiences. Who looks forward to broken relationships, health issues, and any number of unexpected bad news items? Wouldn’t life be better without these negative experiences? I’m not sure it would.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not eager for bad news or events to make their way into my life, or anyone else’s for that matter. I just think that our experiences, especially our negative ones, can be some of our greatest opportunities to learn and grow… as long as we don’t miss the opportunity.
When bad things happen, we often want to ask questions like, “What did I do to deserve this?” or “Why is this happening to me?” These questions are usually not helpful, because the answers are often respectively “Nothing” and “It just is”.
Some better questions to ask, once we get past the initial shock/pain, would be: “What does this situation make possible?” or “What do I need to learn through this experience?” I like to express that last question in the form of a prayer: “God, what do you want me to learn as a result of this experience?”
If I’m going to go through a negative life experience, personally, I’d like to gain something from it versus just having a bad experience. This gain could be anything from:
- A greater understanding of what other people are going though
- A deeper faith
- Increased compassion for others
- A greater understanding of ourselves
- A greater dependence on God
- A million other things we can’t even think of
I hope that your life is heavy on the positive experiences and light on the negative ones. However, every life will have its share of the latter. When they come, be on the lookout for what you can learn or how you can come through it better than you were at the beginning.
Don’t miss the opportunity.