When Are Your Struggles Gifts From God?

“My MS (Multiple Sclerosis) is a gift, and I need to look at it like other gifts.”

For the last few years, I have devoted a large amount of my time researching, analyzing, and listening for keys to how our weaknesses can be turned into strengths.  Having heard these words so many times, or words similar to them, I have wondered what the “secret” is to these kinds of responses.  The answers come from those who have struggled, suffered, often in silence, and yet will not let their burden get the best of them.

As we get older, we quickly realize that getting past our pain is less useful than finding purpose from that pain.  My recent book, I Survived. Now What? is all about finding—and often creating—a purpose from the loss we have experienced.

But can our pain and loss actually be “gifts”?

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Other than the common responses (i.e. God knew you can handle it, you are just being tested, no pain no gain), let me say I absolutely believe our greatest challenges can indeed become our greatest strengths.  Loss/pain changes us, and we will never be the same again.  Even if we cannot change the past, or recover what or who was lost, we can change how we respond to that pain or loss.

Although I would not describe my book as a “churchy” or “spiritual/religious” book, the truth is that how people transition from being burdened by their pain/loss to learning how to use the gifts that pain/loss has generated is indeed a spiritual journey, different for each person.  Finding—at the core—who you really are, what you are made of, and more importantly, what you can become is very powerful and motivating, even while in the midst of our pain and loss.  Finding or creating that purpose creates compassion, humility, and becomes part of your identity.  Not only does it help you, it helps others as well.

This week, I invite you to consider what “gifts” you have been given, and rather asking why you have to go through these things, to find out what you can do because of these gifts.


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