Thank God it’s Fundamental Friday. This weekly article will venture into the fundamental elements of a variety of aspects of our lives and present the questions to us all, “Are we fundamental sound?”
Adversity: The fundamental words for this Friday.
Life is a journey lived not a mystery to solve. As we navigate through our personal journey called life, we will face adversity. Sometime this adversity will derive from places or people that expect them to come from and other times adversities may be completely unexpected. One thing is definite in as we persevere through life is that adversity of one kind or another awaits us.
What exactly is adversity? Adversity is a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune. The key words in this definition are state, instance, and difficulty. That fact that it is a state, let us know that adverse situations can be changed. An instance is a moment in time with is not forever. Difficulty speaks to the challenges that adversity brings. It is in adversity that we grow, mature and are able to develop methods to help us cope with misfortunes.
As a coach and mentor, the challenge of adversity is meeting athletes or students in the midst of their adversity and helping them rise above it. As a young baseball player, I remember being called up to pinch hit during my first night game. In this game, the pitcher was throwing heat (i.e. his throwing about 80 – 85 mph). Since no one on my team was able to get a hit, I did not expect to be called to pinch-hit. From the dugout to the batter’s box was a 15-20 yard journey.
As I took this journey, I could think about was how fast and hard the pitcher was pitching. As I stood in the batter’s box awaiting an opportunity to swing the bat, the catcher had already caught the ball and the umpire sounded out, “Strike One.” In the midst of an awkward confuse instance, I stepped out of the box, glanced at the third base coach and thought, I did not even see the ball.
As I stepped back into the batter’s box ready to attempt to swing the bat, I hear the umpire sound out again, “Strike Two.” Fear set in as I stepped out of the box again. Striking out and walking 15-20 yards back to the dugout was not an option. I re-entered the batter’s box, focused on the pitcher and blocked out all the noise, chants and cheers. Now in the batter’s box, I was ready. The pitcher, after throwing two pitches I literally did not see, decided to throw an off-speed pitch, which I hit to the outfield for a base hit.
Our lives are very similar to this experience. Many of us with jobs, don’t plan to be or foresee a time in which we might be unemployed. I have received a call on a Monday morning stating, “Don’t come in, your position has been removed from the contract.” Initially, I was devastated and I went into a shell. This only prolonged my time in the unemployed state.
Relying on my experience, expertise, and education was not working. It was not until I humbled myself and took a job, well under the pay I was accustom to, that I began to ease out of this adverse situation. Once back in the work field, it was another three years before I was back in a position that utilized my experience, expertise, and education. There is a level of patience that is developed while in the midst of an undesirable situation. My motto has always been “patience is a virtue, but persistence is a must.”
As much as we need to be patient, we cannot stop, give up or give in. We have to continue to push forward, knowing that something will eventually work. Basically, in any adversity we face, we have to keep moving.
For those who have a relationship with God and believe in God’s word. Philippians 4:13 states, “We can do all things through Christ, who strengthen us.” Our growth and maturity in God only come with test, trails, and tribulation.
With each one, hopefully, our faith in God is increasing and we put our complete trust in knowing that God has us. If we pause, as suggested early, reflect on the past situation that we disliked and how God brought us out, we will gain confidence in knowing God will never bring us to a situation that he is not going to stay with us in and eventually bring us out of.
Throughout our lives, we have been in and seen an adverse situation in which we thought there was no way out. It is these situations that we have overcome in the past that should help us realize that our God is going to deliver us. Our attitudes and actions change drastically once we have an attitude that “This too shall pass.” Adjusting our attitudes is one of the challenges that our faith in God will help us with.
In this adversity, I had to face the difficult situation, rely on what I have been trained to do and I was fortunate the pitcher did not throw another fastball. Basically, getting threw adverse situation requires us to face the situation. Too often we retreat when in the midst of adversity juxtapose face this challenge head-on. Our growth, confidence, and ability to deal with adverse situations require us to initially face them.
One of the most important aspects of any adversity we experience is the opportunity to learn from what we are going through. Upon exiting difficult situation, we should look back on the process we went through. Carefully examine and assess our actions and determine if there may have been other actions that may have expedited that time in that situation. This is how and when we get equipped for the next adverse situation.
As we go through life, we must realize that adversity awaits us. When we began to embrace adversity by pausing and catching our breath, then relying on what we know or have been trained, and finally continue to move in the midst of our uncomfortableness, then we will persevere through the adversity. Remember, it is up to us to reflect and examine our path as we exit each trying situation. Contemplate on the steps we took and consider if there may have been another step or path that may have worked out better.
Our growth as individuals and in God is determined by how we deal with adversity. So, on this fundamental Friday, let’s embrace all adversities knowing that we will be stronger, wiser and better equipped for the next one as we go through life. Remember, our biggest growth does not come without challenges, but it comes with the difficulties we experience in each adverse situation.
Until next Friday, let’s move through our journey of life knowing adversities awaits us and remember we have to pause, lean on our experience (training), and never stop moving.