In our previous Wisdom Note, we continued series called The Cycles and Seasons of Life, Prepare During Spring. Today we continue with the growth of summer. If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes please go to the blog to read past newsletters.
Success in life is not an easy matter, nor is it an easy matter for the seed to push away the soil in its quest to find the light and airborne chemicals that give it health. Progress in any form and happiness or success in any form requires constant effort, for obstacles exist that might discourage you if you are weak or if you feel undeserving. Overcome one obstacle in life, and another appears to fill the void. Life is designed to be a story of achievement in spite of adversity, not in the absence of adversity, for without adversity achievement could not exist.
Do not blame the problems and challenges of life for your humbling circumstances. Does the seed complain because of the rocks it must grow over, under, around, or through? Would any worthy life exist on earth if all life were to surrender when first confronted by difficulty? The constant, unrelenting pull of life is downward—giving cause for disappointment, despair, and discouragement. There shall always be a reason to give up; there shall always be cause for complaint. But if you engage in complaining, you add to the downward pull of life. The only automatic thing in life is weeds and insects. They need not be planted, nor cared for. Their existence is assumed in that they feed and survive on the good efforts of the industrious.
The summer of life is a time to protect; it is a time for the constant daily effort to guard against the busy insects and the harmful weeds. The spring is a time for the creation of things of value, and those things require the season of summer for growing and gaining strength so that you might yield your results in the coming fall. The end of spring cannot bring an end of your effort. Your spring effort ends, and your summer efforts remain yet to begin. If your effort ceases at the end of spring, your neglect will make its haunting appearance, and your growth will turn to stagnation and decay.
Develop an understanding and awareness of the fact that all good will be attacked. It is life’s way of qualifying those who are worthy and those who are not. The weeds of life are designed to turn confidence into doubt, trust into suspicion, patience into impatience, and effort into procrastination, worry, and eventual defeat. Do not invest valuable time arguing with how life is.
The weeds, insects, rocks, and storms of life will all laugh at you if you take the time to viciously accuse them of being unfair. Are they unfair? Yes, but you cannot seek something for nothing or seek the rewards of life without paying the price of waging war against obstacles by increased activity and determination. Invest no time chasing the birds who seek to peck at your seeds or the insects who seek to devour your coming harvest. For if you make diligent efforts to plant, protect, and preserve, there are not enough birds, insects, or other obstacles to destroy all the efforts invested in the spring season of life.
Learn to accept the perpetual existence of negativity, and also learn that negativity always yields to your constant effort coupled with your constantly growing faith and positive attitude. As is written in Galatians 6:7, “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”
This is one of the many basic principles or truths of life and arises only when you combine the efforts of planting with the mental effort of believing, and the physical effort of constant attention to those things of value. Smile at adversity, and take action quickly to eliminate it. Expect adversity, for it shall surely appear. Be grateful for adversity, for it forces your spirit to grow. Your character is formed not in the absence of difficulty but in your response to difficulty.
Both of us, you and I, live in a world of causes and consequences. The harvest, which is our life as we now live it, is the result of seeds planted at an earlier time. Some of the “seeds” we planted ourselves through unbreakable habits. Others were planted for us by parents, teachers, and other well-meaning, but often misguided, people whose own poor thinking habits were passed on to us. In either case, our current attitude, finances, environment, lifestyle, and view of our own future possibilities are called circumstances—and to change circumstances, we must change the cause of those circumstances, which is ourselves. We must change our habits, our attitudes, our opinions, and often our occupation, residence, and even friends if circumstances are ever to change.
Think about it in this analogy…A man visits the shop of a gardener and, without thinking or even inquiring, selects what appears to be an attractive plant, which he purchases, takes home, and plants in his yard. Months later he discovers that the plant has grown, matured, and now blossoms into a healthy poinsettia to which he is allergic. To wish now that the plant were a rose or a tulip, would be foolish. The circumstances will not change because he dislikes the result. He alone is the cause of his watery eyes and running nose.
And so it is if you are a person who lives amid mediocrity—whether the seeds which brought about that condition were placed into the soil of life by yourself or by someone else is unimportant. To accuse others, to feel sorry for yourself, or to continue rationalizing or making excuses is foolish. Only a massive, voluntary and effective assault on changing causes is important. Direct your thought, conversation, and full attention to that if you wish to change circumstances.
Concentrate a good share of your idle hours upon self-development by planning more, reading more, and investing more. Invest your time in worthy projects; invest your thoughts toward a worthy purpose; invest your talents toward a worthy occupation; invest your affection toward a worthy recipient; and finally, reserve your greatest respect for yourself, for it is that image – what you perceive yourself to be – that determines your quality of life. Never forget that you are created in the very image of God as is written in Genesis 1:27, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Let’s face it. People and events are going to continue to both hurt and disappoint you. Among those people will be those you most love as well as those you least know. Seldom is it their intent to purposely hurt you, but rather a variety of situations mostly beyond your control will cause them to act, speak, or think in ways that can hurt you, your present feelings, emotions, and the way your life unfolds. It has been this way through six thousand years of recorded history, and your hurt or grief is not the first time a human has been deeply hurt by the inappropriate actions of another.
The only way to avoid being touched by life, the good as well as the bad, is to withdraw from society. Even then you will disappoint yourself, and your imaginings about what is going on out in the world will haunt you and hurt you. Knowing this, there is but one solution that will support you when people and events hurt you—and that is to learn to work harder on your own personal growth than anything else. Since you cannot control the weather or the traffic or the ones you love or your neighbors or your boss, then you must learn to control yourself. It is only your response to the difficulties of life that really counts.
Do not doubt yourself, for where doubt resides confidence cannot. Do not neglect yourself, for with neglect comes loss. Do not imagine yourself to be less than you are nor more than you are, but seek always to become all of which you are capable of. Do not allow yourself to become arrogant or discourteous, for both are characteristics adopted by those who seek to cover their weaknesses. Do not waste time regretting the past, but invest that time wisely by preparing a better future. You are a fertile seed of the creator of all things, destined not to lie dormant but to spring forth from the soil called life and grow upward toward the unlimited horizons— overcoming all obstacles in the process.
It is your destiny to tap your talents and to achieve all that of which you believe yourself to be worthy…to love more, anticipate more, overcome more, plan more, attract more, and to enjoy more than you ever dreamed possible. Such is the standard of life awaiting your mental decision and outstretched hand.
This has been a rather lengthy trail on today’s trek, but one that we really need to take to heart, consider, and understand. The immutable laws of planting and harvesting are set by God and cannot be changed or violated any more than we can override the law of gravity. When you grasp this concept, then you can direct and achieve a rich and satisfying life that Jesus offers in John 10:10. In our next note, we will change our season to fall which is a time for harvest.