Life can get discouraging.
We feel like we are making real progress and then BOOM something trips us up and we stumble.
But here’s the thing – as long as we have been traveling forward to begin with, when we trip up and fall – we fall forward.
What do I mean by falling forward?
We may make mistakes in any area of our life – relationships, work, parenting – but as long as we learn from those mistakes, we are better off for having made them.
There is an old saying “God helps those who help themselves.”
I used to think that this meant that God (ok, so I am using the term “God” here. You can substitute whatever word makes you comfortable – Higher Power, the Universe, Mother Nature – you get the idea) doesn’t like lazy or unhelpful people and he will withhold his blessings if he thinks this applies to you.
But the other day, when I was thinking about falling forward, I had an a-ha moment about that saying.
First, God’s help never appears in the form we would like. God’s help is contained in those situations which are meant to teach us what we need to learn.
And guess what? Those situations usually suck. They are painful and full of struggles and leave us questioning ourselves.
Because these are not happy times (in most circumstances) most people do not recognize them as gifts from God. In fact they may curse God for putting them through this.
But if you can recognize the gift, grasp the lesson (maybe not learn it this time, but at least know that it is there) you can help yourself by continuing on that spiritual journey.
By knowing that it is a gift, the problem will seem lighter, solutions may come easier, and overall your attitude will brighten.
But God can only help you if you help yourself by recognizing the gift that is given and attempting to figure out the lesson.
So that stumble on your forward march?
Maybe it is meant to get your attention, to wake you up. Or maybe it is meant for you to have to sit down and rest.
Whatever the reason for it, you will always end up further forward on your journey than where you were.