All things considered, life can be pretty rough sometimes. Adversity is no respecter of persons, but those who rise above adversity are able to recognize its role in their lives and take initiative to react to it positively. Over the last year, my life has taken some very unexpected turns.
A year ago, I had a successful internship with one of the top companies in the financial services industry. I was planning on turning it into a career, but it seems that God had other plans for me. All at once, my wife and I both felt we needed to move across the country to live closer to her family. It was hard to leave my family and the career I was so passionate about, but we knew we were doing the right thing.
Since we have been in our new home, I spent six months being unemployed with lots of interviews and nothing to show for it. Then I’ve spent another five months being underemployed and not really enjoying or knowing where I am professionally. I would consider myself a go-getter, but it seems that everywhere I go, doors close off. I don’t want to admit how long I’ve spent thinking about where the guys I graduated high school with are right now and comparing myself with them. It’s been a soul-wrenching experience that has left me confused, depressed and sometimes angry.
But the experience has also caused me to be thoughtful, especially lately. I believe there’s a purpose for everything, and I also believe God has a plan for my life. That’s one of the reasons why I haven’t tried to get out of the situation. I want to make sure I learn what I need to learn.
There have been times in the past year when I’ve felt hopelessly lost, and there have been times when I have been afraid that my future won’t look any brighter. I mean, I spent years learning about the positive aspects of adversity, but it’s difficult to teach someone how to drive a car without hands-on practice. The fact is, whether you believe in Jesus, Allah, Buddha or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, life just stinks sometimes, and that’s OK. The only time the experience is worthless is when you don’t come out stronger. Here are some of the lessons I have learned.
Recognize the positive role that adversity has in your life and its ability to help you grow and improve yourself.
Stop worrying and feeling self-pity. These are negative reactions that can be toxic to your progress.
Come closer to your spiritual self, whether it’s through scripture, prayer, meditation, yoga or whatever else. It will help expand your mind and acceptance.
Focus on the problems that you can control. For the ones you can't control — let go.
Have hope in your future. Thomas Carlyle once wrote, “Out of the lowest depths there is a path to the loftiest heights.”
Ben lives with his wife, Kilee, and dog, Paisley, in Arkansas. He has a passion for personal finance, sports, and learning. Ben recently started a blog at www.wealthgospel.com where you can find more of his opinions on personal finance. His life goals are to write about personal finance all day and start a non-profit organization to help others become self-reliant and to find their true potential. On any given day, you could find him eating homemade salsa, picking blackberries, or staying up until 3 a.m. to finish a book.