Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Life is a Series of Steps

There is something very organic about solving a math problem.

Yes, geek alert. BUT STAY WITH ME FOR A MINUTE. I promise there will be a sweet surprise if you hang in there.

Numbers have their roots in nature, in creation, in evolution, in every part of life. We are made up of over 3 billion base pairs of information. The earth has been around for over 4.54 billion years. 

2 + 2 has always been and will always be 4. 

Looking at the following math problem, 

one who doesn’t like numbers will have one of two reactions: 

       Who cares?    OR        I'm about to

Yet I would argue that our lives are a series of unsolved math problems. 

When the problem in front of us looks overwhelming, unsolvable, or inconceivable, we often find ourselves ignoring it so we don’t hyperventilate. 

And for some reason, everything is magnified during the holidays…including our problems.

We all have those family members or friends who we struggle with. Perhaps the loss of a loved one haunts us. Things seem bigger than us and we hyperventilate at the thought of getting past what seems to be insurmountable odds. When the rest of the year we muster up the courage to say, “who cares,” this special season we seem unable to find anything but our old wounds. The internal hurts appear to be beyond our ability to solve.

I can’t help but think that this is the devil’s greatest triumph. At a time of year when we are supposed to be concentrating on the fact that Jesus was born into this world to save us, we choose to focus on our hurts instead. 

Instead of taking life step by step, as solving a math problem demands, we want to skip to the end. It is in those moments that we lose our organic nature, our ability to rise to the challenge. The effect is that we stunt our life’s timeline.

What would happen if we confronted the problem in front of us?

Just like solving a math problem, we can take it step by step. The first step is to write down the problem we are trying to solve. 

Look at it in a different way. 

Move things around both sides of the life equation. 

Get perspective. Then step by step, move. MOVE. To a different place. 

Many times the movement itself changes everything.

There were countless times I had to erase a step in a math problem I was trying to solve and rewrite it. 

What if we did that with life’s hurts? Could we try to “Be not afraid” to make mistakes and erase or start over? In the end, we might be one step closer to the answer.

And you can lie to me, but the reality is, even the math haters LOVED writing down the correct answer. It’s closure…right?

Confront the hurt that haunts you. Rise to the challenging problem in front of you. 

There is more grace to give and receive this time of year than any other time. Let’s take advantage of it and not shrink from what distorts the timeline of our lives. 

Henry Ford said, “Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.”

Really we are no different than math. We start out at one place and we end up in another. Physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally we are never who we start out to be. That in itself is as organic as math. 

Problems exist in our lives. They always will. How we approach them, though, makes all the difference in the world.

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