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As I sit and write in a vulnerable state I can’t help but think about the meaning behind certain struggles. Last night at our Challenge Group in the-life-business we discussed the topic of Attitude in Orrin Woodward’s Resolved book used in the Mental Fitness Challenge. The video and discussion questions really helped our teams re-frame our attitude on how we perceive struggle.

This morning I had coffee with a leader in my team, Matt, and he had shared some very recent news with me that was far from positive. He just received notice that the job he had been at for 8 years as a general manager was being taken from him. Normally when I sit down with people and hear these stories it is less than favorable. But this morning went completely opposite. Matt has always been a person with a positive attitude and this meeting was great confirmation! Not once in the 2 hour discussion did Matt digress to the negative. In fact, every topic we discussed was positive and Matt even said that losing his job was a ‘blessing.’ Now how often do we hear that in this economy? He says that now he can focus on the ‘big rocks’ in his life such as faith, family, fitness and following (LIFE/TEAM). Matt has been reading, listening and associating with the-team.biz community for over a year and I am so proud of the growth he has had in all areas of his life. What a great example of re-framing a negative situation by making it positive and finding meaning and purpose in the struggle.

While Matt is a great example for us to follow, it isn’t always that easy for us to re-frame our thinking about certain struggles. I have found myself more recently being backed into a corner with my struggles. Sometimes the only thing I can do is sit in the corner and pray for guidance and healing in my struggles. But the fallen woman side of me just wants the struggles to go away; as if I can just sleep it off and tomorrow everything will be okay again. But I am sure you would agree with me that it never works that way. In the moment it is extremely difficult to see the purpose and the meaning behind the struggle but eventually it is revealed to us.

Please take a moment to read this short story about finding a purpose in every struggle:

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through life without struggles, it would cripple us. Struggles make us stronger and more adaptable to change and resistance.

In the struggle…

I asked for strength…and God gave me difficulties to overcome.

I asked for wisdom…and God gave me problems to solve.

I asked for prosperity…and God gave me brains and energy to work.

I asked for courage…and God gave me obstacles to conquer.

I asked for love…and God gave me troubled people who were needing help.

I asked for favors…and God gave me opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted…but I received everything I needed.

I often have to remind myself that the struggles only get bigger on the journey to excellence. So welcome the struggle; for eventually you will discover it’s purpose and meaning.