Thursday, February 3, 2011

Learning vs Enduring

I am reading a book called "The Continuous Atonement" by Brad Wilcox, I am really liking it! This morning I read a sentence in there that has had me thinking all day. He asks, "What motivates us to learn from those experiences rather than just endure them?"

Like many of you I have had my share of difficult challenges to go through, and this question is something that I don't think I have ever consciously asked myself before. Am I simply enduring my trials or am I truly learning from them? If I am learning, why am I learning?

For me the answer to this question has evolved over time. If someone had asked me this a few years ago I probably would have said I wanted to learn so that I could be done with this trial and get a new one...I was sick of this particular one! However, I have come to learn that God isn't like that. He doesn't give us our trials with a checklist attached; If you learn patience, humility, and the power of prayer, you will be qualified for challenge number 2! He doesn't have certain challenges for certain principles. He gives us the challenge and let's us decide what we learn, and sometimes He'll give us the same challenge over and over again just to see if we can come up with anything new.

I have had times where I have sat down in the midst of a particularly difficult time and almost screamed at the heavens, "What do you want me to learn from this, I don't understand!" I have learned that the lessons from these kind of experiences rarely come when we feel they should. Instead they come when our Heavenly Father knows we need them the most.

So, what motivates us to learn instead of just trudge along and endure? For me it is all about joy in the journey. Think about it...if you are practicing the piano because your mom is forcing you to or because you just have to get in that 30 minutes of practice every day then you are most likely not really having much fun with it. You're simply enduring through the 30 minutes. However, if you are practicing because you are excited about the musical piece or you're excited to be learning something new it makes the experience a lot more enjoyable. It still may be tedious having to play the same notes over and over in order to learn the lesson, but you'll be happier doing it than if you're only doing it because you have to. I believe this same principle applies to life. If we set about each day eager to learn something new or become better at something it makes life a lot more enjoyable then just trying to get through the day. We may still have tough days, in fact I guarantee we will, but even on the darkest of days we can find joy in the journey. This is what motivates me to look at life through an eye of learning rather than the perspective of simply enduring.