October 8      

Today's quotation:

When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait.  Life does not look back.

Paulo Coelho
The Devil and Miss Prym

Today's Meditation:

Challenges, of course, seem like a type of adversity-- something sent to us to help us to become stronger, to help us to grow and develop as people.  This is true as long as we're willing to step up and actually meet challenges in our lives rather than shy away from them.  Sometimes challenges come disguised as obstacles that can't be overcome, so it's important that we learn how to discern the difference between a legitimate challenge and something that really isn't worth taking on.

A challenge does invite us to change.  We're not the same people after having met a challenge as we were beforehand, no matter how much we may feel just the same.  And that's one reason why many people refuse to take on the challenges in their lives-- because they fear the changes that may result.  But we should fear less the change than we should fear staying the same always, never growing, never learning.

So what do we do when a challenge arises in our lives that intimidates us?  When we're faced with something that scares us, or maybe even terrifies us?  We take a step back and we reconsider what's before us in order to figure out whether it's a challenge that's worth our while and not just a foolish risk.  If it is a decent challenge, then we need to muster our courage and take it on, knowing that when we successfully face the challenge-- no matter what the outcome-- we will have become slightly different people with a new set of experiences from which we've learned.

I love challenges.  I actively seek them out every chance I get.  Last year, I taught kindergartners because I had never done it before, and it was an amazing experience.  This year I'm back to teaching high school in an area with chronic underperformance, with students who are really good people but who have very poor skills-- and my challenge is to help them to learn strong skills.  Such challenges are the things that life is made of, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this challenge brings me.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy to shy away from challenges and take the safer route?

What was the most important challenge you've ever faced?

What is the next big challenge that you want to take on?

For further thought:

Life is made up of a series of challenges designed to bring us to fullness of growth.  Meeting them with hope in the future is the real test of the spiritual person.

Joan Chittister

more thoughts and ideas on challenges



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