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written from World RV Park in Rawlins, Wyoming and featured image is me fixing our pump that broke this week
My favorite definition of a good life story is
A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.
If this is the definition of a good story, then it can also be the definition of a good life. If so, why do we spend so much of our lives trying to avoid conflict?
Most of us have goals we’d like to achieve, whether they are material possessions, a big family, or dreams of publishing a book. So according to the definition of a good story, we are characters who want something. It’s the second part of living a good story, the conflict, where we struggle.
We don’t want to experience pain or suffer on the way to achieving our goals. We want to be rich, we just don’t want to make all the necessary sacrifices on the way to a fat bank account.
So we play it safe.
Instead we strive to be “financially stable,” or whatever that means. We want a secure job and to live in a safe neighborhood and hang out with our safe, sane group of friends. Even if we aspire to achieve great things, we spend our entire lives avoiding the dilemmas that would ultimately guide us towards our goals. And when those conflicts inevitably still arise, we treat them like a disaster, instead of what they are:
A chance to grow and become a better person. A chance to live a richer story.
Alyssa and I have a “love” journal. She bought it on our one month date and it was meant to travel across any distances our relationship would venture. She was about to leave for New Orleans and we would spend the next seven months writing letters in it, sending it back to the other, and then repeating the process. This morning I brought it back out and wrote her a letter, even though she’s sitting across the table from me.
I told her to not worry about the unknown and what is to come, because I have faith we will overcome any trials we face. I let her know that I believe God put us on mission during this journey, and that if He brought us into this, He will bring us out. Most importantly, I told her we have a rare opportunity to face trials many people will never experience. Since most people are avoiding trials and we’re facing ours head on, we have a unique chance to grow into better versions of ourselves.
We are facing a lot of conflict. Just to name a few:
- Driving a 20 year old RV, stuff breaks sometimes
- Being within 60 sq. ft of your newlywed spouse for seven months
- Being away from family, friends, and all that we know to be familiar
- Learning new skills in editing and filming
- Being able to balance work and travel
The conflicts and obstacles are many. We’re facing more obstacles right now than we’ve faced in most of our lives. We had it safe, easy, and comfortable. But characters and people don’t grow when situations are ripe and fun. We grow when placed outside of our comfort zone, because it’s in this place we have no choice but to fold or move forward.
This is not only true for humans, it’s true for all things in nature. When we work out, our muscles must reach the point of complete exhaustion in order to finally make progress. Every time we work out they rip apart and then come back stronger. Or when a forest fire tears through and plows a region, it now has the opportunity for more sunlight to reach plants that had otherwise been covered with dense foliage. A new generation of seedlings can now grow.
The evidence is all around us. We see it in young men and women who have overcome harsh childhoods and found wild success. We see it in some of our favorite entrepreneurs who came from rag stories and experienced so much pain on their journey. Most of us want to become the better person but we don’t want to go through the pain in order to get there.
But there is no better story without first enduring a little bit of conflict.
A different perspective on your thought of people not facing their trials…..I don’t agree with your statement that most people run from their trials, and here is why. Trials are how we learn and experience the life that God has laid out for us. I do think that some people like to always talk about their trials to everyone where others choose not to share but to carry their burdens silently. Depending on your personality, it will determine what you tend to do. I have learned in life that everyone has trials. We tend to think our trials are so much worse than anyone else’s….until you start listening to other’s trials. Then you start to realize that God is giving you what you can handle at that present time. Things could be better and things could be a lot worse. But God isn’t going to throw you into a challenge that He isn’t going to be there for you to teach and bring you out a better person. It is easy to look at a family that appears to maybe have it all, house, kids, good jobs, green grass, pool, pantry full of food, etc… But if you sit down and talk with them and truly listen, I guarantee they are struggling with some trial(s) in their life. It’s always easy to think that the grass is greener on the other side, but once you get there you can see it really isn’t. It’s just the illusion. This was a lesson that Dallas would teach our family. The trials that you are having are really no different than if you were here. Money, housing, jobs, these are all trials that you would have to face if you were here. The trials are going to be there no matter what, but how you choose to handle your trials determines and molds you as a person. I feel like someone who is truly running from their trials would be someone who runs to drugs, alcohol, addictions, to try and bury themselves.
“Even if we aspire to achieve great things, we spend our entire lives avoiding the dilemmas that would ultimately guide us towards our goals.”
This might be the case when you are young. You don’t want to put in the practice for a sports team, or extra workouts, or long days of rehearsals, etc… But as you mature into an adult, you recognize that the only way that you will succeed is to set a goal and strive for it. Some people have major goals and some people have minor goals. Everyone is different. It doesn’t mean that the person that has minor goals is any more or less important than the next person. Without hourly employees, there would be no need for management. So the world needs all kinds in order for the world to go around.
I think that you and Alyssa both are maturing on your adventure. You are out in the world and having to face real problems(trials) with real solutions. For some it’s the best way to learn lessons. For the two of you, even if you are facing the same trials that you would have had here, you have some of the best scenery to go through these trials. Being able to see the beauty of the country that the good Lord created is a great reminder that there is a much bigger picture. Someday, these trials will seem so small to you, but you will be able to see that they were mere stepping stones in the road that God takes you down.
At the top of this, you state that you would love to hear my thoughts….so these were mine 😉
I absolutely welcome and love your thoughts 🙂 thanks for writing this, sincerely. “but how you choose to handle your trials determines and molds you as a person.” I especially love this part. Miss and love you, Heath.
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