“’Problems make us focus our energy,’ said Merlin. ‘They can help us think more sharply and act more swiftly. Never wish for all your problems to disappear. Problems can help you achieve your goals.’” —The Night of the New Magicians from the Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne.
I read those words last night to Katie. As I said them aloud, they resonated inside of me. How could a little fiction story have so much truth to it?
Problems can strengthen us. By looking at problems as an educational and spiritual experience, they become a focus to us that can be good as we try to find a solution. If we allow the problem to be just that – a problem that needs a solution; then our minds will naturally want to determine the best way out of the problem. Our minds become clearer and sharper as we search for an answer, calmly.
Problems can overcome us. When we allow problems to be a distraction and a burden, then our minds lose focus. We go into breakdown mode. We cannot see the forest because of all the trees. Our focus becomes all about getting us out of this horrible problem. We will do anything to get us out of the dilemma we are facing! This is when we harm the problem/solution process. This is when we become too self-focused and move away from the message of the problem. We will do anything to make the problem just go away!
At Katie’s Montessori school, teaching is based on problems being a good thing. Don’t panic. Don’t fret. Allow your brain to help you through it. Look to your peers for help. Go to the teacher for guidance. Always know that it may seem like a struggle, but there is a way out.
I love this philosophy because all of us need to see the benefits of problems. We need to learn to step back and think them through. Persevere through the uncomfortable. Don’t let the problem break you. Don’t panic. Don’t worry. Know this struggle will not last forever. There is always a way out.
Jesus taught us (in his short time on this earth) that He can help us on our journey. He will be there to lift us out, to guide us through the struggle.
First we have to make sure that we truly believe that problems will strengthen us. When doubt creeps in, then you are in danger of letting the problem overtake you. You are pushing Jesus away.
Use your problems to achieve goals. They are a means to an end. They pave the way to a better life. They can spark something you never knew even existed within your very being.