Your Building Character….Oh shut up!

One of my least favorite things that people say in hard times is: “It will be okay. You situation is building character”. Here is some harsh honesty for you…Most of the time when people say that to me I just want to tell them to shut up, hit them with a chair and tell them to develop their own character.

Luckily, that thought stays in my head and the chair stays on the floor. I just give them a smile, roll my eyes and usually tell them that “you’re building character” is code for “Well, this is really gonna suck, you’ll live through it but yep…really gonna suck pond water.”

I don’t mean to be completely negative here. Truly, I know that you cannot be built into a better person without trials. Deep inner change isn’t available in a genie bottle. A person doesn’t learn the joy of life in every moment until they are faced with the inevitability of death. The person who most appreciates the beauty of the mountains is the one who loses their sight and has it restored again or the person who knows that the ability to see will soon be gone. The person who loves the most passionately has experienced being unloved.

We can be made stronger by our trials or we can crumble underneath them and sometimes we crumble before we are made stronger. God is made perfect in our weakness.  What?

He is made perfect not because our weakness strengthens Him but because we are out of the way. It is hard to see Him through the clouded mirror of our success. When things are going well we are more focused on ourselves. When we get out of the way we can see Him in the hard times and He is good.

What?! He is Good?!  How can a God who allows me to be in pain be good?

My Mother and I had a day out yesterday, just her and I. We talked about all sorts of stuff and in our conversation came up my Dad. My Dad died suddenly in 2001 of a heart attack. He had just gone to the doctor 3 days before and was given a clean bill of health. He died in my Mother’s arms.

Mom told me that her goal that first year after he died was to find out why people could say that God is good all the time. She read through the Bible several times that year but her break through moment came in a conversation with an acquaintance. This is how the conversation went (I will call the acquaintance Sandy)

Sandy: “Would you be willing to tell me the situation around your husband’s death and how he died? “

Mom: “He went to work that day. That night we went out to dinner. We went to bed and as he leaned over me to kiss me goodnight he died.”

Sandy: “How beautiful.”

Mom: “Really? Beautiful? (with a are-you-kidding-me tone)

Sandy: “A man has two loves in his life. He is born into the arms of his first love, his Mother. And he died in the arms of his second love, his wife”

Wow. That is when Mom realized….

Yes, God is good. Sometimes it is just not about me.

After she told me this story we wiped our tears for a bit and were quiet. I then asked her “Mom, If you could have really, in reality, have gone back and made that moment better for you. Would you have?”

She said without hesitation “No, I would not have taken those last moments from him.”

God is Good. All the time…. Sometimes it’s just not about us.

So when I go through hard times. When I loose someone I love. When I wonder how in the world we are going to make it through this…. When I find myself in a situation where I have no control… When someone says “It’s okay you are building character” and your current situation seems overwhelming.

God is Good. Sometimes it is just not about you.

That is not always easy to accept in a country that makes everything all about the individual. A person’s perspective is the difference between going through a trial coming out a better person or coming out a defeated or damaged person.

So, yes, I hate it when people say to me “You’re building character” and I don’t always like to hear that “It’s not all about me.” BUT it is true.  I am not the center of anyone’s universe, not even mine, and I shouldn’t be. The universe is an amazing complex place. How amazing that He would love me.

Yes, How amazing that He would love me.

-The Frabjus Lady


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