…makes you stronger.
This is what my sons’ basketball coach tells them as he pushes them hard. This quote juxtaposed against my analysis of my Mennonite upbringing offers a new and refreshing perspective. It is a good quote because it encourages me to see the challenges in my life as stepping stones towards strength and maturity.
The challenges in my life are different from the experiences of many others. Many Generation X’ers were latchkey children who came home to an empty house after school each day. Many of them were confused and frightened as their parents brought other sexual partners into the home. I am thankful that I was not neglected by the adults in my life or raised in a broken home.
But there were challenges. To be raised in a secluded culture where lifestyle rules were enforced through religious persuasion isn’t easy either. Today as I carefully create a lifestyle for me and for my family, I still am mentally buffeted by the religiously-fraught expectations and judgment of those that I care about who are still in that culture.
But that which hasn’t killed me is making me stronger. Through this process of sorting out the good from the bad, I have been forced to dig deeper than I otherwise would. My identity is in Jesus. His love is my mainstay. Through this focus He is making me stronger.
Everyone has challenges in their life. You may be the type of person who, like me, needs to analyze these challenges and how they have influenced your life. That’s fine. Or you may be the type of person who doesn’t wish to focus much on the past at all. That is fine also. Either way, I want to encourage everyone to allow the challenges of life to make them stronger.