by Edie Melson
In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. I Corinthians 4:2 NASB
When I think of stewardship, I think about managing something that is owned by someone else. I don’t often think of my own life in that context, and I especially don’t think of my struggles that way.
I think of my struggles as part of the journey. And in a lot of ways that’s what they are.
Truthfully, though, they’re much more than that. The difficulties I face go beyond just being bumps in the road. The things I struggle with are circumstances and experiences that mold me into a clearer representation of Jesus. The situations I’ve been a part of, the things I’ve learned along the way, even the people I’ve come into contact with, make up a very real part of who I am.
And I’ve come to realize that every aspect of this life—along with these struggles—is a gift from God. Each one is something He’s given me to make me into the person He knows I can be. Some of these experiences have been resolved and ended up in places of joy. Others have led me through great sorrow. Each one has added something to who I am.
This process of accepting the necessity of struggle has led me to think deeper about them; to question the purpose of the difficulties I’ve faced.
What if these experiences aren’t just for me?
I’ve learned that they aren’t just for me. God hasn’t given me these experiences to have me squander and hoard them only for my benefit. I believe He expects me to share my experiences with others. He wants to use them to show others His faithfulness, and allow them to learn difficult lessons through my experiences.
Paul talks about this in his second letter to the Corinthians. He’d seen wonderful success in his ministry: many souls won to Christ, numerous local churches planted, and deep friendships formed. He’d also been through some terrible times: imprisonment, beaten and whipped numerous times, stoned, and shipwrecked. After listing the difficulties, he summarized: “If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness” (2 Corinthians 11:30 NASB).
What would be the benefit of sharing those struggles with others? Paul wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV). Paul shared God’s faithfulness in each of his experiences to help others in their own relationship with Him.
So instead of hoarding my struggles, I’m going to share them. I’m going to trust that God has a bigger purpose than just me. I’m going to quit hiding away my experiences, letting them gather dust in the dim corners of my memory. From this moment forward, I’m throwing open the doors and inviting those around me see the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly.
About the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, While My Child is Away; Prayers for While We’re Apart is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.comand on Facebook and Twitter.
Join the conversation: What past experiences have you shared with others? What were you hoping they would learn?