It is my sincerest belief that we can’t know true joy and true happiness unless we also know what suffering looks like. Unless we have something to compare it to, the joy just IS or the happiness just IS. It’s not a state of elation, it’s not a state of deep contentment, because we don’t know what the opposite truly looks like.
Albert Einstein said –
Great Spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
Usually the opposition finds us by way of jealousy, by way of being unsupported, by way of fear, or by way of greed or pride. It is through the opposition that we discover what we are really made of, what our priorities really are, and what we are truly capable of. Without the opposition however, we never truly challenge ourselves to be more than where we are. We need the opposition to grow. We need the opposition to learn about ourselves, and to learn about those who are opposing us.
Why are they opposing us? Is it because we are a threat to their system? What does this say about myself if I respond negatively, or in an unhealthy way? They say that Satan is quick to throw a kink in the plan when he knows there is something glorious at work. Isn’t that kind of a fun way of viewing it? Knowing that BECAUSE there’s opposition, there MUST be something GOOD coming? *Now – taking that with a grain of salt – I think you have to be mindful of the opposition might be a very GOOD thing if it’s preventing you from turning down a path that isn’t in God’s will. Learning to listen to His will takes time, and it also takes effort in being heavily meditated with scripture.*
Opposition overall however, usually points out that we are on a good path and that there is something great on the other side of this fear, on the other side of this trial, on the other side of this suffering. In my own life I’ve seen this play out time and time again. The best things I’ve ever received, have come on the other side of fear. The best things came from working through the opposition. But if we don’t work through the opposition, we become stagnant, unmoving, unchanging, and not growing. Take the flowers of the field, they have to endure through the wind, through the rain, through the sun scorched days, but when they have a farmer tending to them with love and knowledge, they usually grow.
Just a few examples from my own life that have been met with great opposition:
– Finding a house to live in when I moved to Wilmington (This turned out to be best, because it allowed me to wait for THE house in which I met all of my very BEST friends which has given me great connection to my city and great community.)
– Taking a job in California working with refugees in summer of 2015. (This was a trying time full of loneliness, and learning how to navigate systems by myself – however this allowed me to learn how to be okay with being by myself, it also provided amazing perspective in working with others of different cultures. So much learning and growth.)
– Getting into Grad School (It was a fly by the seat of my pants initiative, no time to study for the GRE, no time to prep my application with perfection. Incorporated lots of prayer, and lots of relying on someone greater than myself to get me in -which ultimately landed me the perfect job for me, and again lots of connection to people around me.)
– Falling in love (falling in and falling out of love again taught me so much about how to navigate relational waters, what to look for, and what to avoid. I learned about myself and learned how to love better in the future.)
All these things above were met with great heartache, lots of searching, lots of finding, lots of suffering, but most of all lots of opposition. But guess what – I am currently living my happiest and most content life YET. And I say YET, because I know that growth will continue. I know that I will continue to learn contentment more and more. I know suffering and heartache will continue, but as Paul has said:
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be CONTENT. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.
– Philippians 4:11-14
One of the biggest things I’ve learned in all my opposition, is to not go it alone. It is nearly impossible to overcome opposition alone while living in the western hemisphere full of it’s societal means of bringing you down daily. Being open and vulnerable with others is the greatest way to combat the opposition. Being honest with your emotions, honest with yourself, honest with your progress, and honest with your goals. The phrase “it takes a village” is true not just of raising children, but of raising ourselves.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
– Galatians 6:1-2
Let us rise (insert Katy Perry song tunes in your head now) together, and work together to overcome the opposition. Let us talk together, share together, break bread together, worship together, pray together, and serve one another (Acts 2:42-47). There is much good to be had. There is much more LIFE and LIFE to the FULL (John 10:10) that is waiting just on the other side of our fear. Good things can’t be acknowledged as good things until we’ve met the opposition to those good things. So let us acknowledge the opposition. Let us work together. Let us overcome, and stand tall in all the glory and splendor we’ve been promised. Let us be MADE WELL!
And here is just a little Will Smith inspiration for you to get you through the day: Everything you want is on the other side of fear.