Do You Learn From Your Success or Failure?

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11 NASB

“Experience is brutal but we learn. Oh God, how we learn!” C. S. Lewis

We are illegitimate if we are not disciplined. Check Hebrews 12:8. Parents discipline and our Father is no different. Well, he IS perfect.

I watched an interview of a successful man teaching young people. They were in their teens to early 20’s and were mesmerized by him. Some listening had tears, some nodded their heads, some had blank stares, some drank in his words like Gospel. He said, “I’ve never learned from my successes but I sure learned by pain and failure.” He is a Christian. He battled addictions anger and more. He’s very successful spiritually, financially and a wonderful parent. Obviously, that’s not how he started.

Yep. That’s how it really is.

And it’s embarrassing.

And it’s discouraging.

And it’s humiliating.

And we all get to experience it. Humbling ourselves “under the mighty hand of God” is not a priority, especially when young and idealistic but it sure does happen.

All children need guidance, discipline (punishment is for another day. Hint: It’s not love), reassurance, belonging and love. I still receive this and will until I’m called home. I’m old and still need discipline and peaceful fruit. Even Jesus was disciplined, which Hebrews states. Hard to believe!

From learning how to ride a bike to becoming a marketing manager, mistakes were made. They were painful experiences.  They were embarrassing events bordering on shameful. Agonizing. I remember my first few weeks of managing and I had a smart, resourceful employee showing up late day after day because of a controlling and lazy boyfriend. I had another who was a controller. If someone said, “darn” they were denounced and banned to the abyss. Great way to start a successful department, no?

Did I learn to overcome with books? No. They helped. Did I overcome by classes? Therapy? No. But I sure went.  Pain was my teacher. Pain got my attention. Pain motivated me to work. Peaceful fruit of righteousness? Absolutely not! Sleepless nights? Oh, yes! Because I had to dig deeply inside of me. It was the Father and mature Christian mentors that guided me.

But I had to do the work. At times it really was brutal.

Then I had blissful success.

Warm relationships.

Bills paid and savings.

Money to contribute to charity.

Gifts for my loved ones.

Horses, dogs and cats. Oh my!

A vacation.

And the start of a mysterious, fulfilling relationship with the perfect Father. Sometimes the feelings were so big and loving, I couldn’t contain them. They come.

Musings

Life is tricky. A roller coaster of ups and downs and no way to get off. In between are mundane days of bill paying, doing housework, budgets and traffic.  Accepting risk with the Father’s help and others will make the ups sweeter and the downs bearable. And peaceful fruit.

Prayer

Dear Father,

We thank you for your discipline because it brings us peaceful fruit. James said “Count it all joy when you encounter various trials.” We can’t do that—not honestly. So we trust. We do not count on our own understanding. We acknowledge you in all we do. We continue with you at the helm.

We don’t want to be illegitimate. We want to be heirs. We want you.

Amen.

Published by Barbara Hinther

Barbara Hinther author of Meditations and Encouragement for the Caregiver of a Loved One with Dementia and What About Me, God. Time to share what she has learned and hopefully, others will know they are not alone. This too, shall pass with beautiful, yet painful, lessons. Barbara lives in a rural town in Idaho where all is community. Bless everyone in the community for their support and their never-ending let’s pitch in attitude! She worked in marketing for over 30 years and volunteered with the Idaho Youth Ranch and St. Vincent’s de Paul Thrift Store. Then her hardest job ever was caring for her husband who died from Lewy body dementia and needed her full-time care. Feelings of abandonment were constant. Life was very difficult for a while, but love, faith and hope will overcome. Let the adventure continue!

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