Growth often comes out of a time of adversity, so they say. Today was the first day I was back on my feet after three days in bed with the flu… not a fun experience at the best of times but combined with being ultra-single at the moment, as well as living on my own and the self-pity well and truly kicked in after a couple of hours.
After watching twenty-seven episodes of Gossip Girl, two packets of Ibuprofen, a lot of tissue and a lot of pathetic unnecessary crying- this is what I have learnt about adversity…
Adversity makes you question your purpose. While I was stuck on the sofa I found myself doubting many things which I know to be true. It brought into stark reality where my identity was when I was unable to do anything – What is my point if I can’t get up and rush about doing all my usual jobs? I felt so weak I questioned my ability to follow what I know, in the cold light of day, God is calling me to. The idea of starting up a network to support single Christians seemed like a bit of a pipe dream.
Adversity tempts you to fall back on old habits and veer off the path. I was feeling depressed that there wasn’t anyone to message or anyone to make my Lemsip or carry me up to bed (please bear in mind I’d watched a lot of Gossip Girl at this point) and I have to say the temptation to send ill-advised messages to beaus of relationships past was alluring.
Adversity twists the truth. Sometimes is hard to see anything good through the fog of adversity. I started to feel bitter about being on my own and bitter towards my friends – even though they were amazing and brought me round cake and did my washing up. I felt bitter about my life and all the negative bits seemed to be highlighted.
I’d love to say somewhere in the middle of my pretty pathetic mini melodrama I had an amazing experience of God… to be completely honest I didn’t. But – I have found in this and many other times of adversity, clinging on to the hope I have in Jesus was the only thing that dragged me through. ‘But you O Lord, are a shield that protects me. You are my glory and the one who restores me.’ Psalm 3. I have this passage on my chalk board in the kitchen and so often have I clung to it with all my heart, head down as the storm passes over, knowing that God is with me in it and after it passes by, which is always eventually does, his promises will still be true, his arm will still be strong and his future will still be hopeful.
And that's when the growth comes... keep holding on again and again through every adversity and as we continually trust him and rely on him, we begin to see the sunshine even before the storm has ended.