In Others’ Words: The Difficult Road

Difficult Road quote Evans 2.10.14 I don’t know about you, but I’ve looked for various forms of success for a lot of my life. One of the earliest forms of success started way back in grade school spelling bees … and I’m still wrangling with words in pursuit of success.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always hoped that success would be found, well, on a smooth paved road.

Rarely happened that way for me.

Do you like greeting cards? (Stick with me here, I haven’t wandered off topic.) One time I was browsing the card racks and I found this card … and I bought it for myself. Why? Because I was going through a difficult time and I laughed out loud when I read the words on the cover and inside:

Cover (which had a cartoon image of a wet, bedraggled cat): We learn the most from our most difficult times.

Inside: What a stupid, stupid system.

When I found that card, the circumstances in my life made me feel like that waterlogged cat — and no one was offering me a towel or an umbrella.

So what’s all this about success and difficult times? Sometimes success is staying the course — not opting for a detour or sulking on the side of the road and quitting.

Sometimes success is the lessons learned along the difficult road. Realizing that we’re not the same person at the end of the road that we were at the beginning. Maybe we’re stronger. Or maybe we’re willing to admit we’re weak.

Sometimes success is found in the friends we meet along the way … or discovering our friends weren’t so faithful. Maybe light replaces darkness and our view of God gets clearer.

And maybe, just maybe, success is realizing we were never meant to be walking this road. And we turn around and run back to where we went wrong and start over.

In Your Words: What’s your road look like today? Easy street or difficult road? How are you embracing it as a path to success?

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  1. February 10, 2014, 1:09 am   /  Reply

    My road, today? Uh…blood trails. Literally. It sucks.

    But I am beginning to realize that success is not a place, but a process. It’s fighting one’s corner with such ferocity that both God and the Devil fear to take you.

    Amy Grant’s song “Better Than a Halleluyah” says that “a dying man giving up the fight” is better, to God, than a Halleluyah.

    What a load of hooey. Giving up is for sissies,. I find my God in the 144th Psalm:

    “Blessed be the LORD, my God,
    who trains my hands for battle,
    my fingers for war…”

    Success, and honoring the Almighty, is rising when one falls, and facing both life and death on one’s feet, moving forward, and never, ever quitting.

    • February 10, 2014, 9:18 pm   /  Reply

      Do you like the poem that says: “Rage, rage at the dying of the light … do not go gentle into that good night …”?

      What ever you do, Andrew, day in and day out, I know it will be done with courage.

      • February 11, 2014, 8:54 am   /  Reply

        I like the poem, yes…

        But I’m not raging. I’m fighting, with all the cold calculation and logic I can bring to the day.

        And will prevail.

  2. February 10, 2014, 7:06 am   /  Reply

    Andrew mentions a great Psalm above. I’ve often wondered if it’s a character flaw, but I end up learning the most, and absorbing the lessons best, from the most difficult times–those times when I need God most, when I’m in way over my head, and He bails me out. That happened to the apostle Paul, too. The man who arrived in Rome for trial, years of house imprisonment before eventual death, and penned life-transforming scriptures throughout, wasn’t the same one who boarded the ship for a Mediterranean cruise. Hopefully our circumstances will be less extreme, but may we grow similarly wise and transformed.

    • February 10, 2014, 9:19 pm   /  Reply

      Why would learning from our difficulties be a character flaw?
      I think it’s wisdom!

  3. February 10, 2014, 7:09 am   /  Reply

    Today my road looks like rest as I try to whip this bug into submission. It’s difficult more often than it is easy, but I know it’s through the difficult times that I grow and become more the woman God designed me to be.

    Nothing I’ve ever wanted has come easily. Finding my first teaching job, meeting Mr. Right, becoming a mother, becoming published. All of it has required persistence when I wanted to give up tempered with waiting for God’s timing in all of it. None of these have come easily—and one not at all, YET—but all have been worth the fight and the wait.

    • February 10, 2014, 9:20 pm   /  Reply

      Nothing you’ve ever wanted has come easy, eh?
      Maybe this explains why you are such a woman of faith, Jeanne.

  4. February 10, 2014, 8:31 am   /  Reply

    Haha! That card cracked me up. And it’s sooo true. I agree with you, Beth. I want success to come easy, but as I look at the various successes the Lord has granted, I’m able to remember that they came from Him. Not me. They were allowed because He allowed them. Perhaps that’s the best lesson ever.

    • February 10, 2014, 9:21 pm   /  Reply

      … every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Light (James 1:17)

  5. February 10, 2014, 6:12 pm   /  Reply

    Beth, great wisdom you’re sharing today. Success is definitely coming through the trials, not skirting around them. When I come through difficulties, with God’s help, I realize just how strong my Lord is making me, what kind of character I have. Sometimes I don’t know for sure until those moments… and then it’s sweet as honey to my lips.


    • February 10, 2014, 9:59 pm   /  Reply

      I always love your perspective, Andrea — your choice to trust God and embrace the good.

      • February 12, 2014, 9:08 am   /  Reply

        Embracing the good… I like that. It sure didn’t describe me when I was growing up, though. I was a pessimist, through and through. I always saw the glass as half empty. Once I realized that was my perspective, I told God I didn’t want to be like that anymore, and would He please make an optimist out of me. Many tough lessons later, here I am, embracing the good.

        • February 12, 2014, 3:28 pm   /  Reply

          You took your thoughts captive, Andrea — after taking them to God.
          And he answered your prayer with a life-changing yes!

  6. February 10, 2014, 8:31 pm   /  Reply

    Success comes when I learn from my failures…and I love the card with the bedraggled cat. Perfect sentiments.

    • February 10, 2014, 9:59 pm   /  Reply

      I need to find that card and post it on FB!

  7. February 10, 2014, 9:48 pm   /  Reply

    Beth, I’m late to the party today but I just had to comment. I love your topic… it’s applicable for everyone, but it seems especially for those of who have set out upon the writing path (or maybe I just relate more to that). It’s so difficult to know sometimes if we’re on the right road, but when I feel the most vulnerable to that fear I find solace in remembering that ‘all things work to the good for those who love the Lord.’

    • February 10, 2014, 10:00 pm   /  Reply

      There’s always a way to see things through a writer’s eyes. It’s who I am … who you are.
      I understand completely, Kathy.

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