July 18, 2016

Development Through Trials: 3 Examples



“Trials + Tribulation = Strength + Determination” –Anonymous quote found on Google

So, you’re tired of being stretched by continual struggles. You just want to be left alone long enough to catch your breath. You’re not asking for much; you just want a comfortable life. You don’t like the fact that you’re still looking for work, dealing with a severely life-limiting health problem, trying to get your loved ones to do what you want…

Well, sorry, but welcome to the real world. Life often hurts. Life is rarely relaxed for most of us. Yet, there’s method to the madness; we don’t grow if we aren’t pushed to do so.  Turn that around, and it becomes the good news, too: we do improve when we’re pushed beyond our self-imposed “limits”.

Gold

It’s the most precious metal on Earth. But, it doesn’t start out that way. An article on a madehow.com forum, called “How Products are Made: Gold” , lists the following steps of extracting and refining the precious metal:
  • Mining
  • Washing
  • Filtering
  • Combining it with water and grinding it up
  • Separating it with chemicals
  • Smelting (heating it with a substance called flux)
  • Hauling away the contaminated part, called slag, or dross

Ceramics

A long process is required to make these items as well. Every piece of pottery begins as a lump of clay. Obviously, the more expensive, delicate pieces require even more effort to finish than the cheaper ones. This point is illustrated in “The Parable of the Teacup”.

Writing/Editing

The process of self-publishing is its own kind of refiner’s fire. Yet, somehow, the initial product can be smelted into a masterpiece that can add value to many readers.

Truly successful writers and editors must allow themselves to be pushed waaaaay beyond the time when they want to be done with that pesky manuscript. For instance, the first edition of my self-published book bore little resemblance to my original draft. It was much more clear, concise, and upbeat. Yet, it still was still a little sloppy.  For that reason, I cleaned up and polished that manuscript and republished the final product as a second edition.

My Conclusion

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”—Proverbs 17:3 (NIV)

Transformation of any kind is a tedious, but necessary, process. It’s rarely pleasant, and it’s often more difficult than we could ever have imagined. Yet, the end result is always worth the hard work. It doesn’t matter if the objective is a polished book, better health, a more compassionate nature, or a job skill.

Often, when we think we’re done, that’s far from the case.  That homemade kids’ bracelet isn’t good enough. We’re being molded into that $4,000 wedding set in the high-end jewelry store—if we can be patient through the whole process.

For more on overcoming challenges, please see my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds.

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Into what beautiful product are you being molded?