Sometime ago I listened to a sermon delivered by Joel Osteen where he talked about a day when he and his wife were in their garden putting manure on their flower beds.
I don’t know if you have done this before but manure isn’t the nicest stuff to handle, it smells and if you spend a day with it, you come out a little on the stinky side too!
It was whilst he and his wife where doing this work that it struck him that it’s the stinky stuff that helps plants to grow. Manure nurtures plants to grow and blossom into the beautiful flowers they are already are.
If we think about it, just like in the garden, it’s the stinky stuff in our life that ultimately helps us to grow and eventually blossom into the beautiful people we already are.
Our difficulties, challenges and hard times are designed to help us, it’s the stinky stuff that helps us stretch and grow in our garden of life.
This can be a tough concept to accept, especially when you are going through a particularly difficult challenge but if you think about it, it’s our challenges that cause us to explore ourselves, make different choices and often shapes us into something better.
Joel Osteen also said that we go through the stinky stuff because it prepares us to help others who face the exact same problems we have faced. To illustrate this he told a story of a lady who found herself trapped in a room with a young man who wanted to shoot people at his school. When she started talking to him she found that his pain was her pain. She had walked in his shoes and because her life experience she had the empathy and compassion to talk him out of the desperate place he was in.
He concluded his sermon to say that when you find yourself in stinky stuff know that you are being nurtured by he Universe (whatever word you wish to use) and to trust that you are in this for a reason.
All that Joel Osteen said I wholeheartedly agree with, I often say to clients that it’s the challenges that make us grow and as we are a species that often needs to go to the pain before we do the change let’s embrace your challenge and work through it to get to the other side.
What was missed in this message I believe is that it’s essential not to sit in the suffering. Joel Osteen said that when you find yourself in stinky stuff keep on trudging through because there is a reason why you are there.
The risk with this is that you can become your pain which means you run the risk of identifying with you pain. It becomes part of your identity which means you don’t learn from your pain, it becomes the reason for why your life is the way it is. You become a victim and get stuck in the stink and don’t grow through it.
The part that is essential to understand is – you put manure on plants to encourage growth.
Our challenges help us grow but we mustn’t get stuck in our challenges because we can become a victim of our challenge. We need to learn to be like the plants take what we need from the manure that will helps us blossom into the beautiful ‘flowers’ we already are. To do this, it’s important to get help and be proactive about your growth instead of trudging through believing that the Universe’s got a plan and it will get revealed to you one day.
The Universe does have a plan but it works with you and at the core of everything, you are the creator of your Universe because you have free will and choice. Which means it’s up to you to be proactive about working through it. If you don’t you run the risk of getting stuck in the stink.