In January, frustrated with the chaos I was encountering, I decided to seek to thrive in all that I did. I set goals for various aspects of my life: relationships, health, prayer, etc. (I hope to share them with you sometime soon, to help keep me accountable to them.)
While I have been progressing in my goals, and life is becoming more ordered and running smoother, this progress didn’t bring me as much satisfaction as I had hoped. In my mind, thriving was still eluding me.
As I pictured it, thriving meant managing all of the duties and responsibilities of my life with perfect competence. I figured that, if I tried hard enough, I really could have it all together. You know, a perfectly clean house, with delicious all-organic paleo meals on the table promptly at 6pm, children whose days are spent engaging in a variety of stimulating learning activities (definitely not with any television), picture perfect health, and extensive periods in the day for prayer and recollection.
While all of these things are good and desirable, it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I had missed the point. In my naivete, I had thought that sanctity- which is what true thriving is all about- necessitated having it all together.
With relief I recalled the lives of saints who share my vocation as mother. If I held them to the same standards that I had proposed for myself, then Sts. Monica, Gianna and Frances hadn’t really thrived. St. Monica had difficulties in her relationship with her son and husband; St. Gianna suffered from cancer; and St. Frances was constantly interrupted at prayer by her children.
When it comes to thriving, only one thing is needful: to draw closer to our Lord through the circumstances of our daily life. I may not be able to control the chaos and trials in my life, but I can control whether these trials bring me closer to God, or lead me further away.
Thriving doesn’t just happen when everything is going right; it happens when you are being tested in the furnace of adversity and are molded into what you are supposed to be.
Is it even possible to thrive without trials?
The challenges and chaos aren’t distractions from my goal for a life well lived; they are a means of pushing me closer to it. It is up to me to use them wisely. Maybe then I will experience what it looks like to thrive.
How about you? Have you ever experienced a trial that helped you become a better person? I would love to hear about it in the comments!