I'm excited about this topic. I think all too often we view our challenges in life in such a negative way. I actually learned not to in the seventh grade.
We were assigned to read a book called The Hiding Place which is about a family that was hiding Jews in their home in WWII in Nazi Germany. They were caught and sent to a concentration camp.
Corrie, the author, and her sister Betsy were imprisoned together. They were older ladies and had become ill, and had been assigned to the knitting brigade, making winter hats and gloves for the Nazi soldiers. In this room, they often prayed. At one point, Betsy gives thanks for the fleas, Corrie Questions her stating she doesn't understand why she should be thankful for the fleas, Betsy replies that God tells us to be thankful for all things.
Later on there is a disagreement on the pattern and the guards refuse to enter this room, because of the fleas. Corrie realizes the fleas have given them privacy from the guards and the opportunity to pray and talk without fear, she learns to be grateful for the fleas.
I hated high school. Despite having enough credits, I was not allowed to graduate early, because Jr. English is a requirement for Sr. English. Wanting to be away from High School, I applied to be a foreign exchange student. I spent a year in France, they accepted my English class, I passed Sr. English never having taken Jr. English. This was one of the best experiences of my life, and I'd have missed out if I had gotten my way.
I had my first job as a nurse for only 9 months when they announced they were closing my floor and reassigning us all, there would be layoffs. I got a second job in home care and I loved that job even more. It allowed me flexibility to go back to school for my master's degree to become a nurse practitioner. I love my job now. I work for a great family practice, the patients are wonderful people and I truly consider it a joy to work with them. My Boss is a great doctor with the mind of a detective and the heart of a teacher. I could not imagine wanting to work anywhere else.
When I got gallstones after the birth of my daughter I thought I would die due to the pain. I lived, it motivated me to take better care of my health, it was the wake up call I needed. I'm grateful for gallstones. I lost 100lbs and I'm grateful for that, but in a way I'm grateful to have gained it back, as much as this made me feel ashamed and embarrassed, it motivated me to build a better mousetrap. If I had lost it and kept it off with weight watchers, I would never have felt the need to create the real people weight loss program and balanced bliss life coaching. I learned that weight loss isn't just counting calories, it's about how you live, and that a more balanced, more joyful life is the key to good health. I'm not just a thinner person today, I'm a much happier, calmer person as well.
Look back on your own life. What negative experiences are you truly grateful for? I like to think of them, not as "road blocks" or "challenges" but simply as plot twists. Without a plot twist, most stories are boring. I don't want a boring life. I am grateful for my plot twists.