One of my spiritual mentors once told me that it’s not the good times that shape our character but the tough times. She said that as much as she hated to see her own children suffer, she knows that it’s really those situations that will cause the most growth in them. Lynnae and I listened to this truth from our Sunday School teacher and it made sense. But twenty-plus years later, we know from our own experiences that it’s when we are pressed, thrown off balance, or shaken up by life that we grow the most in our faith. And I’m not talking so much about the catastrophic events although they do happen. I’m talking about the things that cause pressure in your life every day.

Each day there are pressures that create decision points. It’s those decisions that determine the health of our souls. Paul said in Acts 14 that we must face many trials or pressures in order to enter the kingdom. With each difficulty that we endure with the help and direction of the Holy Spirit, we ignite the passion and presence of Christ in us. I believe that God gives us thousands of opportunities to take hold of eternal life. Each opportunity requires a type of death of ourselves. Jesus said it like this, “If you seek to save your life, you’ll lose it, but if you lose your life for my sake, you’ll find it”. I believe that the satisfaction of the soul lies just beyond the denying of self.

That’s what really makes us better. Someone once said that the difference between getting better or getting bitter is the “I”. With every opportunity, we have to make a choice to serve ourselves or God or someone else. Choose to serve yourself and the “I” will get the best of you. You’ll end up bitter. But choose to serve God and others and you’ll end up better! I promise.