“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
– 1 Peter 1:7 (New Living Translation)
I love beautiful things. I love fresh flowers and clean, white kitchens and well-designed planners.
I also love all of the deeper things that make life beautiful: the love of my family, the purpose of my work, the peace in my relationship with God. All of this is to say that when things aren’t so beautiful—when the record of my life skips in a bad moment, a rough period, or a tragic circumstance—I can be thrown for a loop.
I know I’m not alone in this.
I don’t know many (really, any) who wish for hard times—who actively seek out opportunities to be tested or challenged. And yet, I’ve learned that there can be beauty in the bad moments, too—if we’re willing to see it.
And despite my love for all of the obviously beautiful people, things, and moments in life, I’m learning to accept the beauty in the hard stuff, too. Here’s why:
The Bad Forces Reflection
It’s all too easy to sleepwalk through life sometimes. When bad things happen, we’re forced to reflect—am I making the decisions I want to be making? Am I living the life I want to be living? Am I present in my own life, standing up for what I want, sharing my truth, and practicing gratitude for all that is good?
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to be jolted out of life lethargy by bad moments—we would just regularly take stock of our lives, and how we’re spending them. But in reality, it often takes the cold, hard truth of tough times to force us awake. And that reflection is incredibly valuable, especially when it encourages positive change.
The Bad Encourages Change
Whether it’s the end of a relationship or a tragic health diagnosis, it’s often not until bad things happen that we’re “forced” to change. The reflection that’s spurred by tough situations allows us to see clearly where things need to change—where we need to change our opinions, our actions, our relationships, or our thoughts.
Because think about it: Why would we change when life is good? If anything, we want things to stay exactly as they are. But change is the only constant in life, and when we get stuck in familiar patterns, we become stagnant, stale— comfortable with a status quo that’s not necessarily healthy. Often, we need to be forged by the fire of hardship, to melt and mold us (or certain parts of our lives) into something new and possibly even better than we could have imagined.
The Bad Spurs Growth
The bad moments of our life can grow us, too—mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even perhaps, physically—if we let them. As lovely as it is to be in a “seamless” season of life, it’s not those moments that mold us, that change us, or that show us what we’re capable of. Tough situations, hard life moments—these are the tests that build our character.
While I enjoy the obviously beautiful moments in my life from my wedding day to the birth of my children to each new launch of a Day Designer, I have grown most from the trials of my life. I have become a better wife, a better mother, a better business owner, a better daughter, a better friend, and a better human, from the challenges that I’ve encountered in each role—and the ways that I have shown up to face them.
The Bad Provides Lessons
And, if nothing else, the tough times always come with a lesson—or many lessons. We just have to be willing to look for them . . . and actually learn from them. I’ve found that when I do, I’m always better prepared for the inevitable life challenges to come.
* * *
The beauty in your bad experiences doesn’t take away the bad. I get that. I know that, all too well. It still hurts. And often, it feels like it’d all be safer and easier to trade the simple beauty for the bad, and live an idle, if not comfortable, existence.
But the reality is that we can’t shield ourselves from the bad—from the painful or the negative. Every one of us will experience loss, hurt, and pain in our lives. Isn’t it lucky then that we have the opportunity to learn from it, to grow from it . . . to take comfort in the fact that every situation leads back to beauty and goodness and peace in the end?
I sure think so.
* * *
Have you found beauty in a bad moment?
Please share your story with me in the comments below!
We all need more examples of the reflection, change, growth, and beautiful lessons that hardship provides.