Some time ago my eleven year-old daughter came home from orchestra practice simply devastated. She had been the first to arrive, and as the others filed in, nobody chose to sit by her. She sat at the edge of the room, the only student with an empty chair at her side.
She felt rejected and alone.
So the next day, as I dropped her off, I encouraged her to hold back and let some of the others sit down first, and then make her choice to sit by someone she’d like to get to know better. “Find someone who might be having a bad day, and BE the one to make a friend.”
I encouraged her to have a prayer in her heart, picturing herself with an abundance of friends, and reminded her that choosing to be positive and confident would help others want to be around her.
So she pulled herself together with an intention that things would be different this time. She agreed to pray in her heart and try to think more positively.
But what happened next surprised us both…
When I picked her up from school, she was excited to report that she ended up right between two girls that she was excited to get to know better.
How did it happen? Not the way we thought it would.
Contrary to my advice, she still showed up earlier than most; and out of habit decided to sit in her regular chair on the edge of the room. As a few of the other students filed in, the pattern threatened to repeat itself.
(That’s the power of subconscious thoughts right there…)
However, just then, she noticed a scary spider on her music stand. Creeped out, she took her folder and tried to push it off.
Instead of successfully getting it out of her space, it fell onto her leg. She jumped up and shook her pants, and wasn’t sure where it ended up. Assuming it was still at her chair, she decided that it would be better to move.
It took her out of her comfort zone and into another chair. One of the girls she’d like to know better came in and sat right next to her. Before long, a second girl took the empty chair at her other side.
Admittedly she said she thought the answer to her prayer would show up in the form of an idea, or an added measure of courage to do or say something uncomfortable.
But no, it showed up as a spider.
This micro-experience captures the essence of how God so often deals with us. When we ask for things to be better, he doesn’t just make things better. He creates conditions in our life that make us get out of our comfort zone and put us somewhere else – somewhere, where the blessing we’re asking for can finally be received.
Sometimes we get moved out of our comfort zone and still fail to receive the blessing. This can happen when our thoughts are not inclined to look for the hidden benefit in our adversity.
It would be like my daughter getting out of her regular chair and into another, and being so upset by it that she doesn’t even notice the potential friendships on either side of her. By her response to the hardship, she could have completely denied herself of the blessing that the change contained.
In that case, the girls that flanked her could have picked up on the downer-energy and might have been inclined to just ignore her.
I’m grateful that she was thoughtful enough to give credit to God for sending a spider, because it prepared the way for her to receive the very thing she was hoping for all along.
My dear reader… What’s your spider? What ugly thing has showed up in your life that’s opposite to what you’ve been praying for?
It’s there for a reason. A Hardship is always a blessing in disguise. Pay attention to how it “moves” you.
I’d like to help you make sense (cents) out of your setbacks. Are you ready for a better future? Click here to learn more about the life-changing Mindset Mastery Program. Originally published September 22, 2009