Don’t Waste Your Painful Experiences
By Rick Warren
“You have experienced many things. Were all those experiences wasted? I hope not!” Galatians 3:4 (ICB)
The Bible is filled with principles to help you resume life successfully after a tough season. Yesterday we looked at the first principle: Expect to feel mixed emotions. And today we’ll look at the second: Extract the lessons you learned.
Before you rush off and start a bunch of new things after going through a difficult time, God wants you to pause and consider the lessons you learned. Don’t let all the pain you went through be wasted. Take time to glean the spiritual truths from everything you’ve experienced.
The Bible says, “You have experienced many things. Were all those experiences wasted? I hope not!” (Galatians 3:4 ICB)
One way to be sure you don’t waste your hard experiences is to write down each lesson you’ve learned. That way you can review them later to share with other generations.
What happens when you do this? The suffering you went through will suddenly have incredible value. Deuteronomy 4:9 says, “You must be very careful not to forget the things you have seen God do for you. Keep reminding yourselves, and tell your children and grandchildren as well” (CEV).
I suggest getting alone by yourself in a quiet place—just you and a journal. This could be your life journal. A life journal isn’t a diary of each day’s activities. Future generations won’t be interested in what you did; they’ll be interested in what you learned.
Here are some questions you can answer in your life journal:
What did I learn about what matters most?
What did I learn about what matters least?
What did I learn about my weaknesses?
What did I learn about my strengths?
What did I learn about my relationships?
What did I learn about my pace of living?
What did I learn about God?
What did I learn about the world and the culture around me?
What did I learn about money?
What did I learn about happiness?
Remember: Before you do a life reset after a season of crisis, loss, or trauma, write down all the lessons you’ve learned. Then you won’t “forget the things you have seen God do for you”—and you will never have to learn those lessons again.
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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