A negative experience… the most memorable quote that I’ve ever heard is this one…
“Experience is that thing we get when we didn’t get what we wanted.” – Unknown.
Wow, that’s inspiriting, right?
Well, not really. This quote makes the statement that we learned a tough lesson when we didn’t get what we wanted… and instead got a dose of rejection or experienced a failure maybe. It’s hard not to think of an experience as negative in that light.
So what’s the positive attitude of experience?
If I want to gain wisdom I seem to have two choices:
- I can glean knowledge from some other source, like the Bible or some wise counselor,
- I can gain wisdom through experience.
Experience, as we well know, doesn’t always have a negative connotation to it. Experience can be a very positive concept, like when we learn to ride a bike, or, my example about learning to peel oranges growing up in the grove.
The same can be true of a negative experience, most times we find we can learn from our negative experiences, if we resolve to dust off our ego and soldier on with resilience…
To me, this quote sort of sums up the positive attitude of a negative experience…
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Soren Kierkegaard
So, yea, I have to take my lumps sometimes and learn or gain understanding from a negative experience… however, we don’t have to let it hold us back from the best that God has in store for us… if we resolve to “live forward.”
There’s something pretty cool related to this in the Bible (at least from my perspective today )…
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? … We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2: 10-14
So, maybe the deep things of God… and how the work of the Holy Spirit within us can bring our thoughts and experiences… all of them… to a positive light.
To me, this says if I stay close to God, that he will provide me the understanding that I need… in His due time… to see how He will work all things for my good. This comes through the Holy Spirit.
Q: Do you have a negative experience that, through God, you were able to find something good?