Appreciate the contrasts

Photo courtesy of portraitsandsuch (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of portraitsandsuch (Creative Commons)

The weather this weekend has been delightful – cooler and much less humid than a normal Middle Tennessee weekend in July. Made for better running and pleasant sitting on the porch.

What I realized during some of that porch-sitting, is that I’m not sure I would appreciate the days quite as much if there hadn’t been many days when it was too stifling to even consider going outside, let alone planning an afternoon out there.

When I chose APPRECIATE as one of my three focus words this year (click here for more on my three words), I was not considering this context of the word. I thought more in terms of saying thank you and appreciating people for what they do.

But the contrast of good and bad, or pleasant and not so much, is a huge part of appreciation. I would not be enjoying this weather as much if it was always like this. I need the bad to make me appreciate the good.

That concept has applications in so many areas of life, from friendships, leadership, health, and more. Amazingly, it is entwined with one of my other focus words, JOURNEY.

God has led me on a journey through my life and when I look back, the difficult times were getting me ready for better times. In the struggles, I gained strength and knowledge that couldn’t have been earned any other way. It’s important to embrace the challenges as much as the rewards, because they go hand in hand.

My third word is DELIGHT, seemingly the least of the three, and yet this month, a key piece of the puzzle. No matter what I am going through, I am learning to seek moments of delight in the process.

What are you learning about yourself with your three words? If you didn’t choose them this year, what might you choose for next year?