Jeannie Bruenning Author

Changed or Charred

There are times in life when we feel as if we are being tested. It happens in our jobs, our family, in our relationships and in life. It is referred to as being tried, tested, put through the fire. It is those times when life doesn’t seem to be going your way; when you have to talk yourself into getting out of bed in the morning; when you feel as if the bottom has dropped out.

We all experience these times. Some of these situations are simply a consequence to our own decisions. Some are the consequences of others and somehow we have become part of the cast of characters. Sometimes it truly is a test, a growing experience, a lesson needed to be learned.

At the conclusion of these times there are two basic results; we either emerge changed or charred. When we emerge changed the entire world can see the difference. WE can see the difference. We’ve learned, grown, and feel a huge sense of accomplishment.

Emerging charred is also very obvious. We are defeated, depressed, afraid and most of the time angry. To be very honest, we also stink a little. The smell of being charred is not easy to hide and it has a tendency to stink up the world around us. The only way to get rid of this odor is to re-enter the fire.  I’ve been around people who have seemingly lived their life in the fire. It only takes a few moments for the soot and ash starts to rub off.  It takes effort to rid yourself of someone else’s stench.

Emerging changed or charred is our choice. No one makes it for us. If we choose to be changed, it is likely that we will not experience this test again. If we do, we will know how to handle it. If we choose to emerge charred, we will certainly experience the same test again. Each time the test increases in intensity. Each time it takes more effort to get through it. If we once again emerge charred, our stench also intensifies.

What are the signs that you are charred? You will say things such as: Why does this always happen to me? Here I go again. I hate when this happens. No matter what I do, things never change. I feel like I’ve been stuck for years.

When you hear these words coming out of your mouth, STOP! Take a close look at what is happening around you and ask the simple questions, “What do I need to learn?” If you can’t answer that question, ask someone around you. They’ll be able to tell you. In fact, they will be happy to tell you. The truth in, you stink a little and they would like the stench to go away.

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