Hard Knocks

Cow SkullThe difficulties of life, trials and tribulations, misfortune, disappointments

Courage is to take hard knocks like a man when occasion calls.  Plautus

If you can learn from hard knocks, you can also learn from soft touches. Carolyn Kenmore

The school of hard knocks is an accelerated curriculum. Menander of Athens

  When we think of “hard knocks”, we often think of difficulties, setbacks, problems, hardships, and even painful memories. Some of us might feel like we have an honorary degree from the University of Hard Knocks. Usually we do not have to look very far to see those who are currently suffering from hard knocks in their lives. Chances are always pretty good we may have some hard knocks currently occurring in our own personal lives.

   We can deliberate about the fairness or unfairness of being victimized by hard knocks that are happening or have happened. When it gets down to it, this is a waste of time and counter-productive. The crux of the matter is deciding what to do about the circumstances we find ourselves in after hard knocks come knocking at our doors. How we respond to challenges and difficulties in our lives has much to do with the kind of life we will have.

   Such sayings as “No pain no gain”, “That which does not kill you makes you stronger”, “If at first you do not succeed, then try, try again”, are but a few that tells us that adversity, trials and tribulations, and “hard knocks” serve some purpose in our lives. Perhaps it would be less painful and more desirable, if we never had the pain or misfortune of these circumstances. On the surface this sounds very good to us, but the truth is we will miss out on the very experiences that cause us to grow and to develop into fully functioning, mature and seasoned adults. Without our fair share of hard knocks we would surely be handicapped in our ability to face difficulties and circumstances that will certainly occur throughout life. This is as much a necessary part of our lives as the learning experiences associated with learning to ride a bike, to swim, drive a car, dating and courting, maintaining a job, owning a home, being a spouse and a parent and so many more.

   We do not have to wish for or even desire to have our hard knocks. If we did we might be labeled as masochistic. It is important for us to have proper perspective. Hard knocks are going to occur. How we respond and what we do about them, especially as we are increasingly learning how to deal with them, determines the kind of lives we will live going forward. 

Challenge:  Your attitude and sense of determination is so critical in how you work through the challenges and difficulties you face in life. “Victim or victor, slave or master, helpless or in control” are the kind of choices you have as to the type of attitude you may choose as you deal with life’s adversities. Often you cannot control the circumstances that come your way, but you can control your response and attitude of how to deal with them.

Wisdom: It is often hard to distinguish between the hard knocks in life and those of opportunity.  Frederick Phillips.  

Spiritual: (NIV)

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

How we respond to life’s prickly thorns is a choice we make. The older and more seasoned we become the more we should be able to have some degree of self control and mastery of how we respond to the wide range of circumstances that affect us. We will never have complete mastery unless we allow God’s Holy Spirit to be a part of the process that helps us to keep things in perspective and gives us courage to overcome them.

Prayer: Help me to overcome my doubts, fears and limiting beliefs.


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