Webster’s defines the word valley as a low point or interval in any process, representation or situation. Now you may ask yourself why would anyone love a low point or situation in their life because, at these times, life is typically unpleasant and painful depending on the depth of the valley.
However, like New Edition said, “Can You Stand the Rain?” Growing cannot happen without an element of rainy seasons in our lives. Rain is not something anyone typically is willing to sign up for and here lies the beauty of God and the Universe by placing us in the midst of the valley. So instead of resisting and pouting, here are five reasons you should LOVE the valley of life:
- The Valley will make you PAUSE
Often in life, we are living from one event to the next, at a non-stop pace. If we were to look at ourselves from a third person view, we would look like children swinging on monkey bars.
We’re so busy trying to obtain the type of life that we deem successful; we miss living life. In Jill Scott’s song “Pause-Interlude”, she talks about how she has scheduled a very necessary breakdown. If we aren’t observation enough, the universe will schedule this in the form of situations that cause you to sit down in the valley.
- The Valley will make you not sweat the SMALL stuff
Life is full of small nuisances. Traffic, staying late to work on a project, your child’s football practice runs late, paying extra for daycare. Until we are in the valley of life where situations are much worse, everyday issues can seem heightened. Time in the Valley can consist of someone close to you passing, losing your job, divorce, and sometimes these things can happen concurrently. It’s at these times; you realize not getting your cocktail dress from the cleaners on time is not such a big deal. After some time in the valley, you emerge knowing how to cope with everyday life just a little bit better.
- The Valley will reset your thinking toward GRATITUDE
To live a life of gratitude that repays you with gratitude, you have to shift the way you think first. Being in the valley makes you more grateful for life and helps switch your mindset. But once out of the valley, how is this maintained? There are several books on shifting your mindset, ‘The Secret’, ‘The Mindset Shift’, but you can begin today with a simple ‘Gratitude Journal’. In this journal jot down daily things to be grateful about and reflect back on them when your mindset starts to change.
Your journal does not have to contain deep, profound thoughts, just small tokens of what you are grateful about, ex. “I am grateful for a crisp autumn breeze,” just the thought of it brings a smile to my face.
- The Valley will give you time to RE-EVALUATE
The valley can be a time of reflection and re-evaluation. How did you end up here? Were you not a good steward of your finances? Did you not take care of your body through diet and exercise? Often, we don’t want to face ourselves, and it’s easy to find distractions in today’s reality TV, celebrity obsessed, overindulgent society. The reason that you are on high-blood pressure medicine or in unhealthy relationships most times starts with you. While walking in the Valley, decisions that led you here need to be evaluated and change made.
- The Valley will help you FORGIVE
Bad things in life happen, sometimes we fall, sometimes we fail, sometimes people exit from our lives, whether caused by our choices or by circumstances we could not control. After reflection in the valley, you understand there are people that you need to forgive. Most of the time the person you find that needs forgiveness is you. When we make mistakes it’s easier to suppress regret versus reflecting on what lesson should be learned to move forward.
However, there are mirrors in forgiveness according to Iyana Vanzant, “You see more of who you are when you begin to forgive. It’s often harder to forgive oneself than it is to forgive another person.” You can never live the life you want without loving yourself, which can’t happen until you forgive yourself.
So next time you find yourself traveling in the valley of life, remember to embrace this season of growth.