What I Learned During April 2017

Finally!

The month of April 2017 went by fast. It seemed like we had just begun the Lenten season and then suddenly it Easter weekend, and then April was over.

Despite the month feeling as if it went by quickly, I learned a few important personal lessons during that time.

I Love Reading and It Should Only Be Used for Leisure

Every time I see a blog post for, “How to Read X Amounts of Books in a Year” I instantly feel the need to take on the challenge. It’s taken a lot of will power and discipline to stop myself from following through on my desire to do so.

March and April I read two books. The first was Fifteen Dogs by Canadian author Andre Alexis. I loved every minute of this book. There were times I had to stop in the middle of a page and think deeply about what I just read. I realized that if I had chosen to participate in a year long reading challenge I might not have been able to take time to consider in depth what I was reading. Instead, I would have been focused on finishing the book so I could mark another one off the reading list and carry on with the goal.

Some of these challenges would require me to read at least one book per week, and at that pace, I honestly don’t think I would find reading relaxing; it would become another task added to my already too long of a to-do list.

The second book was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I had started reading this novel approximately a year ago and abandoned it half way through out of boredom. I decided to finish reading it because I wanted the book off the shelf and out of my house, and because so many people I know had said the book gets better as you read along. It didn’t.

Lesson Learned: Reading challenges are great, but only if doesn’t take away from the relaxation and pleasure of reading.

Sunlight Brings Happiness to an Entire City

It’s difficult to get an entire city population to agree on anything, but here in northern Alberta, we seem to all agree that the constant darkness of the winter months affects our moods. I’m not referring to a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). After 8 months of cold weather and dark skies we are known to crave warmer temperatures and most importantly sunlight that extends beyond the afternoon.

I couldn’t help but notice how excited me and my female co-workers have been about finally getting to wear spring leggings, skirts, and ankle length pants, and not to mention sandals and heels. Avid gardeners are excited about planting, and tending to the earth. Tired workers are already looking forward to relaxing in their backyards and enjoying summer BBQ’s.

Lesson Learned: Constant darkness and cold weather does in deed affect people’s moods. Sunlight not only provides vitamin D and sun tans, but also happiness.

Bullies Rarely Apologize, So Don’t Hold Your Breath

For several months I’ve been dealing with a group of bullying Christians who are part of a local Christian organization. They have consistently engaged in dishonest behaviour, manipulation, and fraud. I thought I would be able to bring about changes to this organization, but I haven’t been able to do so.

I realized that you can create a long list of policies and procedures, but if people aren’t willing to change their unhealthy ethical practices and develop a sense of integrity, it won’t work.

I allowed the bullying behaviour to take an emotional toll on me until I realized and accepted the fact that I can’t make others change.

Lesson Learned: If an organization does not want to become a healthy workplace, I have three options: accept that the workplace is toxic and find a way to work there without becoming toxic myself; stress myself out and become toxic as well; run away from there as fast as I can.

QUESTIONS and REFLECTIONS

Are you the type of person who learns lessons the hard way or the sensible way?

Which types of lessons have the most positive impact on you; lessons that were painful, or lessons that involve “aha” moments.

How do you think God teaches us lessons in life? Does he do so gently, painfully, both, neither? How do you know when God is “teaching you a lesson”?