There are experiences that we encounter throughout our lives that will be labeled as demanding, straining, or taxing. For a toddler it could be putting shoes on the right feet all by him/herself, for a child it could be completing homework, for a teen it could be meeting curfew, for adults it could be related to a job or family life. What classifies itself as challenging is variable and subjective by nature.
If the word challenge were a picture, for me it would involve a huge mountain with three flags. The first flag would be at the bottom of the mountain, the second at the top of the mountain, and third on the other side of the mountain. My goal would obviously be to make it to the third flag with the assumption that I have therefore solved my dilemma.
I was working with Sonya this morning on her rolling from her back to her side to her tummy. I place her top leg folded over her straightened bottom leg and each one of my hands on either her bottom leg or her top hip joint depending the direction she is going, and I wait. She has gotten pretty good at this, and she knows when her body is in this position that she needs to move her upper body. I can say without a doubt this "simple" roll over is a challenge for Sonya. What I can also say without a doubt that my challenge is watching her struggle. I am so frustrated for her. I am so frustrated she can't do this on her own, and I am frustrated she is even in this situation to begin with. As I continue my pity party in my head I ask myself, what is the point of this challenge? What is the point in any challenge? What am I expecting to accomplish after I reach the third flag?
Simply stated, a challenge is a test. It is designed to teach someone something about themselves they did not know. Whether it is they have a hidden physical, mental, or emotional strength; a specific personality trait; or a hidden talent or skill. A challenge can also bring out our less positive side by showing them they are more vulnerable or sensitive, or it can shine a light on that not so awesome personality trait we all have but wish we didn't.
This challenge, and all the ones related to Sonya are definitely testing my patience and faith in G-d. I think I might have asked G-d for guidance in these areas a time or two in the recent past. (Remind me to be a little more specific when I ask G-d for assistance in the future.) This challenge has taught me that I am stronger than I knew, that I am stubborn and won't take no for answer, that I will never give up, and that I am just human. G-d knows all these traits and more about me. He is giving me these challenges for me. In a sense I am thankful. I know in order to learn more about myself I am going to have to face a multitude of challenges. I just wish Sonya wasn't the vessel.