“Without challenges, life isn’t really life.” ~Karen Berg.
There are plenty of times in life when we feel compelled to quit. Perhaps, it feels like we took on a few too many projects at work and suddenly become overwhelmed. Maybe we volunteered to help out when it seems we can barely find the time to tend to personal matters. Or sometimes we simply feel unprepared for a particular class, task, or duty and are looking for a way out.
When things get challenging it is in our best interest to avoid jumping the spiritual ship and face the difficulty head on. Yet, it’s those challenges that make a life worth living, that teach us the most beautiful lessons, and make us stronger people.
Kabbalists teach that those who are connected to the Light have something in common–a quality called constant striving. Constant strivers will accomplish anything they set out to do, no matter how challenging. These people seem to encounter more difficulties than the average person. That’s because such souls never run from a struggle. They face obstacles head on, choosing to accept them as opportunities for growth instead of lamenting their misfortune.
Most of us push ourselves occasionally when we are faced with a task that seems worthwhile or when the outcome is important to us. However, the thought of living a life in which we are constantly climbing an uphill battle is for many overwhelming. Many of us even make living a life of ease a goal. We tend to think of a simple and quiet life as the reward for working hard.
We are meant to work for our blessings; this is how we find true fulfillment. According to Michael Berg, “We must ask not for a life of ease, but for the ability to strive tirelessly against obstacles and for opportunities to do so. To run against the current doesn't have to be discouraging. It can be invigorating and exhilarating and inspiring.” We have the chance to strive tirelessly against all obstacles every day. When life does not offer us challenges, we can pray for them.
Living a life filled with challenges is not the same as living a life of chaos. Though on the surface, these two things may appear the same, Kabbalah views them as very different. Challenges placed on our path are actually opportunities to learn and grow and to earn more blessings in our lives. We can embrace a challenge and find the process exhilarating, especially when we notice the blessings we receive in return. In contrast, chaos appears in our lives as a result of becoming disconnected from the Light.
Fulfilling our purpose in life is not necessarily easy. It means coming up against great challenges. Herein lies our spiritual work, to avoid the easy route and constantly strive for better. This is how we live a life filled with blessings, a life that is anything but mediocre. By constantly striving and embracing difficulty, we strengthen our connection to the Creator and bring more Light into the world.