Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Why Bother Challenging yourself?

I have never hosted a guest blog, but this one touched me and spoke to me on a number of different levels, so I had to share it. I used to be a deeply religious and observant person, but now I just consider myself more spiritual. Though there's a religious connotation in this blog, the message applies to all of us. Please read through, and like/comment/share. I know I'm going to take this to heart, and apply it to my own life. I hope you all see the value in it too, and do the same. 
"In a famous story from the bible, Joseph (son of Jacob) fled from the house of Potifar, where he worked as a slave, when Potifar’s wife tried to seduce him.

As it came to pass, the bible ended up rewarding subsequent generations of Jews. So the question is, why was the particular aspect of Joseph “fleeing” so special, and deserving of such a great reward? Joseph withstood temptation as a teenage boy in a foreign country. This itself was truly heroic. What was so significant about the fact that he fled?

A famous Rabbi explained that through this, we are taught a fundamental and critical rule about religious life: we are to run away from challenges. We should not be looking for “tests,” to put ourselves in situations that arouse temptation or make religious observance difficult. A recovering addict does not keep a container of drugs on his kitchen table to prove to himself that he is capable of abstaining. Similarly, we are taught in another ancient text that if a man has two paths he could follow to reach his destination, and deliberately chooses the more difficult one with temptation, he is considered as having done "evil" even if closes his eyes. Voluntarily choosing situations of challenges is wrong – even if one successfully hurdles the challenge. Joseph's greatness was not just in resisting temptation, but in running away from temptation. He refused to stay there for even an extra moment, lest the "evil inclination" figure out a way to overcome him.

The rationale behind this rule is simple. Namely, we’ve got our hands full as it is. We already have plenty to deal with. Any conscientious person knows that the tests that God/The Universe sends us are enough for us. We should not be in the business of subjecting ourselves to further tests.

But there is a deeper reason for this principle, as well. Anytime we are subjected to a test, we can rest assured that we have the wherewithal to succeed. This is a basic rule that we should all know: We are not sent any challenge that we cannot overcome. If the situation is brought upon us, we can and must assume, unquestioningly, that we are capable of passing the test. However, we have no such guarantee regarding tests that we bring upon ourselves. There is no justification for voluntarily placing oneself in spiritually, physically, or emotionally challenging situations. Indeed, we often pray that we should not be subjected to tests. Certainly, then, we should not be
subjecting ourselves to tests." Rabbi Eli Mansour
So, there's that. Thought provoking, right? Stay away from the hard stuff, and you'll be better off for it. Take the path of least resistance, and you'll be rewarded. Interesting perspective.

No comments:

Post a Comment