My son, Ryan, will be graduating from High School this week.  It reminds me of a message I sent out a few years ago about moving to the next level.  You know how sometimes you are rolling along with life, feeling that you are getting your stride and figuring some things out when WHAM!  Something throws you for a loop, or you find yourself slipping back into some modes that you thought you were past.  I’ve talked with so many people who get discouraged when they see themselves struggling.  This is a common human experience – and it does NOT mean that you are failing.  It may mean that you are moving to a higher level.


Think about it like a video game.  In these games that my kids like so well, you always start out at the first level.  It can be a little challenging, but as you learn the game you get better at it.  When you master the first level, you move on to the next.  Suddenly, the game is more challenging.  You struggle a bit to succeed, which eventually happens and you move on to yet the next level where the game is again “kicking your trash” as my kids put it.  As you struggle with each level, your skill and confidence increases.  It is not that the game gets easier, but that your mastery of it increases.  Stop every once in a while to see the ground you’ve already covered in your life and learning.


Congratulations to Ryan, and all of those other graduates out there – best wishes on your next level!


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6 Responses to “Graduating”

  1. Joel Jeffrey Says:

    Great analogy!

    I have found that when life is “kicking my trash” the Lord is trying to teach me something. The faster I learn, the lighter the trial becomes. And just when I think life is going to get easier, it gets hard again. Life is hard. I’m not here for a vacation like I sometimes hope for. I need to be grateful for what I have and continually work harder to be better.

    Congrats to all graduates! What a wonderful time of life! 🙂

  2. Diana Gourley Says:

    Do the levels ever end? It seems I’ve been struggling off and on with depression for more than twenty years. What else do I need to learn? I do see progress, but I am growing weary. I just want to feel happy more often than not–that would seem like progress. Sigh.

    Onward and upward; I guess I’ve got to keep shaking it off a little longer!

    Thanks for the hope and encouragement,

  3. Michael Ray Hopkin Says:

    Excellent analogy Dr. Paul. I’ve seen this in my own life, especially recently. You’re right on that trials come, and if we have the right attitude, move us up to a new level. We don’t always see it that way when we’re in the midst of the trials, but when we look back an really evaluate our lives, we find it’s true; we have grown and progressed. -Michael

  4. Diana Gourley Says:

    I am sorry for my previous post. It seems more like a complaint than a comment. I know I just have to figure out what the Lord is trying to teach me, but I am having a rough time. Please forgive me. DG

  5. Dr. Paul Says:

    Diana – what a common experience we all have to get swamped in our stuff. Sometimes the stuckness comes in insisting at some level that our package in life be different than it actually is. I believe that we have the power to change some things, but not others. Part of the trick is in accepting the things we cannot change and chosing to change the things we can (like our attitude). There is sometimes a tricky balance between learning to accept our life as it is, and moving forward to create from the “stuff” of our life something phenomenal. I would highly recommend that you listen in on a conversation I had recently with two good friends through the following link:

    Thank you so much for your input on this string!

  6. Diana Gourley Says:

    Dr. Paul,

    Thanks for directing me to the conversation on “Leveraging Life’s Liabilities” as linked in your reply to my earlier comments; this converstion was exactly what I needed to hear. I am a new client of Darren Johansen. I know that great things will come from my life’s experience as I stop being selfish and learn to make some light!

    I so appreciate the good you are doing in helping us make better choices with our life experiences.

    Blessing to you and yours,

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