Choose Not to Stress When Life’s Not Fair
By Barbara Dahlgren
One More Year of Choices
Here’s a news flash for you – and it’s not fake news: Life is NOT fair.
While we should all strive to be fair, life does not always reciprocate. It’s not fair when we study non-stop to maintain a B average, but the guy who plays video games all day long makes all A’s. It’s not fair when we work harder than the guy sitting next to us, but he gets the promotion. It’s not fair when we deliver a fantastic presentation, but someone else takes the credit. Life is not fair.
If life were fair, we would all have the same gifts and talents, but we don’t. If life were fair, we would all be rich, beautiful, and healthy, but we aren’t. While it’s true some people have worked hard for these things, others have just lucked out. Some people are born with tremendous advantages; some are born with overwhelming disadvantages. Is that fair?
No it’s not, but that’s the way it is. Solomon told us long ago that life is not fair. He explained that the fastest runner does not always win the race; the strongest soldier does not always win the battle; wise people don’t always get their bounty; smart people don’t always get the wealth; educated people don’t always get the praise they deserve. That’s just the way it is! (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
Consider this: We like it when life is unfair in our favor. Is it fair when the other speeder gets the ticket and we don’t? Is it fair that we live in the United States while others live in third world countries? Unfortunately, instead of being grateful for these blessings, many feel entitled, which makes it all the more stressful for them when they don’t think life is treating them fairly.
Well, I have three words to help us cope with life not being fair: Get over it!
Life is not fair and we need to decide how we will let that affect us. When those bad things happen, do we grumble, blame others, become bitter, get depressed, and stay miserable? Those are viable options, but they won’t make a person’s situation any better.
Solomon also tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” This tells me that although life is not fair, we still have choices. We can put our energy into making the best of bad situations, trying to improve our circumstances, and striving to go forward. We can be better people, not bitter. We can have peace, not anger. Problems are a given in life, but misery is optional.
The only way to have this peace is to focus on Jesus. Was it fair for Paul to have all sorts of difficulties when he was doing God’s work? I don’t think so. Yet, he chose the higher ground. Instead of grumbling, he said, “We are hard pressed but not crushed. We are perplexed but not in despair. We are persecuted but not forsaken. We are struck down but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-12) He just picked himself up and went about his heavenly Father’s business.
Is life fair? No! Life is not fair, but how we deal with it can make a big difference in how we fare in life.
Suggestions for practicing this choice…
Don’t be a control freak. We can’t control every situation, so stop trying.
Ask God to help you discern when it’s time to let go and move on.
Learn to take deep breaths during stressful situations. Don’t give into anger and frustration.
Don’t allow yourself to become bitter. Bitterness is like a caustic acid which eats away at the container that holds it.
Repeat his serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr often: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Let’s say a big AMEN to that one!!!