LIFE SOMETIMES GIVES YOU LEMONS; FIND THE LESSON!



"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Elbert Hubbard "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33. "Like everything in life, it is not what happens to you but how you respond to it that counts." Steve Backley.


Lemons in this particular writing are being used metaphorically to represent something negative, bad, poor, or broken (a car that does not work properly is sometimes referred to as a lemon), difficulty or misfortune. You get the idea. Conventional wisdom leads us to believe that in every situation in life that is sour or unacceptable, we can turn it into something sweet. That would be fabulous, but truth be told, we are not magicians. When rain falls, we cannot by the wave of our hand stop it, but we can get out of the rain and find shelter. Or we can look a bit deeper to understand that there is a purpose for rain. e. g., It's free water for your lawn, and you do not have to do the labor to water it. I am sure you get my drift, especially home owners with lawns.


The well known adage, "When life brings lemons make lemonade," refers to turning the negative occurrences in one's life into something positive. "Irfan, an Indian actor stated,"When life offers you lemons, create lemonade, as the saying goes...it's good to talk about, but when life hands you lemons, making lemonade becomes tough." To this I say a hardy "amen!" When you find yourself in the thick of a difficult, trying or very sad situation, it may require all your strength to keep from falling. "When life gives you lemons, ask for sugar and water too. Otherwise, your final product would be some acidic lemon juice." Priyavrat Gupta. There is nothing wrong with keeping a positive outlook, but sometimes you need to simply breathe, take it in and then proceed with a plan.


Dr. Charles Stanley, (In Touch Ministries), affectionately referred to as "America's Pastor," says that, "When something bad happens, find a way to get good from it." We are advised to take advantage of what we have. "Lemons" represent something undesirable, while "lemonade" represents its transformation to something desirable. What to do? Pray first. Dr. Stanley always says that we should "turn everything over to God and leave the consequences to Him." Amen!


When I was growing up, I was told that I could not question God about anything, and there was very little I could ask adults. This left me turning inward for answers. I did not always come up with answers; correct or incorrect, but there is value in thinking things through. A few times I did wonder "why" certain things happened and "why" to certain people and not others. Being the "thinker" that I am, I realized that this was a precious waste of brain power. How would it help me to know why something good happened to someone else? Or for that matter if something bad happened to someone else. Okay, maybe I could feel better about what was happening to me. Nevertheless, my plight had nothing to do with them. Of course, I am not talking about obvious repercussions due to someone's behavior; like robbing a bank. It only makes sense that they would go to jail, if caught. I digress.


All the above is good to know, but why the lemons? Can they all be stopped? The answer is "no." We have been warned in the scripture above that we are going to experience trouble in this world. Jesus informed us so that when trouble comes we can be at peace. You do not need to freak out about something that you know is coming. Of course, you could, but you cannot say that you had no idea and throw up your hands. Believe me, this will not change a thing. Put your hands down. Well you can lift them in prayer. Jesus also gave us hope. He told us to "take heart." He has overcome the world, and so can we. He is there to help us. Yes, there will be times when life seemingly "dumps" on us, and it is not so easy to get out from under. Don't give up.


Fortunately, there are those times when we can objectively examine those lemons (tragedy, setbacks, failures, disappointments, loss of employment, failed relationships, financial loss or ruin, poor health, etc.) and try to understand how we got these lemons and plan what we can do by way of prevention. This is what I call, "find the lesson." Learn it and endeavor not to repeat the actions that brought on the lemon/s that could have been prevented. More than we care to admit we, at times, play a huge role in the lemons that materialize in our lives. Not always. Sometimes it is a test. Remember Job? Just something to keep in mind before you throw a pity party and invite despair. "If the lemons are rotten, take out the seeds and plant them in order to grow new lemons." Louise Hay. Now that should keep you thinking for a while. The point is that you can always do something. At the very least, we can change our attitude whether or not we aided in bringing those "lemons."


We suffer from the "human condition," which means that our very nature leads us to issues. Take our bodies, for instance. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14. No one can duplicate this beautiful specimen that God created. Do we always treat it with due diligence or even with sufficient care to see that it remains in a good state? Answer for yourself. We (I should say some of us) smoke, drink, overeat, don't exercise enough, don't feed our brain, fail to see the doctor, do not appropriately follow his orders when we do see him or keep appointments consistently, etc. When we finally do go to the doctor, maybe it's because the "lemon" of pain forced us. For those of us who are wise, we accept that we must take the doctor's diagnosis and "make lemonade." Let us do our best to not let it come to this. Let's get hooked on prevention and monitoring. "It's not what happens to you, but how you handle it." Louise Hay. As James Brown would say, "Get on the good foot."


All that aside: What is the life lesson in "lemons?" We learn or are supposed to learn from what we go through. You fall down a few times, you learn to avoid the place/s where you keep falling. You should anyway. You know the old saying, "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Loosely translated, if you did not get the gist or moral of the lesson, you will continue doing whatever you have been doing. You will take the same actions; make the same mistakes. Let's take this to another level shall we? "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is called "insanity." I trust that you are very sane. Just a little stubborn. Am I right about that? You answer as only you can.


Back to my thesis: Let us take a closer look at a few "lemons" where we have some control and where we may not. Poor health diagnosis, loss of a job, loss of a loved one, end of a marriage. Any and all of these may be out of our control, but you need to face them with the confidence that you were present and did your best. Be encouraged that we are not in this world alone. We have the power of God on our side when we invite Him into our lives and accept His guidance. When we have done our best, He will do the rest. Have you done your best?


1. What are the lemons that life has given you? Take a moment to access them. Remember, they do not have to get you down. Pray. Face them squarely. One by one, address them with information and available resources. Consult a helpful professional (doctor, lawyer, Pastor, etc.) before making any decisions. Aways remember, that you are not unique in the sense that trouble has camped at your door. "Trouble don't last always." "You are more than a conqueror." Romans 8:37.

2. Did you select the lemons and put them in your own cart? This sounds self-defeating and a little off-center. But the truth is, we can self-sabotage. After examining the "lemons" that have presented in your life, be honest with yourself. If you find that you are somewhat responsible, do not beat yourself up. Instead resolve that you are going to do better. Then, make that change. Discipline is hard to come by, but it is not impossible. Ask for help when you need it. "I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2. This is not a slogan or a catchphrase. God offers real help. It is there for the asking. Seek Him. Take one step at a time, one day at a time.

3. When are you going to deal with the "lemons?" Ignoring a problem never makes it go away. If procrastination is your thing; get over it. How long do you want the lemons to linger? Start working on them immediately. "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, pickle, lemon tart or whatever the heck you want. But make something and don't just stand there and allow your problem to become a virus infiltrating every sphere of life. Problems are good, bad and some worth ignoring yet solution exists for a reason." Rajeev Anand Learn to respond timely and appropriately. Get going!!

4. What are some preventative steps that you can/will take to ward off the "lemons" that can sour you on life? Speak encouragement over your life everyday. Believe that you can take charge. Know that you can ask God to give you the courage to live your best life. "Have I not commanded you? Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9. Step out on faith. Take care of yourself: mind, body and spirit. You can do it! You do not have to do it alone. Philippians 4:13.


Make note that we have been told in scripture that this life will bring both joy and sorrow. But, we do not have to play victim. To the extent possible, let us be prepared by seeking God's wisdom, understanding, and involvement in our lives. God is our power source. Recognize!

Tap in! Next, let's learn to trust God in all things. When we truly trust God, it will be evident in our behavior; in how we treat ourselves and others. This will surely cut down on some of those lemons. For the rest, we can let go and let God. "Cast all you anxiety on Him because He cares for us." 1 Peter 5:7.


Learn the lesson from each "lemon" and move on. In fact, keep it moving. As you gain in understanding, help someone else to realize that God has given us everything we need to not only weather the storms of this life, but also to live an abundant life. With His grace, mercy and providential care we can take it, and with His love we can make it.


Go ahead, you can enjoy a cool refreshing glass of lemonade--not made with "life lemons." God bless you!


Yours, Yvette


Thank you always for your continued support. I remain truly appreciative. You can write comments to vttlane@gmail.com