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By Tanya Wilson

As we move deeper into the middle of January, I’m reminded of the importance of savoring the best of last year as I embrace this year. Some years ago I was so focused on what didn’t go according to my plan, I totally missed an opportunity to share what went well.

Don’t get me wrong, these last 15 years have not been a cake walk, but I realized that I was totally missing it. The reality was there was purpose in the problem. I was focused on the problem and not the purpose.

As I considered my purpose I was able to connect it to my calling. All of my life, as far back as I can remember my heart’s desire was to find ways to help others. Sometimes I missed the boat in my helping thinking it had to always be the giving of money and things; going broke will correct that for you. But much more importantly sharing how I survived the curve balls that life can throw at you. Or, as the old folks said, how I got over. No, there is no formal class in curve balls; however, being in the fire can teach you a whole lot of things.

I am so grateful, particularly in these days and times to have employment. My employment however, is not my calling. It makes it easier to walk in my calling, but it is not the call on my life. My call to speak and to write could never have come to pass if I had no curriculum. In other words, the curriculum of my life, the things that I have been through, gives me what I need when I have to encourage that divorced woman or man, or that family in financial ruins, or that parent that doesn’t know what to do when their child has gone astray. If I never went through anything, if I had never suffered, I would have no reference material to encourage someone else in their endurance test. Through my long suffering, I have a message that is based in my badge of wound survival, which allows me to tell somebody else, “just hold on.”

I must admit that I get confused when I encounter people that I know have survived the fire, and refuse to share the survival story. I get confused when I go to church and I know firsthand what a person has come through, yet, they want to turn their nose up on the woman or the man that doesn’t look quite the way they think they should, or they don’t seem to have what it takes to be a member of the holy ghost click.

Romans 12:6-8 New Living Translation (NLT) makes it plain in terms of what we ought to use the curriculum of our lives for, it says; 6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

As we enter this New Year, reflect on the curriculum of your life, and what you learned along the way. Become useful and allow that curriculum, and the test that you passed or not, to give someone the cliff notes for their class. Allow them to see and hear what surviving the fire looks like.

Tanya is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. You can friend her on Facebook or email her at Read more columns by Tanya Wilson.

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Tanya Wilson is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. To learn more about her visit