man leaping over large rocks, 6 helpful ways to overcome life's challenges
Overcoming Challenges

6 Helpful Ways to Overcome Life’s Difficult Challenges

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Everyone struggles with things in their life one way or another.  It could be an illness or a breakup, job loss or depression.  I’ve been through cancer, in addition to my more recent situation with illness and amputations. So I guess you could say, I’ve had to overcome a few of life’s challenges in my life.

So how do you get through the tough times?

I’ve used the following 6 ways to get me to overcome life’s challenges.

Prayer

Prayer is my go-to when I find myself down and frustrated with my challenges.  Prayer is communication with God.  In Matthew 6:9-13 we find the model prayer where Jesus is teaching us to pray.  It includes praise to God, confession or asking forgiveness for our sins, thanksgiving for all He has done for us, then the petition for our needs and the needs of others.

red headed woman praying

Prayer is not about gimme, gimme, gimme.  It’s so much more. As my Heavenly Father, I am able to talk to Him like I can talk to a friend.  Approaching the Lord with faith, expecting that He will answer your prayer, as long as it is in accordance with His will, He will answer.  Matt 21:22 says “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”. However, we need to ask in accordance with His will”.  1 John 5:14 says “And this is the confidence we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

It’s important to note, that when you’re praying within Gods will that you don’t have any unconfessed sin in your life.  John 9:31 says “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man is a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth”.  How do we clear this up with God?  Romans 10:9-10 says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. Once you’re saved, the Lord hears your prayers.

Look for Blessings

Another way to overcome life’s challenges is to focus on the good things in your life.  Find the blessing in the situation. We may never know why things happen to us but we can always find a silver lining.  For instance, when my sister was going through ovarian cancer, my mom accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior.  That’s a huge answered prayer, right there.

thankful sign hanging in fern leaves

Additionally, this latest situation with my illness and amputations has been an opportunity for me to inspire and help others. If my life and inspiration turn just one soul to Christ, then yes, it was worth it all!  Was it painful and difficult?  Yes!  However,  it was also worth it because we are told we are going to suffer for Christ. Can this be part of Gods plan? I’m sure!

You need support

Surround yourself with a support network.  Your family and friends are instrumental in providing support when you need it and are struggling with life’s challenges.  I would be lost without them. Each person serves a different purpose. You may be able to cry on one person’s shoulder, where another provides the tough love you may need. However, they all love you and are willing to help you through your challenges. Don’t try to be tough. Let your support system help you through it.

4 girls in field forming hearts with their handsIt’s okay to be emotional

According to the Kubler-Ross model, there are five stages of grief as you struggle to overcome life’s challenges and it’s natural to go through each one. The stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I don’t think I’ve personally completed all of them. I’ve never felt the need to bargain and I still get angry at times. Acceptance is a tough one. I wish I could tell you that I’ve completely accepted my situation, but I cannot.  My point is that emotions are natural.

crying: acceptable at funerals and the grand canyon written in white letters, black board on white wall

I am, by nature a VERY emotional person.  I cry at commercials and at Disney movies. I cry when I’m touched emotionally.  I cry when I hear beautiful singing.  I also cry when I’m frustrated because I cannot cook dinner for my family, or create DIY’s I’m really interested in and because I’m so dependent on others for help.  However, it’s okay to do that, as long as I’m not crying all the time.

Keep a journal

Write things down or journal your thoughts when you’re struggling to cope with life’s challenges.   Many times writing out your feelings helps to release them.  I think it would be great if you put your sad thoughts in your gratitude journal. In my post Gratitude: Why Counting Your Blessings Is So Important, I spoke about creating a daily journal of things that you’re thankful for.  By combining your gratitude journal with your emotional thoughts, you can refer back to the things that you’re thankful for as a way to uplift you when you’re feeling down.

today I am grateful written on front of pink journal, gold pen, green leavesGratitude

Be thankful for what you have.  This thought is to piggyback on #5.  Add to your gratitude journal. Sometimes when we feel sorry for ourselves we need to break that thought, so thinking about things we’re thankful for is a great way to do that.  Think of 5-10 things you have to be thankful for and write them in your gratitude journal.  If you don’t have one yet, now is a good time to start.

thankful written on wood table with fall leaves scattered

Show your gratitude in your prayers. All blessings come from God. Thank Him!  When I pray, I like to go through every little thing that I am thankful for and show my gratitude to the Lord. Get detailed.  I’m thankful for the birds singing, the fall colors which shows Gods artistry and the soft breeze felt on my cheek.  How can you feel sorry for yourself when you think about those things you’re thankful for?

you got this is written in chalk on cement

In my situation, I’ve used all of the previous ways to cope with my life’s challenges.  Every day is an emotional roller coaster. However combining these 6 ways to overcome your challenges, I believe will get you through them. Do you have other ideas?  I’d love to hear about them. Leave your solutions in the comments below.  You are also welcome to head over to my One Exceptional Life Facebook page to carry on the conversation there.

 

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26 Comments

  1. I easily get discouraged in the face of setbacks. Prayer, counting my blessings, and the support of my family and friends helped me a lot.
    This is such a beautiful post, Wendy. God has filled you with his spirit to write these powerful words. Keep writing! Keep inspiring!

  2. I’ve found that a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness has helped me get through the difficult periods of my life, as well as a consistent prayer life. As always, you are an inspiration and motivator to so many of your readers. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much, Candi. I completely believe in gratitude and prayer for all things. Where would we be without the Lord?

  3. Your words are powerful and impactful because of all you’ve suffered. Joni Eareckson Tada says that the more we’ve suffered, the more people we’re able to impact or reach. It’s really true. Your struggles would have turned many people away from God or toward bitterness, but you write from a spirit of joy and hope in God, thus encouraging others that they too can rely on Jesus. These are all hopeful and Biblical strategies. Thank you for sharing them. I think it’s time for me to do a gratitude journal again.

    1. Melinda,
      I truly appreciate all of your kind comments. I’m thankful for Gods healing and for the strength and support that He gave me. I pray that I can have that impact you suggest.

  4. Hi Wendy, it requires divine grace to be courageous and fight back to all the negative vibes that can rule your mind when things turn upside down. But it is worth to be in the refiner’s furnace and to be the beautiful vessel in his house. May God help us all to be faithful in all trials and temptations.

  5. Dear Wendy!

    Sure, all of us struggle with something.

    The six ways you mentioned as a way to get through life are powerful.

    My favourite here was what you said about focusing on the positive things in life.

    With love!
    Edna Davidsen

    1. Hi Edna, as always I appreciate your feedback. I like focusing on positive things. I never want to be a “negative Nelly”. My goal is to inspire others and I couldn’t do that if I was doubtful and negative.

  6. Great post! I personally go through difficult times by journaling (it makes my mind clearer) and counting my blessings. I believe taking my focus away from the problem helps me solve it instead of sticking my nose in it all the time 🙂

    1. I love that Rachel Jo, taking your mind away from your problems will always make you feel better. Journaling and thoughts of gratitude are awesome for that.

  7. Hi Wendy-the it is ok to be emotional is so important. Repressed emotions have a way of sneaking back up. Looking at Psalms we see it is ok to be real with God and seek our comfort from Him. Great post as always and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Rosemarie,
      I don’t think I’ve ever repressed a single emotion in my life. Wish I could. In fact, my daughter tells me to “suck it back up, Mom” when I start getting teary. Haha. I even cry when I’m talking to God, but I know that’s okay. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  8. Thank you for sharing how you get through difficult times. Prayer and gratitude have been what I turn to during the difficult times. I know there is always One who will be there when things seem dark. With so much stress and tension in the world, people need to be reminded of what they can do in difficult times. 🙂

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      Yes, there is the best way to overcome our challenges and that is the Lord. The other options are great resources as well and I am thankful for all of them.

  9. Thank you Wendy – Life certainly does have ups and downs, a series of dramas in someways – some good and uplifting – some not so good and take us low. I’ve had my share of highs and lows like most people.

    You six strategies are solid – sound and practical. Prayer. Looking for the Good – there is always some, even if it appears small, Counting Blessings – I’ve had so many over the years. Showing Gratitude = yep goes well with my enthusiasm

    Reaching out for support from others is / has been tough for me. I am the one people come to when trouble hits, I am the Coach, the Consultant, the Boss, the Head of the home (don’t tell my wife I said that – te he) – still each time I do reach out I am amazed at the love and attention that comes back along with increased respect. I can be down and yet “not out” and people seems to accept that as me being real and honest – strange because it is…

    Being emotional – hmmm. I’ve shed a few tears on stage more than a few times, being real. I’ve howled in Church and in the company of friends – it hurts, it wears me out and it helps the healing

    Journaling – hmmm. For decades with a Day Timer, I planned and journaled. Since going digital with a diary I’ve not managed it so well – good reminder

    1. Hi Bob, thank you for sharing such personal emotions. I know that reaching out for support is a challenge for many. We learned the hard way not to take the blessings from others who are wanting to help us. When we started looking at their support as their blessing it became so much easier.

  10. Thank you for reminding us of these powerful ways to push through difficult circumstance. The one that spoke to me was focusing on our blessings. It is in our human nature to focus on negative things. But we need to learn to bring out our Spiritual nature and focus on God’s blessings.

    1. Thank you, Galina. I agree and I think it’s sad to always focus on the negative. Thankfully we can redirect our thoughts and turn our eyes upward toward the Lord.

    1. Thank you Cristen. In spite of all my challenges, God has seen me through. It’s my reasonable service to tell others of all He’s done for me. I’m thankful for my blog that gives me an outlet.

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