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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 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.
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.
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.
It’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.
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.
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.
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?
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.