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9 Super Practical Strategies for Overcoming the Constant Challenges in Life

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All Scripture references come from the King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV)."

I’ve survived breast cancer. I’ve survived a double mastectomy with reconstruction, a full hysterectomy, and an oophorectomy removing my ovaries. I’ve even survived flesh-eating bacteria that put me in a coma for 3 weeks, resulted in the amputation of both hands and both feet, and left me in the hospital for 3 months. But in the midst of every one of those challenges, some super-practical strategies stood out. 

How would it look if we didn’t have challenges in life? 

Doesn’t it stand to reason that when we adapt by facing and then overcoming challenges in life, we’re given the opportunity to learn and grow?  We’re being taught to mature spiritually.

God created mankind for His glory and honor.  We were also given the gift of choice. And so mankind, in its infinite wisdom, chose to act smarter than God and do things its own way. It started with Eve ignoring God’s command to stay away from one specific tree. Enticed by the serpent, she picked a delicious fruit from that glorious tree…and she took a bite.  Therefore sin entered into the world. (Note:  Never trust a snake!)

God knew that mankind would head in a sinful direction, so He already had a plan in place, His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus died on the cross at Calvary to pay the price of our sin.  When we accept His shed blood as payment for our debt, we can live forever with Him in Heaven. 

Do you realize how amazing and wonderful that is?

Why do we need spiritual maturity?  If we were created in His image and for His glory, doesn’t that mean that we should grow to be Christ-like?

Yes, it does!  But because we can’t figure out how to grow spiritually on our own, we are presented with personal challenges to refine us.  

Please understand, God is not throwing sticks in our way at every turn. That’s on us.  Most of the time when we are facing the challenges of life, it’s because of things we do or the choices we make. 

Do you ever wonder what it looks like from God’s perspective?

Sometimes I imagine God sitting at a big computer screen. He’s directing Sally to share the gospel with her friend, or John to hold the door for a stranger. Then there’s Mary who’s making sure that her two-year-old doesn’t burn herself on the stove.

But no, it’s not like that at all. We are not His puppets.  God simply allows it. It’s like a parent who lets you get into trouble and then kisses your boo-boos and helps you rebound and recover.  But in both of those situations, we’re learning and growing.

Did you know that gratitude is an essential strategy for overcoming the constant challenges in Life? Grab 40 days of gratitude prompts with this free calendar. Click below👇

Click here to grab your free calendar

 

Examples of Facing Challenges in Life

Everybody faces personal challenges in their life.  It could be job struggles, financial hardships, or a crazy flesh-eating bacteria that changes the shape of your body forever.  

You may find yourself cut off in traffic, forget your debit card at home while you’re grocery shopping, or fall out of a tree and break your collarbone (which I did when I was a kid.)  

The list of examples of challenges in life is endless. But they all serve the purpose of growth. 

plant bursting through cement, personal challenges
Every challenge serves to make us grow.

Below, you’ll find YouTube videos of inspirational people and their examples of dealing with challenges in life. Don’t just skim over these, watch them.  They will inspire you. 

You’ll probably notice, many of these are amputees. As a quadruple amputee, these particular stories hold a very special place in my heart.  In the beginning, I researched as much as I could about life after amputations.  I needed to KNOW that I really could have an exceptional life as a quad amputee. 

This first video is about a man who has inspired me so much.  Every time I see a video featuring Nick, I laugh and I cry.  You will ALWAYS feel encouraged by Nick.  I read his book, Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life after I came home from the hospital. 

I knew then, that I could overcome any challenges that I faced.  Nick “is an Australian-American born without arms or legs who has become a world-renowned speaker, New York Times best-selling author, coach, and entrepreneur,” according to his website.  Meet Nick Vujicic (this is his YouTube channel.

 

 

My Biggest Challenge in Life

I’ve had some major personal challenges in my own life.  In 1999 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation, the doctors determined that I was still pretty high risk for recurrence. 

So I opted for a double mastectomy with reconstruction, a full hysterectomy, and oophorectomy (the removal of my ovaries). It was a big surgery, but I’ve had a clean bill of cancer health ever since that ginormous surgery, that involved 3 separate surgeons.  In 2020, I passed my 20-year mark. Praise the Lord!

Cancer was the first major illness we faced in dealing with challenges in life.  My biggest personal challenge was the flesh-eating bacteria that put me in a coma for 3 weeks, resulted in the amputation of both hands and both feet, and left me in the hospital for 3 months. 

If you’re new to the blog, check out my About Me page for more info. Learning to live as a quadruple amputee has altered my life completely. But my spiritual life has grown. It just wasn’t possible to go through that tragedy without leaning on the Lord. 

Benefits of Facing Challenges

As mentioned earlier, one of the best benefits of dealing with challenges in life is spiritual growth.  The more you trust God, the more your faith increases. As I lay in bed as a new amputee, the fear of what my future life looked like overwhelmed me. 

Could I still be useful as a wife? Could I still care for my kids, or would they have to care for me? How on earth was I going to go to the bathroom all by myself?

All I could do was pray and trust that the Lord had a bigger plan for my life than what I had planned. Two scriptures guided me during those dark times and truly, ever since.  

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Roman’s 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

Another benefit of facing challenges in life is that you learn how strong you are and what you’re capable of.  The following quote is from one of my favorite Disney characters and his creator. Winnie the Pooh through A. A. Milne said “You are stronger than you seem, braver than you believe, and smarter than you think you are.”  Resilience and strength are great benefits.

AA Milne quote by Winnie the Pooh, Always remember, you are braver, stronger, smarter, and loved

A third benefit of learning how to deal with challenges is gratitude.  When you face obstacles, you realize how thankful you are for the things you have.  It’s not about what you’ve lost or what you can’t do, but what you’ve gained from the situation.  It’s so important to count your blessings.

Strategies for how to face challenges in life 

Rely on God  

This is the most important strategy for Christians to learn how to face challenges. Trusting the Lord with your life and soul is the foundation of being a Christian.  But when you throw obstacles into the mix, that’s where the rubber meets the road. Learn to lean on the Lord. Don’t blame Him for your problems. Trust God and let Him guide you through every challenge. 

Stare it down 

Stare your challenges right in the eye and confront them.  Don’t run, because you won’t stand a chance. Embrace the journey, do your best and learn from it,  But pray all the way through and trust that all things will work out for your good and for God’s glory. Remember Roman’s 8:28.

Amy Purdy is another example of inspiration after amputations.  Her book, On My Own Two Feet: From Losing My Legs to Learning the Dance of Life, was another one of the first books I read as a new amputee. When I saw her come in 2nd place on Dancing with the Stars, I was absolutely inspired. 

After her limb loss, she went on to become the 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, 2018 Paralympics silver medalist, and co-founder of her charity, Adaptive Action Sports.  She is also a model/actress, international speaker and has launched her own clothing line.  Learn all about her on her website.

Baby Steps 

The goal is to get successfully through your obstacle.  As with any goal, break things down into manageable bite-sized pieces.  Learning to live as a quadruple amputee was no easy feat, (get it…no feet, haha😂. Truly, humor is essential when you’re faced with mountain-sized obstacles.) I had to take one step at a time, literally and figuratively.

pink and white wildflowers, blue sky, winnie the pooh quote

Death or Strength?

Have you heard the saying, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” by Friedrich Nietzsche?  Challenges build your physical, emotional, and spiritual muscles.  By using those muscles, they stretch, they grow and you get stronger and stronger with every new adventure (aka challenge.)  This reminds me of our oldest son when he was 3. He used to raise his hands in the air and say, “fretching makes me fronger!”

It’s a Journey 

Another great quote I love is “Life is a journey, not a destination” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  It’s important to look for blessings along the way. When you’re going through pain, it’s difficult to stop and smell the roses.  But if you focus on every single negative in your life, you’ll be miserable.

Focus on the positive, even when that’s difficult to do. Look for the lesson in every challenge and see what you can learn.  Most importantly, find the silver lining. (Holy smokes, I’m full of cliches!)

Focus on This

Focus on what you can do and what you have, not what you can’t do and don’t have.  Living without hands has caused me to struggle. Some things I could do, others I couldn’t do.  This simply means if I am unable to do a task myself, then I improvise, ask someone else to do it, or go without. 

Here’s another example: If money is tight, then don’t do something that would require the use of a credit card, which only makes your situation worse.  Living within your means is a suitable statement for many situations, not just financial. 

Count your Blessings

You might think that my life is unbearable, since losing my hands and feet.  Nope, it’s not at all! My family and I are completely blessed. We were blessed during my health crisis, and every day since. 

Life is beautiful with an attitude of gratitude, no matter what you’re going through. Continue to practice gratitude through every challenge.  God has a reason for everything. Simply trust Him!

Give it Away

Focusing on others is one of the best things that you can do while you’re facing the challenges of life.  There’s always somebody else going through worse things than you are. When you spend your time helping others, you’re not focused on your own problems.  Plus helping others just makes you feel good.

Volunteer, cook a meal for someone who is sick, visit a friend who really needs a loving friend to talk to. At the very least, make a phone call to someone who needs a pick me up.  This mega list of acts of kindness has some great ideas. Pick one and have fun for a great blessing.

purple daisy, life keeps throwing me stones quote

Cheerleaders are Essential

You need a team when trying to overcome challenges. Your loved ones are there to pick you up when you’re feeling down. You need people who will work alongside you to go through the baby steps toward your goals. 

Let them help you. Ask them to pray for you.  Brainstorm the tools you need to be successful in reaching your goals. My family, friends, and church family were instrumental in helping me rebuild my life after my illness. They gave me emotional, spiritual, and physical help and support.  You need that too, so don’t push people away. If they offer to help, let them.  Otherwise, you’re robbing them of blessings they gain by helping you.

One of the most important lessons we have learned in going through all of our trials is,  don’t reject the offer of generosity.   Because when you do you are robbing them of their blessings.  Do you really want to do that because you have too much pride to accept their offer?

That was a really hard reality check for us. So think about that next time someone offers to cook you a meal, even though you have a fridge full of food. It doesn’t matter if you need it or not. What matters is they need to give it to you. 

I can Overcome Challenges in Life Because I have Quotes

Quotes motivate, especially when it comes to facing the challenges of life and overcoming them.  Here are a few of the most encouraging quotes I’ve used. Put them on a sticky note and hang them where you’ll be inspired.

“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.”– Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

 

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” -Molière

 

“Life keeps throwing me stones. And I keep finding the diamonds.”– Ana Claudia Antunes

 

“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.– Barbara De Angelis

 

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”– Robert Kennedy

 

 

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”– Bernice Johnson Reagon

 

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”– Haruki Murakami

 

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”– Susan Gale

 

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”– Christopher Reeve

 

“Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.”– Chris Bradford

pink flower, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger quote

What if?

Following these strategies for dealing with challenges in life, will bring you a beautiful life full of adventure, challenge, success, and failure.  Yes, my friend, failure is good. Because it teaches you things and when you course-correct, you grow from it.  

Life with challenges also brings you closer to God, if you let it.  Life with Jesus is a great life.  Embrace your challenges.  Find the blessings they bring. And always remember that life is a journey, not a destination.  

Take a look at The Dash poem by Linda Ellis.  In a nutshell, you have two dates in your life. The day you were born and the day you die.  The dash represents your life. Live that dash with as much purpose as you can. Love and care for others and live a life full of joy, gratitude, and kindness.  Fight to overcome your weaknesses and your challenges and represent Christ to your fullest.  

Bonus:  How to get more inspiration after facing a tough challenge

For more examples of facing the challenges of life, this ebook offers a daily devotional for 30 days. It’s based on my own personal challenges. I wrote this to inspire you to press on. Check out:  Victory Over Affliction: 30 Days of Mindset Challenges to Motivate You.  

Victory Over Affliction book cover framed by flowers

Your Turn

What strategies do you find work best for you in overcoming challenges in life?  Share in a comment below?

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smiling woman playing in a fountain, facing challenges in life

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16 Comments

    1. I’m so thankful, Heather. Those videos make me stop in my tracks every single time. So very powerful. Thanks for reading.

  1. You never cease to amaze me, Wendy! Your encouragement and positivity is always right when we need it most. God is no doubt using you in mighty ways helping others through facing challenges and obstacles in life. As always another amazing post and it will change the hearts and lives to those who read it!

  2. Life is full of challenges, isn’t it? I’ve been struggling with health issues that are affecting not only me, but my whole family. I’ve been to see multiple doctors, I’m changing lifestyle habits and diet, taking supplements and preventive meds and nothing is helping. Today I was in tears because I’m just done with it all. Your words encouraged me. I can’t thank you enough!

    1. Oh Heather, I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m thankful that I was able to encourage you. I’ll pray that everybody feels better soon.

  3. As always, Wendy is a bright light in what can be a dark and solemn world sometimes. Thank you my friend for brightening my morning and getting my day off on the right start! God is using you for His greatness no doubt and greatly encouraged this sojourner today! Many blessings and beautiful writing!

  4. When I have faced challenges, I find that sometimes you have to remove any distractions from your life so that you can hear clearly from God.

    1. So true, Brandi. Distractions take your mind off the Lord and when you’re facing challenges in your life, you really need Him with you.

  5. There is so much to love in this post Wendy! I love all the quotes, but the Dash poem was a new one to me and really made me stop and think. I’m 100% with you on leaning on God as a strategy for facing challenges. I used to rely on my “grit” (which is not necessarily bad) but we need more than self to get us through the tough times!

    1. Thank you, AnnMarie, I hope you check out the Dash pine, it’s a great thought and it puts things into perspective. It’s easy to forget about God, but it’s such a strength to have Him right there to lean on.

  6. Wendy, this is so awesome and encouraging! I loved each of the steps – from leaning on God to facing the obstacle to taking baby steps (YES!) and realizing that facing challenges is part of our journey. We are so blessed to have Jesus walk us through every step of the way.

    And my favorite challenges in life quote is “Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”– Susan Gale.

    I never thought of it like that before. But so true. Thank you for this beautiful post! ❤

    1. Thank you so much, Donna. Facing challenges in life is definately part of our journey and to face them with Jesus makes the journey more beautiful.

  7. Wonderful post and I particularly love the quote from Winnie the Pooh. I am thankful for every hard time I’ve gone through. Even the death of my husband because of what I’ve learned. I’m not glad he’s gone but I know he’s where I want to go! So, I can be thankful for the life we had and learn through loss.

    1. Absolutely, Fleda. We can learn from and be thankful for our experiences. I’m sorry for your loss, but to know that your husband is living with Jesus and that you’ll be together again someday is a huge blessing.

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