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What kind of life would it be if everything was all hunky dory and rosy and you never had any obstacles? I believe that this world would be full of ungrateful, take everything for granted, inconsiderate people. When we adapt by facing challenges in life, we’re given the opportunity to learn and grow. We’re truly being taught to mature spiritually. Don’t you think?
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 their own way. Therefore sin entered into the world. God knew that mankind would head in this direction, so He already had a plan in place, His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died to pay the price of our sin, so when we accept that debt as our own we can live forever with Him in Heaven.
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 challenges to refine us.
Now I’m not saying that God is throwing sticks in our way at every turn. That’s on us. Most of the time when we are facing challenges in life, it’s because of things we do or the choices we make. 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.
What are some examples of challenges in life?
Everybody faces challenges in their life. It could be job struggles, financial hardships or a health crisis. You may find yourself cut off in traffic, forgetting your debit card at home while you’re grocery shopping, you could stub your toe or fall out of a tree and break your collarbone, which I did when I was a kid. The list of examples of the challenges available to us, is endless. But I believe they all serve the purpose of growth.
My biggest challenge in life
I’ve had some major challenges in my 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. I just passed my 20-year mark. Praise the Lord!
My biggest challenge in life 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.
What are the benefits of facing challenges?
As I mentioned earlier, one of the best benefits of facing challenges is spiritual growth. The more you trust God, your faith increases. As I was laying in bed as a new amputee, the fear of what my future life looked like was overwhelming. All I could do was pray and trust that the Lord had a bigger plan for my life than what I had previously thought. 2 scriptures have been foremost in my thoughts during those dark times and truly, ever since.
Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV “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 KJV “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 is a great benefit.
A third benefit of facing challenges in life 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.
What are some strategies to facing challenges in life?
Lean on God!
Personally, I believe that this is the most important strategy to facing your challenges in life. 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. You really need to lean on the Lord. Don’t run from God and blame Him for your problems. Trust Him and let Him guide you.
Face the obstacle!
Look your challenge right in the eye and confront it. Don’t run, because you won’t stand a chance. Simply 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!
Take baby steps
The goal is to get successfully through your obstacle. With any goal you need to break things down into manageable bite-sized pieces. Learning to live as a quadruple amputee was no easy feat. So I simply took one step at a time, literally and figuratively.
Facing your challenges makes you stronger
Have you heard the saying, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” by Friedrich Nietzsche? Challenges build muscles. They build your physical, emotional and spiritual muscles. As you use those muscles, they stretch and grow and you get stronger.
Realize that obstacles are part of the journey
Another great quote is “Life is a journey, not a destination” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I love it! It’s important to look for blessings along the way. I know 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 a difficult task. 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 what you can do and what you have, not what you can’t do and don’t have
If I use my example of not having hands, I’ve always struggled with the things that I can or can’t do? This simply means, if I can’t do a task myself, then 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 a credit card purchase. That will just make your situation worse. Live within your means is a suitable statement for many situations, not just financial. I hope I’m making sense.
Count your blessings
You might think that my life is unbearable, since losing my hands and feet. You know what? Not by a long shot! My family and I are completely blessed. We were blessed during my health crisis, and every day since. I’ve learned that with an attitude of gratitude, life is beautiful no matter what you’re going through. Continue to practice gratitude through it all. You just have to know that there is a reason for everything. Simply trust God!
Give to others
One of the best things that you can do while you’re facing challenges in your life, is to focus on others. 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. Not only that, but helping others just makes you feel good. Volunteer, cook a meal for someone who is sick, visit a friend in need. At the very least, make a phone call to someone who needs a pick me up. Check out my mega list of acts of kindness that you can do. Pick one and have fun. You will never regret it.
Rally your support team and lean on your loved ones
We know that trying to get through our struggles alone is not the best course of action. You need a team. Your loved ones are there to pick you up when you’re feeling down. You need people who will work with you to go through those baby steps toward your goals. Let them help you. Ask them to pray for you. Brainstorm on the tools you need. My family, friends and church family were instrumental in helping me rebuild my life after my illness. They not only gave me emotional and spiritual support, but physical help as well. You need that too, so don’t push people away. If they offer to help, let them.
Challenges in life quotes
I am a huge fan of quotes, especially when it comes to facing challenges in life and overcoming them. Here are a few of my favorites.
“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
What is life without a challenge?
I started this post, asking what kind of life would we have if we didn’t have obstacles? Following the strategies that I’ve laid out for facing challenges in life, brings you a beautiful life full of adventure, challenge, success and failure. Yes, my sweet 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. Personally, I think that a life with the Lord is a great life. So embrace your challenges. Find the blessings they bring. Remember that life is a journey, not a destination.
You may have heard about The Dash poem by Linda Ellis. Basically 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 canas 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.
What strategies do you find work best for you as you’re facing challenges in your life? Please share in the comments below. And if you’re looking for Inspiration, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter below to receive a great free ebook called Inspiration Overload. You’ll get 5 days of inspiration to live your best life. You’ll love it!
If you’re looking for even more inspiration, check out my ebook on Amazon. The link is below or check out my landing page here. It’s called Victory Over Affliction: 30 Days of Mindset Challenges to Motivate You. I would also like to invite you to join my Facebook group. It’s called Overcoming Challenges Through Inspiration. Simply answer a few questions to join. See you there!