starry sky strategies for overcoming challenges

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)."

Yes! Overcoming challenges is a good thing

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. Are you curious?

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 actually 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 their own way.  Therefore sin entered into the world.

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.  So 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.  

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 the challenges of 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.



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What are some examples of challenges in life?

Everybody faces personal 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 challenges in life that are available to us is endless. But I believe they all serve the purpose of growth. 

Throughout this post, you’ll find YouTube videos of inspirational people and their examples of dealing with challenges in life. Don’t just skim over these.  I encourage you to watch them.  They will definitely 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 when you see him.  I read his book, Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life almost immediately after I came home from the hospital. 

I knew then, that I could overcome any challenges that I faced.  Nick is a “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.  You owe it to yourself to learn more about him.  So without further ado… 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.  In 2020, I passed my 20-year mark. Praise the Lord!

Cancer was the first major illness we faced as far as 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. 

What are the benefits of facing challenges?

As I mentioned earlier, one of the best benefits of dealing with challenges in life is spiritual growth.  The more you trust God, your faith increases. As I was lying 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 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.

pretty blonde at fountain, powerful strategies to overcome challenges

Another one of the benefits 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 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.

What are some strategies for how to deal with challenges? 

Lean on God  

Personally, I believe that this is the most important strategy to 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. 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.

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 I read when I came home from the hospital. Plus, when I saw her come in 2nd place on Dancing with the Stars, I was truly 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. This list goes on and on.  Learn all about her on her website.

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.

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

Facing the challenges of life 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 learning to overcome challenges is just part of the journey 

Another great quote is “Life is a journey, not a destination” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  I love that quote so much! 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 could or couldn’t do?  This simply means, if I am unable 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. Does that make sense?

Count your blessings

You might think that my life is unbearable, since losing my hands and feet.  But you know what? It really isn’t, 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 the challenges of 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.

purple daisy, life keeps throwing me stones quote

Rally your support team and lean on your loved ones

We know that trying to overcome challenges 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 the challenges of 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

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

What is life without a challenge?

I started this post, asking what kind of life would we have if we didn’t have to overcome challenges?  Following the strategies that I’ve laid out for dealing with 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 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.  

If you’re looking for even more inspiration, check out my ebook, Victory Over Affliction: 30 Days of Mindset Challenges to Motivate You.  You’ll love it. 

If you need a kickstart to live a life full of joy, gratitude and positivity, grab your free positivity planner page right below.

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What strategies do you find work best for you in overcoming 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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