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Overcoming Challenges

How to Enjoy Life When the Struggle is Real

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When we go through seasons of change, sometimes it’s difficult to find the rainbow for the clouds. But there’s so much opportunity for happiness if you’ll simply make the choice to have a positive perspective.   If you’re wondering how to enjoy life when the struggle is real, I’m here to tell you that it’s possible. You just have to get your “want-to” fixed!

Shortly after I lost both hands and both feet to amputation, due to illness, I found myself in a major funk.  I was working with a prosthetist to create prosthetic legs. Once my legs were ready and I was learning to walk, having no feet was not much of a hindrance.  I could walk and I could get from point A to point B with little difficulty.

Life without hands is a real downer

Living life with no hands, on the other hand (no pun intended) was a totally different story.  My friends, I want you to take a minute to thank our great and wonderful God in Heaven for your hands.  They’re something that we take for granted every single day. But when they are gone, life does a complete one-eighty.

We tried every type of prosthetic available to replace one of the most used body parts I had.  There was no amount of occupational therapy that would make those very heavy hands or hooks useful. It’s a shame, really to purchase something so very elaborate, but wouldn’t serve any purpose other than looking pretty. The extent of their usefulness is opening and closing. I could grab things, but I couldn’t move my wrist.  I decided that I could do far more without those hands, than I could with them.  

It was a dark time.  But I have never been a pessimistic, negative type of person.  I always had a smile on my face when we were out in public. Inside I cried.  In the meantime, we tried different methods and tools to enable me to live life without hands, to the fullest.  Over time we created systems and tools to help me get my independence back.It is so important to learn how to enjoy life, especially when you're going through tough times. Happiness is there simply by taking a positive perspective. Click To Tweet

How to enjoy life 

But this post isn’t a sob story about what I couldn’t do as a quadruple amputee.  Today, we’re talking about how to enjoy life when the struggle is real. Although I had many sad moments in the early days of amputation, my ultimate goal was to get my happy back.  I learned so much about what not to do, so that now when tough times hit, I bounce back a whole lot faster. I have found several questions you can ask yourself to put your mindset in the right place.

What can I learn from my current situation?

We all know that everything happens for a reason.  For so many years, I questioned God. Why did my family and I have to go through this trial?  Was it something we had done? What I have learned, though, is that illness doesn’t always result from a sin you’ve committed.  But there’s always a lesson.  

“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.” Roman’s 8:28 KJV.  It’s hard to imagine that my illness and amputation worked for my own good, but that statement is entirely true! As a result, my family and I have been blessed far more than we have been hindered.  And God got all the glory! How wonderful is that?

woman in hat in flower field, how to enjoy life when the struggle is real

I’ve learned that I can be a blessing to others, merely by continuing on long after the trauma is over. My calling is to help others to get through their trials with a smile on their face.  This blog is just the beginning. I’ve even set up a Facebook group to make it easier. It’s called Overcoming Challenges Through Inspiration and I would love for you to come and be a part of it.  Simply answer a few questions to join.

Am I living my best life the way Jesus wants me to live?

I found a great blog post called Are you Living Your Best Life, which is a great reminder that Satan wants us to enjoy the shiny things like new cars, homes and beach bodies.   Yet, a really great life is a life with Jesus.  Only a personal relationship with Christ can show you how to enjoy life.  Don’t discount that thought. It’s the difference in your eternal life. Personally, I wouldn’t want to leave that up to chance, would you?  You might also check out How to Get Excited About Life Every Day for some great reminders of finding blessings in the mundane parts of life.  Also, visit Embracing the Joy of the Lord for some great Bible verses about joy in the Lord.   

How can I be a blessing to others? 

Helping others expands your own happiness. If you don’t believe me, commit an act of kindness toward someone.  Does it make them smile? Most often, it will make somebody’s day. If you want to know how to enjoy life, look for ways to bless everybody you talk to each day.  Smile at them, compliment them, pray for them. It doesn’t take much. Just be a blessing!  

We all tend to be kind to most everyone. Are you guilty of holding back if someone has ticked you off?  If I’m honest, I’m guilty of that. But Jesus showed kindness to the undeserving, and we should too. Check out this post called How Kindness Changes the World with Radical Acts Rather than Random Ones and you’ll see that reaching out to the undeserving too, like Jesus did, will bless others. 

How can I grow?  

Look for opportunities to expand.   If you’re in work or school, how can you expand your education?  If you’re a homemaker, what new tools can you create to make your job easier?  It could be something as simple as following a Mom blog that offers resources to other Moms.  Better yet, start your own blog and offer tools and resources to others. You may find a way to create additional income through the process.

If you’re already a blogger, take a course to polish your skills.  If you are disabled, find a way to do something new. My point is, don’t stay stuck.  It’s way too easy to just accept life as it is. When you do that, you can fall into negativity or depression.  Please don’t let that happen. Life is too short! Enjoy each day and make each day count. 

Am I focused on the positive?

What you tend to focus on expands.  In other words, negativity breeds negativity.  If you see the bad in things there’s only one thing for you to do. Change your mindset!  I always say that television programming is like your mindset. If you don’t like what you’re watching, change the channel.  You can change your mind the same way. If you don’t want pizza for dinner, have spaghetti and meatballs. If somebody cuts you off in traffic and turns your mood sour, change your mindset and pray for that person instead.  Easy peasy, right? Set a great example for those around you. Keep a smile on your face. Look for the blessing in every trial. Check out How to Develop a Positive Attitude in Life for some tips.

The other day, my husband and I were walking around a local craft fair.  My legs are new so when I stand still or walk slowly, my calves get really sore.  So we found a bench nearby to sit for a few minutes. There was a woman sitting across from us who looked at me and said “you have such a great attitude!”  Let me tell you friends, I was in so much pain at that point, I couldn’t figure out where she was finding my positive attitude. But, she did. That is such a blessing to me. Even in my pain, my optimism showed through. I felt gratitude in having a bench to sit on.  She saw it and it made her happy. That, my friend, is how to enjoy life when the struggle is real.

Whatever your circumstances, bloom through the concrete

I am sure that you have heard the phrase, “Bloom where you’re planted.”  Well, we are all at different seasons of change in our life. Times can be tough.  Whatever you are struggling through, bloom through the concrete. Find a way to push through that cement.

God is so great. Never underestimate the power of simply talking to your Heavenly Father in prayer.  Share your burdens. Offer words of gratitude for every single blessing in your life. Counting my blessings is a great way to overcome my struggles because it reminds me that I have far more to be thankful for than I have to complain about.  If you need some gratitude prompts, complete with a printable, visit Gratitude from A to Z: Things to be Thankful for.

Am I living up to my full potential?

Are you living a useful life?  There’s more to life than happiness. You must be useful as well. In my post, How to Live Your Best Useful Life, I wrote that being useful means, being present with your family, nurturing your relationships, raising your children to love the Lord and to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Being useful is giving back, making use of your time, challenging yourself and finding joy in your life. Basically, you need to make an effort in everything that you do. 

So often we think that we have to do this or that before we can be happy.  Not true, my friend. If you want to know how to enjoy life, simply make the decision.  Change the channel! For some great ideas to guide you, visit 35 Simple Daily Habits for Happiness in Life.  

God saved me for a purpose.  He saved my soul and He saved my life, when I was knocking on death’s door with my illness.  I believe my purpose is to use my illness and amputations to inspire others. My calling is to use this blog as my witness to share God’s love and my faith. I want you to know that through the love of Jesus, you too can get through the fiery darts of the devil and the everyday struggles of life.

You, too, can learn how to enjoy life when the struggle is real.  I saw a quote recently that sums this whole post up in just a few words. It says, “Of course I struggle, I just don’t quit!”  This is a great motto for me. What about you? Are you willing to fight to enjoy your life? What struggles are real in your life?  In what ways have you learned how to enjoy life when the struggle is real? love wendy, logo signature

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6 Comments

  1. Great points on how to live life when the struggle is real Wendy. Your optimistic attitude in ALL you do amazes me. Like you said we take things for granted. Like you, myself I took my hearing for granted and didn’t realize I was doing so until I had the massive fluid backup that started my hearing loss. You are such an inspiration and encourager for all of us. Another great post!

    1. Thanks so much, Angie. You know, in spite of all of my reminders not to take things for granted, your comment made me realize how much more I still take for granted. We are blessed every single day by our wonderful maker.

  2. “How to enjoy life when the struggle is real” is an awesome title! Everyone goes through struggles and often you have to push yourself to embrace the good. Very encouraging post!

    1. You’re right, Heather. It’s often difficult to overcome the battles we face in life. But with a little effort and a positive mindset, we can do it!

  3. I am honored you chose to include my blog post in this powerful piece. Too often, we look at our challenging circumstances and get stuck, when God wants us to take one step toward our destiny. Your statement, “What you tend to focus on expands”, is so true. It gets bigger and bigger as we watch it. It’s our choice which perspective we enlarge. I needed to be reminded. And your sticky statement, “Bloom through the concrete” has been added to my language portfolio. It’s a vivid word picture, screaming to me to make it happen, even when it’s hard. Blessings to you my sister.

    1. Thanks so much, Calvonia. I was excited when I saw your post. I knew it fit perfectly with mine, so I was happy to share. I wish I could take credit, for “bloom through the concrete” but I’m sure that I saw it somewhere and it stuck. Attitude is everything. We can persevere with a little mindset change.

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