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Overcoming Challenges

How to Persevere in Spite of Challenges

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Perseverance!  What is it and how can we use it in our lives?  Many of us have been known to persevere in spite of the challenges that we face in our lives.  So let’s take a look at the topic to find out how to persevere, the characteristics of perseverance, benefits of perseverance and some examples of perseverance in life.  In the end, I think you’ll find that you’ll be quite capable of overcoming your struggles with some of the ideas I present.

Merriam-Webster.com defines perseverance as continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. In this post, I’m not talking about succeeding at winning the lottery or those types of goals, but rather persevering despite physical disabilities and tragic life experiences.

How to persevere in 10 steps

Let’s start with some ideas of how to persevere when you have difficulties, overwhelming challenges or opposition in your life.  We all face struggles, but to overcome the major events in your life, I believe that you need a very specific plan. You don’t just succeed without a bit of effort.  I’ve found 10 steps that will help you in your quest to learn how to persevere in the face of obstacles.

    1. First, you need to set some goals and make a plan.  Do you have a clear vision of what you’re working towards?  I didn’t wake up in the hospital one day after my amputations and say, “I wonder if I’ll ever walk or have a normal life again.”  I knew that I would walk and have a normal life, but at that point I wasn’t quite sure how it all was going to happen. So with the assistance of my family, doctors, my prosthetist and a lot of prayer,  we put together some goals and an action plan. With those steps in place, I had a vision and I could take the steps I needed to reach my goals and I could learn how to persevere in the face of my newborn challenges.
    2. Prepare for challenges and plan for setbacks.  Challenges make you stronger. I always refer to tribulations in my life as a refining fire.  Gold is refined by fire and chemicals to remove imperfections and impurities. In the same way, God allows trials and tribulations in our lives to do the same thing.  These trials will bring us closer to Him. Remember to be flexible, though. If something doesn’t work, then you must adapt, regroup or change direction.
    3. Celebrate your success!  As you’re working to overcome your struggles and you’re learning how to persevere,  remember that it’s a process. Celebrate your baby steps along the way.
    4. Overcome negative thinking and encourage yourself.  Stay positive! Negative self-talk hinders your progress.  Faith will take you a long way. I believe that in my situation, it was God’s will that I would help others by persevering in my struggles.  My job, so-to-speak was to fight the battles of resistance so others could learn from me and grow through their own challenges. That positive thought process motivated me to get to where I am today, which is providing a witness to my community of followers.
    5. Learn from your mistakes. What have you done that can provide a lesson to redirect your path?  A perfect example is the process of getting prosthetic legs. When I first got them, we learned where my pressure points were, my prosthetist corrected that and they became more comfortable.   The more I wear them, the more I find where I need adjustments. We adjust and I move on. You must do the same thing as you go through your trials. Recognize where you need to make changes and press on.pink flower, gray background, how to persevere
    6. Learn how to deal with discouragement.  If you focus on your end goal, you won’t get so frustrated during discouraging times. Remember your vision!  Find ways to overcome your discouragement by reading books, watching Ted talks or YouTube videos, listening to podcasts for inspiration and find stories of others who have overcome.
    7. Find inspiration through others who have set great examples.  I have found books to be a great resource. For some great recommendations check out 10 Fabulous Books on Hope and Inspiration.
    8. Focus on what you can control!   I will never have hands, and prosthetic hands never seemed to work well for me, so I go without.  That’s obviously something that I cannot control so I have learned to adapt to living without them.  I have had to create tools to help me do things, I’ve had to ask for help or I simply must go without.  There’s no point in having a pity party. Again I must adjust, adapt and work with what I have. Also, don’t let things like social media and other distractions get in the way. Focus on how to  persevere and overcome your obstacles.Perseverance! What is it and how can we use it in our lives? Click To Tweet
    9. You need a great support system.  You never want to go through your trials alone.  Rally your family and friends to support you. They will love you, encourage you, cheer you on and pray for you during the hard times.  Let them! Don’t push them away because you’ll need all the help you can get.
    10. Above all, don’t quit! I love this poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. I have it on a bookmark hanging in my office.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.

Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man;

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup,

And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are –

It may be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

– by John Greenleaf Whittier

How to Persevere:  Characteristics of perseverance

What causes some people to thrive and succeed in times of struggle or failure?  They have specific characteristics of perseverance that enable them to fight their battles and come out on the other side as victors.

    • Focus on your purpose and find meaning in your goal.  Have that belief of 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.”
    • Have a desire to succeed. Failure is not an option.
    • Believe that you can achieve your goal.
    • Positive self-talk will get you so much farther than negative talk will.  Remember the Little Engine That Could? “I think I can, I think I can.”  Positive thinking is a wonderful characteristic of perseverance.
    • You have got to have faith. Hebrews 11:1 KJV “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
    • Have a specific plan.  You won’t just accidentally get there.  Make yourself a road map.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Ask for help from anybody, whether it’s spiritually, physically or emotionally. That’s what a support network is for.What causes some people to thrive and succeed in times of struggle or failure? They have specific characteristics of perseverance that enable them to fight their battles and come out on the other side as victors. Click To Tweet
    • Grit will get you far.  Grit means strength of character.  It also means bravery, pluck or mettle according to Lexico.
    • Courage!  The Cowardly Lion needed courage and so do you!
    • Follow through on what you say you’re going to do.  If you make a commitment, then see it through to the end.
    • You need resilience!  That means you recover quickly from setbacks.  Bounce back from the down times and don’t let them discourage you or make you quit.
    • You have to have a sense of humor.  If I couldn’t laugh at my situation, I would be crying all the time.  I’m the first one to laugh when my leg falls down the hill at a football game. For more amputee fun, check out Amputee Humor:  Laughing behind the Scenes.
    • Lastly, it’s important to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  We are so blessed in this life. Yes, I’m blessed with no hands and no feet because it’s made me a better person.  I have grown as a Christian because of my illness and amputations. In fact, I wrote a blog post called How to Grow Your Faith in God that you might enjoy.  I have created my blog and met some wonderful friends in the blogging community.  My family has grown through perseverance, and the list goes on and on. Let me remind you to always find the blessings in your struggles.

Benefits of perseverance

Basically, perseverance means that you’re committed to reaching your goal.  It means that you’re willing to overcome whatever obstacles are in your way to reach the finish line of the race you’re running.  Perseverance means pushing through and finding the silver linings in all of the rain clouds. By choosing to press on despite difficult circumstances, we become stronger.  We become more confident in our faith. The benefits of perseverance are also found in the 10 steps of how to persevere that I mentioned above as well as in the characteristics of perseverance. There’s a blessing in each step and each characteristic.   Perseverance means finding those blessings.

I recently wrote an ebook called Victory Over Affliction:  30 Mindset Challenges to Motivate You.  It’s a great 30-day devotional on overcoming your challenges and offers some great examples of perseverance in life.  I use my own story as a quadruple amputee as an example of pushing through to successfully overcome whatever obstacles are in your way.  Make sure you check it out.

Victory Over Affliction framed by flowers

Examples of perseverance in life

Initially when I was thinking of examples of perseverance in life,  I was going to mention famous people like Helen Keller and Bible examples like Job and Joseph, who are all great examples of perseverance in life.  But then I started to think about inspiring people that I know who are willing to share their stories of perseverance in their own lives.

Angie from Resounding His Love has overcome loss, abuse and many trials in her life.  You can read about any of those things by checking out her blog in the link provided.  Resounding His Love is a blog about finding hope and healing through God’s grace.

Erin from Lullaby Lark spent 2 months with her son in the NICU unit of several hospitals after he was born.  She openly shares her story and has a passion for helping discouraged special needs moms find hope and healing in Jesus.

Tiffany from Hope Joy in Christ has a blog which is a place where busy Christian women find help to grow in faith, Biblical marriage advice and Christian parenting tips.  She’s no stranger to perseverance as she’s lived through marital challenges, health issues and is raising a child with Autism. I hope you’ll take the time to visit all three of these blogs.  They will show you examples of perseverance in life in many different types of struggles.

I hope you’ve learned some great tips on how to persevere,  the characteristics of perseverance, benefits of perseverance and some examples of perseverance in life.  Please take these thoughts and PUSH your way through the challenges that you’re currently facing to reach a place where you can look back and see the blessings.  Even better, acknowledge the blessings as they’re happening.

Take what you’ve learned to inspire others. You don’t realize what an impression you make when you tell your story.  In fact, here is an incredible post that stresses how much your story matters. It’s called 7 Reasons You Should Share Your Story.  I hope you’ll check it out.

Please leave your stories of perseverance in the comments below.  If I can encourage you, support you or pray for you in any way, just let me know.How to Persevere in Spite of Challenges 1


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22 Comments

  1. How to persevere in 10 steps is spot on Wendy. Testimonies of overcoming and perseverance is something I love to read because it’s inspiring and there is so negativity in the world today we need the positivity you always display! Thank you, Wendy, you have a gift to help others who need the motivation you share

    1. Thanks, Angie. I’m so glad you found How to Persevere inspiring. I think we just have to keep on pushing through in spite of whatever difficulties lie ahead.

  2. Wendy, great tips to persevere and the benefits that are ours when we do. I think my favorite is to “focus on what you can control.” Like with many things, I have learned this particular lesson the hard way. When I take my focus off the things I can not control, it changes my action plan and my perspective!

    1. So true, Karen. When you lose the focus of what you can control, things can get out of hand right away. God has total control. We have to trust Him the most.

  3. There’s nothing I love more than testimonies of overcoming and perseverance. Thank you, Wendy, because that is your ministry to the world as you share your own inspiration and that of others. So greatly appreciated!

    1. Thank you, Pam. Yes, only through God’s good grace was I healed and He gave me the strength and faith to persevere. I’m so thankful.

  4. This is such an amazing post Wendy! You are such an incredible inspiration to us all. Knowing the challenges that you have survived with Jesus’ help, the reader knows they can trust your guidance when you show them how to persevere, because you’ve completely walked out the journey yourself and are such a light on the other side. God is using you in a mighty way to make a difference for His Kingdom!

    1. Thank you so much, Donna. It’s absolutely only through the grace of God that I was able to persevere and overcome my challenges. He has truly blessed me with strength of will and a wonderful support system. Thank God!

  5. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes our challenges become obstacles but I see your post as an opportunity to refocus on challenges as opportunities.

  6. Hi Wendy, thank you for such an inspiring post on persevering despite the challenges we may face. And for also emphasizing the importance of persevering.

    It reminds me of Romans 5:3-4 which says “not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

    1. Yes, Carey, you’re so right. Thank you for that reminder. Perseverance does produce hope which I, for one, desperately need.

  7. I enjoyed reading the tips on how to persevere and I enjoyed how you used examples. When it comes to perseverance I had to keep going after my father died of cancer when I was 10 years old. After my father passed away I had to learn how to grow up and that experience taught me that I need to live in the moment.

    1. Wow, Jessica! What a tough thing for a 10-yeard old to have to go through. Perseverance is so necessary, especially during a tough trial like that. Great job!

  8. Perseverance is not a quality often discussed, but should be! Thank you so much for sharing this post – it’s packed with helpful truths. ❤️

  9. This is such a thorough post and it really is encouraging. I love that you share your story and also stories of others who persevered. It is something I focus on all the time with my 4th grade class every year.

  10. Oh I am so honored that you would include my article here my friend.
    Yes grit and character and never giving up are paramount to clinging to God when the world screams to let go and give in. You are a beautiful woman with an incredible story and I know God is using you for mighty works in His kingdom! Have a beautiful day!

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