It’s inevitable that we’re going to face tough times in our lives. The most important thing about walking through these difficult times is how we approach them.
Pain & Suffering are Part of Life
A very common response for most when a trial hits is to immediately question why God would allow it to happen. The reality is, pain & suffering are a part of life. Even if you don’t share my worldview you would probably agree that everyone goes through difficult times at some point in their lives.
If allowed, pain and suffering can help us grow to become a better and stronger person. Sometimes pain and suffering can lead us into a deeper relationship with God.
For what it’s worth, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.
You Need to Protect Your Mind
Don’t allow your mind to spiral into the negative, I know it’s so easy to go there. When things are hard and pressing in you might feel as if everything is going wrong. If you’re not careful your negative thoughts can lead straight into hopelessness and you’ll start thinking that your situation will never change.
Don’t let your hard times make you feel hopeless and certainly don’t let negativity control you. Most importantly don’t let bitterness take root in your heart. Bitterness leads to anger and nothing good ever comes out of bitterness.
You must work hard to guard your heart and mind. Take every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
Keep Your Problems in Perspective & Just Do The Next Thing
Don’t blow your problems out of perspective. Don’t let your “molehill turn into a mountain”. It’s easy to allow our problems to grow in size and get blown all out of proportion.
Sometimes because we allow our problems to get too big we grow fearful and become paralyzed from making decisions or from moving forward to make changes that will help our situation.
Be careful not to let fear stop you from doing what you need to do. Acknowledge your fear and deal with it.
Focus on your goals, focus on your daily tasks and just do the next thing. It’s ok if you can’t focus on anything beyond that. Once you’ve completed that one thing then attempt to do the very next thing.
Believe Your Experience is Making You Stronger
Experience is one of the most valuable commodities you own. No one else has the same experiences as you, they are what makes you, you. Your experience builds strength in you and new experiences help you to grow.
Some experiences may be painful but you have the power to turn your wounds into wisdom and eventually you can help others who may go through something similar.
Your experience can help you face the future with more confidence as you think about how much you’ve grown.
Your Attitude Does Not Need to Be Controlled by Your Circumstance
You can have joy even if your world feels like it’s falling apart. You can have a smile on your face even when you don’t feel like it. I’ve seen some of the most wonderful examples of people who have gone through horrible tragedies and yet somehow still managed to praise God through it.
A Bible verse that kept me focused during difficult times is Nehemiah 8:10, it ends with “the Joy of the Lord is Your Strength.” Read that again, The JOY of the LORD is your strength.
The Lord’s joy is your strength. His joy gives you the strength you need and is what will get you through.
You are Where You’re Supposed to Be in Order to Get to Where You Need to Go
Look at your life and identify all the little blessings you have and how they add up to great big blessings.
If your circumstances seem hopeless choose to recognize them as a tool to get you to where you need to go next.
I know you won’t feel this way when you’re going through it but if you’re a child of God, He promises to use all your circumstances for your good, even the bad ones. Romans 8:28
Choose to Be Thankful
Being positive in a negative situation is a sign of leadership and strength. When you’re overwhelmed and want to complain choose to smile and be thankful. It will make you feel better to smile even if it doesn’t change your circumstances.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The definition of patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. It’s the willingness to stay focused as you move ahead one step at a time.
God is working a greater work in you and that takes time but as we wait patiently God promises to bless us.
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:4
You’re Not Alone
Finally, everyone is struggling with something but not everyone is brave enough to talk about it. You really need to know that you are not alone!
Not only do you have the Lord to help you but more than likely you have friends and family who can be there for you. I know that some of you don’t and I’m sure that’s very painful. Pray that God brings healing and relationships. Some have found encouragement in online support groups.