“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” ~Charles Swindoll
I started a new series: Learning to Love Mud. This series developed from lessons learned and success strategies developed during a challenging 2014. In my first post I stated:
In this series, I’m training on how to develop the capacity to deal with the mud, so you can experience the benefits rain. If you didn’t get a chance to read the first post, click here.
This week’s lesson:
Challenges are DESIGNED to increase your capacity for MAXIMIZED living, learn how to use them to your advantage.
Here are three ways to develop the capacity to handle challenges and use them to your advantage:
1. Shift Your Focus
When I found out my 19 year old was pregnant. It was one of the hardest times in my life. She told me as I was dropping her off to work. After she left the car, I immediately lifted my hands, tears, and broken heart to worship God. There is an old hymn that says…
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
look full in his wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.
In that moment, I needed His grace more than ever. I know every one reading isn’t a Christian, but there must be something greater than your circumstance where you shift your focus. For me, it’s Christ.
Did the pain go away? Not immediately, but shifting my focus allowed me respond with love and compassion. It helped me increase my capacity to grow closer to God, develop training materials, and ultimately develop a better relationship with my daughter. This was designed to bring the BEST out of me!
Shifting your focus is something you practice until it becomes routine. I practice by spending time regularly with Christ, so I can always look up when looking around is tough or painful. Where are you shifting your focus?
2. Create A Pearl
There are two types of pearls, natural and cultured. They both develop the same way. An intruder, like a grain of sand, slips between the oyster’s shell. The oyster quickly begins covering the intruder with a substance, to protect itself from the irritation, until the gem is formed.
The only difference between a natural and cultured pearl, is the way the intruder enters the shell. With a natural pearl, the intruder enters by circumstance. With a cultured pearl, a pearl farmer embeds the intruder in the shell.
Sometimes circumstances beyond our control, like a child’s pregnancy, unexpected job loss, or sickness, enters our lives. Then, there are times when challenges are self-embedded. Either way, a pearl can be formed.
When faced with tough situations, ask yourself…
“What good is resulting from that which intended to hurt me?”
Then begin to create a pearl. Did you pursue your passion when you lost your job? Did you manage money better when your finances decreased? Did you start that ministry as a result of the pain you experienced? Each layer of hardship, consequence or suffering helps you create the the most beautiful gem from which you and others benefit.
3. Suffer Well
I know this is an oxymoron, but it’s crucial when dealing with challenges. What does it mean?
- Stop whining and complaining
- Stop turning to other things to soothe the pain (i.e. food, people, alcohol)
- Stop BLAMING others for your response to the situation. Your response is your choice.
- Stop giving yourself excuses to exhibit uncontrolled emotions
- Stop running to people just to get them to attend your pity party.
Put your big girl panties or big boy britches on and face the challenge with the grace, strength and courage God gave you. It is tough? YEP! But you’re built for toughness. Stop playing yourself down. Rise up and suffer well!
If you want to live an amazingly successful year, these strategies will help. I guarantee you will see more success in your personal life, business, and ministry.
Question: What are some strategies you use to successfully handle challenges?