- (of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
- (of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. synonyms: strong, tough, durable, stout, flexible, pliable
Life is hard. Life isn’t fair. This sucks. It’s not my fault. Why did this happen to me?
Have you ever felt that way? Trust me I’ve been there, but there is a few things I believe to be true: 1. God loves us, 2. He loves us when times are good, and 3. He loves us when times are bad. The moment Adam and Eve ate that apple, heaven on earth was no more. From the Old Testament to New Testament, throughout history and in the future – bad things have happened and are still going to happen. However, if we have a plan for when adversity strikes, we can walk side by side with HIM and come out the other side better, stronger, and smarter than before.
The further you stretch a rubber band, the further it will go. We as people are not much different. During challenging times, there’s tension, struggle, and added pressure; but if you can withstand that period of change and turbulence, there’s no telling how far you can reach. But, just like pulling a rubber band back, we must be careful not to stretch so far that we break. There’s a fine balance between being pushed to the limit versus blindly going so far you snap. When you are going through times when you are pushed to the brink, know that you are never alone; you are loved; you are not defined by failure, and you will overcome.
So here’s the thing, if we fully understand that failure and challenges are going to come throughout our life, but we build for it, have a plan of attack when it comes, and we execute sound strategies and techniques – we will be properly equipped to learn much deeper, grow higher, and be able to bounce back much faster. With the perspective of GRACE, TRUST, FOCUS, and HOPE, obstacles can be used as building blocks, not road blocks in our life.
In order to move forward, you must forgive. Have grace for yourself when you fail, and forgive those who have done you wrong. Mark 11:25 says, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you.” Letting go of negative emotions and being intentional with your feelings will bring healing much faster. Grace is not condoning, excusing, or pardoning wrongful behavior. Research though as shown that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentment.
A model in trusting God’s plan was Joseph (not Mary’s husband…though he was a trusting man marrying a pregnant virgin). The Old Testament Joseph was abandoned by his brothers, sold to slavery, was wrongfully sent to jail, and put through a 7 year famine. However, each step of the way, God improved Joseph’s position, finally making him second in command in all of Egypt, being Pharaoh’s right-hand man. Joseph trusted in God’s plan and never played the victim card and he was handsomely rewarded.
I’ve tried to apply this trust even at work. Being in sales, I hear no all the time. I’ll visit an account and I’m not allowed access; or the key person I wanted to talk to wasn’t there; or the main decision maker is just not interested. When moments like this happen, I tell myself, “This happened for a reason. I believe that there’s something better around the corner. I was told no, because the next account on my schedule needs me more right now and this timing needed to happen…because of this there is something BETTER out there for me.”
Let me just say that I understand that there are way more serious tragedies we face than this example, but no matter the hardship (loss, health issues, etc.), if we trust and believe that somehow our adversities will be used for GOOD; and that what we are going through and feeling is a SEASON, and will not last forever; we can GET THROUGH anything.
Once we approach hardships with trust, then we can start to work on the day to daytactical approaches to get through:
1. The first step is to remember to focus on what you have and be grateful. Dwelling on the past, your failures, or obsessing on your current hardship will get you know where. Practicing positive thinking and being aware when negative thoughts are flooding your mind, you need to be able to “reset” and get your thoughts back on the right track.
2. Talk to a friend or loved one. This is where your network of support comes in. Remember, you are not alone. We are all in this game of life together.
3. The last step is to create a few goals that will help you get back on track. Think about what you need to get done to feel better or achieve your goal – write it down. By focusing on these positive things you need to do, you can use your energy to complete the necessary tasks to get you back where you need to go…one day at a time. Channel your emotions and energy for productive purposes instead of self destructive thoughts and actions.
H.O.P.E. stand for: Hold On, Pain Ends. You are not defined by your failure. Don’t ever let a mistake or traumatic life event define who you are. If you feel you are being judged by another person or my multiple people, just know that opinions are not facts. Do not give other people that power. You have the power to control how you view yourself…and that personal self image should be a positive one. The most important day is not yesterday, but the next day. Believe that the BEST IS YET TO COME. The antidote to fear is hope. Believe that God is in control, He’s got your back and you will come out of this better than before. Utilize these experiences to learn and grow personally…YOU GOT THIS!
In order for an egg to hatch and a chick to survive, there must be struggle. In order for a diamond to form, there must be intense pressure and heat. In order for us to grow and learn, we must overcome adversity and challenges. When we have grace, trust, are focused, and live each day with hope, we can approach these trials from a different perspective – an opportunity to learn, improve, and be better than we were before. Nobody tries to fail, but when it happens, we must never quit. See below how my boy Abe used his failures as stepping stones for future success.
Check this video out of one of my all-time favorite characters – Rocky. This is a very inspiring video…please watch! Be blessed and enjoy the rest of the week!