Have you ever had someone in your life that was dealing with problems and you prayed for them, you counseled them, you helped them and then life took you away from each other for a while only to reconnect later and you find that person was still dealing with the same stuff? (Whew… that was a mouthful.)
Everyone faces tragedies, trials, and obstacles in life. That’s just part of life. No one ever promised life would be easy. And the fact is, life’s heartaches are often opportunities where we can learn and grow the most. The problem is they stayed in the ditch spinning and spinning their wheels. They never put it in four-wheel drive and got out of the ditch. Or maybe they stayed on that front porch in that rocking chair rocking up a storm but never getting anywhere. Lots of aimless motion, without purpose, without growing spiritually.
When we have lost our direction, if we never really understood our direction, or if we never had a clear goal for which we were striving, then it is likely that our actions have become merely aimless motion, without purpose, and we are not growing spiritually. Christians of all levels of spiritual maturity should never be content with things as they are, but we should all be “straining forward to what lies ahead” (Phil 3:13) and should be ever striving to “excel still more” (1st Thess 4:1).
There are three ways to “put it in four-wheel drive” or to “get up out of the rocking chair”.
1. Avoid Wallowing in Self-Pity
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2-3
The way you choose to respond to life’s tragedies will determine whether you develop the attitude of a survivor or a victim. You can choose to think and behave in a productive manner, even when you feel pain and sorrow. So often, people waste time feeling sorry for themselves when they encounter a problem. They spend precious minutes of their lives complaining to others about how bad things are. Each minute they waste complaining and wallowing is a minute that they could have spent healing and increasing their faith. Choosing to wallow in self-pity will only make you remain stuck. Feelings of self-pity will hold you back from making healthy choices. Time wont’ heal anything, if you choose to allow yourself to wallow in self-pity. You’ll just feel worse as more time passes.
2. Choose to Overcome Obstacles
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Behaving in a productive manner will reduce your feelings of self-pity. It will help you find strength. Just because you feel pity for yourself, doesn’t mean you have to behave in a pitiful manner. When you experience problems and adversity, it’s up to you to decide how you want to respond. You can choose to allow it to define you, or you can choose to make it a defining moment.
3. Choose Your Attitude
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:31-34
There are plenty of things in life that aren’t within your control. You can’t control other people, certain health problems, or how the world around you operates. You can however, always choose your attitude. Choosing to go through life with a positive attitude and a desire to be a survivor rather than a victim is up to you. No matter how bad things are, you always have choices. You can choose to get back up when life pushes you down, even if you don’t feel like.
You were put on this earth because you’re strong enough to live it. Don’t waste time wishing things were different or insisting that life isn’t fair. Life was meant to be lived, no matter what circumstances you encounter. Make a conscious choice to live a life that’s worth living.
“And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48