How to overcome challenges in life with faith, joy and purpose. Everyday life can be hard, but especially when difficult, challenging storms arise, how are we going to respond? Keep reading for encouragement and practical tips in challenging seasons.
If there was no Sauron, Frodo taking the ring to Mordor would have been a vacation.
If there was no white whale Moby Dick is a pleasure cruise or a very boring fishing trip.
If there is no Empire, Luke Skywalker spends the rest of his life in the family business, which was basically the space-world equivalent of watching grass grow.
My own journey to chasing vibrance was sparked by challenges and changes in our life. Our family situation became really challenging when our plan of 2-3 year spacing between children was changed and God blessed us with a “surprise” baby.
When you are STILL not sleeping through the night because of baby #2 getting excited about baby #3 was hard. On top of that I was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes early in my pregnancy which was daily pokes (by someone who hates needles!) and limited carbs (please do NOT tell a pregnant lady what to eat!). My husbands job was challenging with long hours and conflicts that led to us feeling confused, hurt, and unsafe in our current situation.
Ya’ll it was challenging.
When life gets challenging and full of changes you can curl in a ball and retreat or let the challenges of life call out courage and vibrance in us.
I had to EMBRACE the challenge of 3 kids 3 and under. Did I want to look back on this time with bleary eyes and frustration and just plain TIRED?
Everytime my little surprise baby woke me up in the middle of the night (and he did that 8+ months) I snuggled him close. I told him I cherished him. I knew that it all went fast so I focused on the sweet moments, the honor and privilege to be the one there for him.
I drank a lot of coffee to get through. And I found or created a moment every day that lit me up.
I learned so much in that season I built a whole 4 week course called Vibrant Life Kickstart around it, all about finding joy and living with intention in the mundane, everyday moments!
One of my favorite passages about how to overcome challenges in the Bible is in Matthew 8:23-28.
In the story Jesus is in a boat with his disciples; it’s evening and Jesus falls alseep as they are rowing across the sea. A great wind comes up and the storm is fierce, it threatens to capsize them.
The disciples are FREAKING OUT and rightly so! Finally, they go to Jesus and wake him up begging him to save them!
“And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm.
What you need to KNOW about how to overcome challenges with Jesus in your boat.
You’ve got to KNOW some things about this challenge.
Jesus knows the storm is real. It’s powerful, destructive, deadly even. Jesus never minimized the storm to the disciples and he doesn’t minimize the challenge we are going through.
Jesus is with you in your storm. A parallel chapeter in Mark tells us Jesus was curled up sleeping on a pillow in a little corner of the boat, Literally in their corner. There wasn’t a second of the storm he wasn’t there for. He was THERE.
He was with them as he is with you in your storm of challenge or change.
Jesus wants us to ask for help. In his wisdom, Jesus is present and available but not ACTIVE until the disciples ask him to save them!
There is a humility and dependence that comes from asking for help. Jesus knows we need Him, He just wants to be sure we know it too.
What a pity it would have been to have the scariest storm in the world and Jesus in your corner, but never have come to him with the problem. He wasn’t bothered by their request and he’s not by yours either.
Jesus confronts their fears. Jesus isn’t going to leave you the same. Fear and anxiety are rampant in our society at large and also have such a strong foothold in the church.
And there are some things in life we should be afraid of (like a deadliest storm type of storm!) but I choose to not let the storm win. I choose to let my faith in Jesus win.
Jesus calms the storm. With his breath the waters still.
“…and there was a great calm.”
In the storm, lean into Jesus. He can, He will, and He IS bringing you through your storm into a great calm.
What you need to DO when you’re facing a challenge?
One practice that has helped me immensely when I’m facing a hard and challenging time is to use journaling to release my fears and pray over specific challenges.
First, find some quiet time, alone. Grab your prayer journal and a pen.
Ask yourself: “What challenges and changes am I facing today that feel like too much for me?
Now take the time to list out by hand all of those challenges. Whether this is three lines or three paragraphs or three pages. Fill up your page with your fears, anxieties, doubts– describe in detail your storm.
Next, take a moment to pray over each one, surrendering it to God.
When I do this I pray things like, “God I’m so worried that I’m going to say the wrong thing in this situation and someone’s going to get hurt or upset at me. Give me wisdom to know what to say and when to be quiet. Give me peace. Help me to let go of people pleasing and perfect outcomes. Surround this conversation with your grace. Amen.”
If you know or can find a promise of God in Scripture that addresses that concern, you can also pray the Bible verse over your situation. Praying God’s Word is such a powerful practice!
(You can find many promises of God in my Bible study 30 Days to Claiming the Promises of God and I teach a how to pray these over different situations as well in that study!)
How to overcome challenges? Keep the truth in front of your eyes that Jesus is with you and for you, even in your struggle. Actively surrender your anxieties and control of the situation to God via journaling and prayer. Choose joy and faith in the storm.
May the God who multiplies bread and fish and stills the wild waves infuse courage in you.
May your call to Him be bold and big, for He will meet you in whatever challenge you are facing.