I try to approach life with a “can-do” kind of attitude. If a task is new or unfamiliar, I will do everything I can to learn how to complete it, and once I’ve mastered it, will try to find if there is a more productive way to complete it. If a problem needs solved, my mind will start working through things at once. No obstacle is too great, and there is always a way.
But what happens when there is not?
What happens when you can’t move what is in front of you, or see a way around it? What if you don’t know how to win, or it seems like you already lost? What do you do when the struggle is real?
Recently, I’ve found myself in this place. I had come head to head with the same wall over and over it seemed, and this time, I couldn’t win. Discouragement started to settle in my spirit, and then all the “what-if’s” started to plague my mind. Somewhere between all the “what-if’s” and discouragement, I looked up and caught a glimpse of hope. I reached out to my team, humbled by my lack of self-sufficiency and needing to ask for help. I told them about the situation I was in and asked them to pray. Being task-oriented and a problem-solver, it was humbling to admit that I couldn’t handle my situation on my own, but my team so graciously came behind me and supported me, and encouraged my spirit so much.
With that, the “what-if’s” dissipated and I was able to once again focus on what I needed to be doing instead of being distracted by my situation.
You know those moments? The ones we don’t plan that can creep in at the most inopportune times and drag you down?
Maybe it is a loss of a family member or job. Perhaps it is a diagnosis. Still, it could be an argument with a friend, or even something seemingly as trivial as eating that cookie with lunch when you told yourself you were going to eat healthier. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in those moments that can distract us and take our eyes off Jesus. We become discouraged and the “what-if’s” start.
What if….I can’t find a good job?
What if….I can’t make it through this illness. What will I miss?
What if….we can’t get over this argument and I lose my friend?
What if….I keep failing like this, will I ever lose this weight or get healthy?
What if….what if….what if…
And the next thing we know, we are living in an alternate reality centered around that one failure, that one person, that one argument, that one diagnosis…and that one thing becomes THE thing our life is centered around, and our thoughts are soon enslaved to it. It can give you no hope, so focusing on it can drive you deeper and deeper into discouragement, and make you blind to the hope that is right in front of you.
Look up, friend.
Just as in the middle of my mess, my team, helped me to put my eyes back on Jesus. They encouraged me, and the “what-if’s” weren’t so important anymore. I certainly didn’t plan to be where I was, but my team reminded me that I wasn’t alone, and they helped me to focus my eyes again on Jesus. In light of that, I began to see my situation differently. Instead of being discouraged, I found a gift. It wasn’t a picture-perfect scenario that I had envisioned come true, but instead, it was a deeper understanding of the grace I walk in with each step I take. It was a constant awareness of Jesus and my need for Him. In recognizing this gift, it changed everything for me. Instead of being discouraged in my circumstances, I was encouraged by the reminder of who God is in it.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
I want to challenge you this week,
- Identify the situation you have found yourself in where you need hope or encouragement.
- Find a trusted friend who can encourage you where you are, and help remind you that you are not alone in your situation, and then help you fix your eyes on Jesus.
- Find the gift in your situation. It is the journey, not the destination. The gift you are looking for may not be the solution to your situation, but it will be a reminder of the hope you have. There is nothing that can separate you from the love of Christ, and so, there is nothing that you will ever have to face alone, and there is nothing that you and Jesus can’t face together.
Sometimes, the struggle is real. But remember, so is our Savior.