Life has a funny way of happening.
Sometimes it unfolds like a beautiful rose in the springtime. Other times life dumps everything on you at once.
It reminds me of the difference between a gentle rainstorm and a hurricane. You can handle the one while you are praying that the stress of the other doesn’t kill you.
The rain will come either way.
How we handle the storm is what separates us from falling flat on our face and walking in victory.
Right now you may be dealing with something that is worrying you. It could be a sickness in your family, it could be your finances, or it could be an issue at home. The possibilities seem endless.
When it rains it pours. Sometimes you get the feeling that a category 5 hurricane just blew through through your life. Life has a funny way of sucker punching you in the face.
For example, Someone I am close to will be in the hospital for the next 30 days. While they were in the hospital I received some sobering news. It wasn’t something I wanted to hear. I didn’t need to hear it. It was a tough pill to swallow. The news was tough enough that I did not sleep well that night.
Yet, life must go on. It doesn’t stand still because we go through something.
Life doesn’t wait for when we are ready to deal with it.
Life happens and it will keep happening.
Don’t get me wrong. Life happens in some unsavory ways. Yet, life also unfolds in some incredible ways as well.
For example, the birth of a child. What an incredible miracle. You could think about a marriage. Marriages and births are about newness and renewal. It is about beauty and connection.
There are some incredible things happening in the world around us.
Maybe, just maybe, there is a balance in life between trial and triumph.
That those who have the proper tools can change any trial to a triumph. This person could change their misery into their ministry. They could change their test into a testimony.
I think you get the point.
Our trials don’t define us.
It is how we handle them that defines us.
When we handle it correctly we can gain victory!
Even though there are infinite possibilities for trials and tribulations one thing remains constant.
Every situation produces an amount of stress. It is how we manage that stress that will determine how successful we will be at gaining victory over our trial.
I would love to tell you that everything works out for the best. In fact, I would love to tell you that you will sail through this life without incident.
You and I know that isn’t true.
Or is there?
Let me share with you some practical principals that will help you conquer your current trial.
STRATEGIES THAT NAVIGATE THROUGH STRESSFUL SITUATIONS
1. Don’t Overreact
I think the greatest problem that we have is that we react long before we respond.
In fact, many of us are caught in a cycle of reaction and never respond correctly to the situation.
To respond correctly we have to have a level head. We cannot overreact to the situation. To overreact puts us in a place of emotional chaos. The emotional chaos causes us to think unclearly. When we think unclearly we say all sorts of stupid things.
I remember a time when I had the opportunity to respond correctly.
It was after I finished speaking at my church. A gentleman walked up to me and initiated a conversation. He began to tell me everything that he thought was wrong with the message.
Initially, I was upset. I thought who is this guy? Why is he in front of me telling me everything that he thought was wrong? I didn’t understand his intentions. Dealing with insecurity at the time (this was several years back) I started to get offended. This guy who approaches me says he reads his bible every night but didn’t believe in going to school to learn about it.
I thought to myself, “Who does this guy think he is? I spend a lot of money and time going to Bible College. The average amount of time I spent on preparing a message was 10-15 hours. This guy is ridiculous.” I found myself getting all worked up.
I took a breath.
What I said,
“Sir, I appreciate your thoughts. I would appreciate it more if you would go back to the scriptures and study them in light of what you had just heard. As for now, we can agree to disagree.”
He looked at me dumbfounded. This told me he wasn’t looking to come to an agreement. He was looking for a debate. I didn’t give it to him. I smiled and walked off. You know what? I never saw him again.
On the other hand, I cannot say that I have always responded correctly.
If you are married you know that there are numerous opportunities to respond correctly. I remember a time when my wife and I were arguing. The argument wasn’t over anything important. Marital arguments rarely are over anything life changing. After a while of arguing I had enough. I said something stupid. It really hurt her. The entirety of the argument was me overreacting to something.
Had I taken a breath (or two) then I don’t think we would have argued.
Respond don’t react.
Overreaction only leads to hurt, pain. and poor choices.
2. Take in the WHOLE situation
If you follow step one then you can do step 2.
Take a moment to take the whole situation in. What I find is that when we overreact we are emotional to the point that we don’t see what is really going on. When we don’t have all the information we will make unwise decisions. The decisions we make are based on incomplete knowledge and understand of the situation. Thus, leading us to unwise decision-making.
So when life throws lemons at you take a moment and start asking questions. Why is this happening? Who is involved? What is my response? Is this my fault of the consequence of someone else’s decision? Can I change the situation? If I cannot change the current situation can I create a plan so that I have a good outcome? Which resources do I have available to me?
Your goal is to twofold. First, you need a good picture of everything that is happening. Secondly, you need a good picture of your available resources.
When I know the big picture I can set a plan into motion.
Asking questions is the BEST way to figure out what is going on and then decide what the next step you should take.
3. Create the NEXT STEP
You can breathe and access the situation, but you HAVE TO have a plan.
You don’t need the entire plan. Just an end goal and a next step.
Because if I know where I am going then I can continually take logical steps to get there. There is no other way around it. You have to take a step. If you don’t take a step then you will be continually stuck in the same place.
Don’t be paralyzed by the analysis.
There comes a point when you stop thinking so much and start acting on it.
Easy next steps can be as simple as making phone calls to the right people. It could be posting a message to your friends and followers on Social Media.
Step 1 and 2 are critical to step 3. Just don’t get stuck in step 2. At some point you MUST move into action or nothing will ever change.
4. PRAY PRAY PRAY
As you know I am a man of faith. My relationship with Jesus has brought me through a lot of things. I cannot stress enough the power of prayer. There comes a time in your life when you have done everything you can do. At that moment you realize that God is your only solution.
You know how to save a lot of heartaches? You understand that God is our source. If we turn to him first we will see a difference in how we handle a situation. We are more at peace. There is a confidence in our decision-making process.
There is a power in prayer.
Lean on it.
There is no magic pill for our trials. Doing these things won’t magically end your trial or all trials. What it does is put you in a position to push through the trial and into victory.
My heart for you is to have the tool your need to gain VICTORY in your life!
#1. I love it when people share their thoughts.
I am eager to hear how you have navigated through the chaos in your life. Comment below and let me know what you would add to this list! Also, I am looking forward to some stories over how you overcame your issue! I look forward to engaging with you!