Problems: Pain or Power?

Friends and relatives are dying. Each day seems to bring more bad news. Floods are ravaging homes and literally wiping away what has taken an entire lifetime to build. Sad, angry, confused, anxious, frustrated…these are all emotions that have been pulsating through my body the past couple weeks.

In the midst of overwhelm I come back to this Bible verse I posted up on the wall. “In nothing be anxious but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
Phillipians 4:6-7

For a moment, I feel a sense of relief and peace. Then life starts up again and I have to keep coming back to this verse.  I give my anxious feelings to God. “God, I cannot handle this alone. Please give me strength and courage.” I remind myself I am not in control. “God, I don’t understand what is happening or what your plan is, but I trust you.”
I request His peace and presence. “God, please provide peace and comfort to those who are hurting and suffering. Help them feel your grace and mercy.” I ask for the lessons.  “Please open my eyes and my heart to learn the lessons you are providing me.”

God knows as I say the words sometimes I don’t feel them in my heart. I’m trying, but the hurt and fear overwhelm me. I say the words anyway, and I keep reading the verse. I keep coming back to God because I choose transformation. I choose to evolve through pain and suffering. To change for the better, so that the suffering isn’t for nothing. I can’t stop it. Choices I make generate new problems. I accept the problems, deal with them and move forward.

I could blame God, others, the system, or the world. Blame requires me to give up my ability to do something about my problems. I would be forced to live in excuses and missed opportunities. I would become a victim. I would never live up to my potential. No. I will take responsibility no matter what. Accepting responsibility for my problems will solve them. Something may be to blame, something may have happened I can’t control, but what comes next I will take responsibility for.

Mindset matters in the face of adversity. Do you see things as an opportunity or a roadblock? Give purpose to your problems. What can you learn? Stay in the moment. Maintain control. Don’t let the situation control you. What are you thinking? How are you responding? Don’t forget E+R=O (Event+Response=Outcome)
You can choose to find pain in your problems, or you can choose to find power in them.

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I listened to a powerful episode this week on John O’Leary’s “Live Inspired” podcast where he had Michele Cushatt as his guest and they discussed Making Peace with the Unexpected. She gave the following tips on how to heal after trauma that I found useful as I wrestle with my problems and feelings:

  1. Make a list and grieve.
  2. Acknowledge what you lost + what opportunities you have as a direct result of your loss.
  3. Healing is not done in isolation. Get emotional health and wholeness with help from a counselor, pastor or someone in that space. Find people who would want you to step in and do life with them.
  4. Hope is critical. Michele reminds herself daily that no matter what happens today, it can only get better from here.

Sometimes as humans, we need to be knocked down to be made whole. We need a wake up call, or something to force us to evolve. We also need a person to help us get back up. If you are reading this and need a person, I am here for you. Call, text, or email me any time. Or you can contact me anonymously via the Honor Box on my page. Share your problems. I will pray for you and give them to God. I will send light, love, and encouragement your way. If you see me on the street and you need a hug, stop me. I love hugs, and it would make my day.

Peace, comfort, and love to you in these difficult times my friend. You can do this. You are enough, and the possibilities are endless.

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