Lesson 5 – No matter how tough life is, get up and get out there – life is waiting
While it’s taken me a long time to learn some of life’s valuable lessons – I must be a slow learner – the older I become, the more I tend to step back and evaluate each challenging and difficult situation that comes along. While I rarely go looking for hardships, I find my happy and peaceful existence is periodically invaded by some pretty hairy ‘challenges.’ There have, in fact, been times when I have felt totally overwhelmed by tough times that seem to go on and on.
Most of us can withstand some pretty tough challenges in life, but sometimes hard times go beyond what you would expect the average person could cope with. In times like these it can feel like life is kicking you while you’re down – when one difficulty piles on top of another, and another, to the point where you feel you can’t go on. You feel like you could just give up because it is simply too hard…
Keys to making it through the hard times
Key 1 – Tough times don’t last, but tough people do
I’ve reached the point of wanting to ‘throw in the towel’ a couple of times in my life, but when I have, I also found that I couldn’t just give up! I have a faith and hope in God, I believe the Bible to be God’s holy Word and I’ve found that every time I’ve thought of giving up, God has spoken to me through the Bible, my thoughts or another person and given me the hope and strength to go on. Every time, over time my situation has improved and the tough times gave way to better times. God has a plan and purpose for each one of us and has placed us on the earth, at this time and in this place, for a purpose. We can’t just give up! We need to shine light and hope in a world that needs God more than anything else. We can say we have faith and trust God, but the only time we get to prove this is by trusting God and keeping our eyes on him in the midst of our difficulties. Faith is never tested in easy times and we won’t grow if we are never challenged.
The Bible says in Hebrews 12:7-11 “Endure hardship as discipline: God is treating you as sons… it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” When I realize that God allows tough times to help me to grow and become a better person, I can look for the lessons it can teach me (I have certainly become a lot more compassionate to the hardships others face through my own struggles).
Key 2 – you only need to take one step at a time
I have found that a problem can seem huge and overwhelming if I try to tackle the whole thing in one go, rather than breaking it up into smaller steps. If we are going through the ringer, instead of worrying about how we will make it through the next few weeks or months, focus on making it through today – even the next hour or minute, and then the next and so forth. The Bible tells us: “Don’t worry about tomorrow, today has enough worries of its own.” I find that I have endured some very difficult times by focusing on just one step or one day at a time, and before I knew it, I’d made it and it was over.
Key 3 – step back, pray, and trust God
Rather than panicking, I find that taking a step back helps you to remove yourself from the emotions and pressure of the situation and gives you time to gain a better perspective and clearer understanding of just what is going on. Then, if you are a believer, seek God: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… so that you do not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3). God always helps us and gives us strength and hope when we seek him in the midst of our struggles.
Key 4 – Success is more about attitude than aptitude – never, ever give up!
The reason some people can keep smiling in spite of the hardships usually boils down to attitude. Numerous studies have shown that when we have an attitude of negativity and defeat, we will not cope as well as people who have a positive and cheerful attitude to life and its challenges. If we focus on the negatives it will drag us down. Instead of allowing ourselves to go down in hard times, we have the power to choose to look at the positives and focus on being thankful for these.
My stress management book gives a number of proven strategies for changing your outlook from negative to positive. You can access it by clicking on this link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/298747
Key 5 – If you’re not dead yet – there’s still time to live a wonderful life
I believe in the saying “Where there is life, there is hope!” If you have been through tough times that have left you destitute, most of us have the ability to get up and have another go. Yes, it may take some courage and hard work, it may take some creativity and ingenuity! If you still have the use of your hands and your feet, your mind and your voice, you can have another go. If you are limited in what you can now do, you can still try to make the most of your life, as best you can. When I think about excuses for giving up, I think of people like Nick Vujicic, who hasn’t allowed the fact that he was born without arm or legs to stop him doing anything. Link: Nick Vujicic – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tip 1: If everything has gone bust – you can nearly always start again
Tip 2: If life has given you lemons – make lemonade!
Tip 3: Don’t waste time holding grudges – it’ll hurt you more than them, in the end
That’s it for now, until next time enjoy your wonderful life, take time for the people who matter most and keep on growing and moving onward and upward.