If only life could get easier!
If only all things worked the way we wanted them to?
This is only the tip of the heaps of questions that run through our minds whenever we think of dealing with life’s challenges. Rarely do things ever work out the way we want them to (or rather wish them to.) And as Christians, this only gets harder to understand.
How does one live when they are in the midst of challenges. When life or parts of it are so painful and regrettable. Still, we have to be strong, keep faith, and trust in God.
This past year (2020) has been such a roller coaster of challenges upon broken dreams. Grace seems far off even if it’s closer. For university students like myself, life does look bleak, uncertain and often, this might cause anxiety.
Recently, I have had my own share of challenges and life has felt gloomy on some occasions. There were times, just like you, I thought I wouldn’t pull through to the next day. But God was there, he always is.
He has our futures in his hands yet we can’t entirely escape the treacherous anxious thoughts that cloud our minds. It’s hard to keep faith when life does not go as planned. So how then, do we Christians learn to live with life’s challenges, continue in faith and most of all, exult Him amidst all the troubles?
Here is one unaccepted truth about dealing with challenges that life presents.
IT’S HARD. Really hard.
But is it impossible?
No, it’s possible for you and me to come out as better and stronger people after a dose of challenges. And today, we explore different ways that will help us learn to live through any challenge that life gives us.
5 ways of dealing with life’s challenges as a Jesus follower
1) Cry it out.
Do we say we are okay yet we’re not? Is that truly learning to live with challenges or keeping the faith?
Well, here’s the truth. It’s a lie. A bad lie to ourselves and to God.
Every human being will at one point in their lives experience pain, hurt, betrayal, or all of them. And the best way to learn how to overcome life’s problems is to accept it is okay not being okay. To cry when it hurts and scream out when your body can’t hold it anymore. Grieve when we lose our loved ones. Mourn for the dreams that never became. And acknowledge that all these emotions are valid.
Stored up negative emotions are like canned meat that was not thoroughly cleaned and treated. The packaging on the outside is beautiful, eye-catching, and elegant, but on the inside, it is rotten, foul, and no-one wants to be near that.
The meat is your heart, emotions, and spirit. The more you store foul emotions inside, the more you risk having a rotten way of life with harbored bitterness.
The question now is, how can we deal with these emotions that are inevitable?
Cry it out.
“When we cry, it a sign that our hearts cannot hold the pain anymore.”
Man or woman, it’s okay to cry. Because while doing so, we release pent-up emotions. It’s one step away from healing.
A perfect example is how when Christ was about to be crucified, he cried out to God, with such heaviness and turmoil asking the Father if He could take away the suffering. His crucifixion was approaching and he understood that He would have great physical, emotional, and spiritual pain.
If the greatest of all men on the earth cried because things were difficult, then why should we not when things get difficult. His pain was greater than we will ever experience or understand. That part of Jesus’ life reminds us that when life gets harder and your heart can’t hold it anymore, pour it out. Let the tears flow.
2) Write it down.
There’s something therapeutic about turning your thoughts and pain into words. Aside from being calming and liberating, it’s a reminder of where you once were, and where you are headed.
Writing, or journaling in times of hardships gives you an outlet for your emotions in a way that is non-judgmental. You can write down your fears, anger, pain, grief, and even regrets. And days or months later when you read your thoughts, it would be an amazing day filled with gratitude to God because however small the battle was, you conquered.
You can journal on a notebook, a word document on your laptop, or a journaling app from the play store.
Start small and don’t shy away from your true thoughts. Before you know it, all those unwanted emotions that feed on your peace will be no longer be in you.
3) Talk to a friend.
For some of us, this is hard. How do you entrust another with your thoughts, emotions, and all that pain inside you? For introverts especially, it can be daunting and most introverts may choose not to talk about it to others.
But, we can all find that one trusted friend or family who is ready to listen and understand. Other times, these friends can hold us up in prayer and support.
It’s scary but not impossible. Find that one true friend who is ready to listen and see how unloaded you will feel after.
4) Seek Therapy
There’s a misconception among the Christian community that seeking a therapist’s help is ungodly or mistrust in God’s healing power. This is not the case. Therapy can help you cope with life’s challenges, depression, and anxiety that may have arisen from hardships in life.
So, don’t shy away from it. If things are getting out of hand and you can’t battle with your depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, it’s okay to get help from a therapist. And it’s best to seek one that offers bible-based therapy and a follower of Christ.
5) Remember God owns your battles when dealing with life’s challenges
Through the hills and valleys, God remains the same- our creator, Saviour, and master over our lives. He is there, watching and making things happen. One verse that helps me through challenges is (Romans 8:28)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
This verse reminds me that behind every challenge and pain, our Father, God almighty, is weaving a way and bringing His promises to us into fulfillment.
He conquered, and so will you. He that is in you,(Christ) is greater than any challenges or pain we encounter in life.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)