Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Thursday, February 25, 2016

3 Steps to More Peace During Painful Times

People today are struggling with the challenges, surprises, and painful situations in life. What is it that is challenging you today or causing you pain? Is it a financial situation? A relationship issue? A child? Your job? Or perhaps a health issue? What if it's all of the above?

How do we cope? Some resort to alcohol, drugs, food, illicit relationships, or workaholism to name a few. These are all ways of distancing ourselves from the pain and the issue. They are both unhealthy and destructive. These feed the flesh, soothe us temporarily, yet do nothing to address the real issues of life. They keep us stuck in the same pothole.

As odd as it may seem, trials are actually good for us. We lift weights and run longer distances to strengthen our physical endurance. In the same way, life presents us with trials and tribulations to give us opportunities to strengthen our emotional and spiritual endurance.
"Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, when you face various kinds of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." (James 1:2)

I am going through something right now at work with my boss. Seems we have a difference of perspective on how to handle situations. Challenging? You bet. Stressful - of course. But I have learned not to waste the pain.

Remember the old saying "No pain, no gain". I believe it is true. In order to grow in our faith and our character, when we experience trials it is important to find out what the lesson is we are supposed to learn. Yes, we cry out to God and shake our fist at the seeming injustice. But fret not, the Lord promises us that He will avenge us and encourages us to trust Him to take care of any injustice done to us(Romans 12:19).

So how to cope in a healthier way?

1. Take a step back and wait for the emotions to settle down.
I give myself a few days to pray about the situation and ask the Lord two questions: "Lord, what am I supposed to be learning from this?" and "How am I to deal with this?" I read the Word and wait for God to answer. He always does. It is truly amazing how faithful God is when we seek to do the right thing. Just yesterday I received the same direction from two different sources to "love my enemy". The more I prayed, the more revelation I received about the situation. After taking it to the Lord in prayer,

2. Take action.
I am a firm believer in clearing the air, and yes, it does take courage to confront. I have also learned it is much better to confront than to sweep things under the rug, because sooner or later the issue will resurface and need to be dealt with again. Clearing the air and reaching an understanding prevents bitterness, anger and resentment from building up inside, which is never a good thing. When negative feelings build up, eventually the relationship with disintegrate and cause even more pain.

3. Surrender it to God.
We can only do so much. It is important to differentiate between what is our responsibility and what belongs to others to deal with. Once we have done our part, the best thing to do is to give it to God. We may not receive the response we desire, but God is still working on people even if we don't see any evidence of it. Not everyone is at a maturity level to be able to handle confrontation. Some people would rather end the relationship than work through difficult emotions and again, this is out of our control. It means this person is no longer meant to be in our lives at this season.

So, dear friends, the next time you are going through a rough patch, don't waste the pain. Learn from the it and grow. If you'd like a copy of my free guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path", enter your email in the box provided and as always, remember to keep looking up!