Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Friday, June 3, 2016

6 Ways to Handle Life's Ups & Downs

Life is a rollercoaster ride. By that I mean, life has its ups and downs. Circumstances are sometimes unavoidable and out of our control. Talk to anyone and they will tell you about this or that situation that they are dealing with. It is always something. As Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church says "We are either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or getting ready to go through a storm." Storms are God's way of growing us up and challenging us to come up higher. Nobody ever really grows when everything is going along smoothly and calmly.

So today I want to talk about how to ride the rollercoaster of life. These steps help me deal with the unexpected situations of life so I am sharing them with you.

1. Expect ups and downs in every area of life
    Life rarely goes smoothly for very long. Sometimes it's a job situation. Other times its a health situation or a relationship issue. It could be a financial situation. If everything is going great in every area of your life, I congratulate you. Enjoy this time, but be ready for the next thing.

2. Be prepared for the unexpected
    How do we do this? In the same way that paramedics are trained to deal with challenging and often surprising circumstances in their line of work, we too can train ourselves before life broadsides us. As anyone who works out knows, the longer one works out, trains, runs, and lifts weights, the stronger their endurance becomes. They can run longer, lift more, and not be as worn out after. The same process applies to life. If we want to be able to handle the strenuous and taxing events of life, we must train beforehand.

3. Train yourself in the calm times
    The time to train ourselves is not in the heat of the trial. It is in the down times. These are our opportunities to strengthen ourselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I do this by reading and educating myself. Whatever area you struggle in, that is the area to study. For example, if I am not doing well financially, I study finances. I learn about budgeting, saving, investing. If I am having health issues, I study health, diet, nutrition.  If I am struggling in my relationships, I study communication and psychology. There is a lot to learn out there and if we want to succeed in every area of our lives, we must educate ourselves in these areas. 

4. Apply What You Have Learned
  Often in the heat of the moment, it is easy to forget what we have learned. The emotion and the stress of the situation tries to veer us off course and we go back to our same patterns. Sometimes it takes a while to catch ourselves, but we will realize what is happening sooner or later. This is the time to get away to a quiet place and get recentered. Make a plan for how to handle the situation going forward. I begin with prayer. There are some situations that I simply don't know how to handle so I go to God for wisdom and guidance. He always gives them to me.

5. Look for the Root Cause
    In the midst of life's challenges,we don't always see how things are going to work out. Perhaps the most difficult part is getting to the root cause of the problem. As a former IT professional, I always search for the root cause. In other words, I try to determine what feeling, value, or belief is at the core of what is going on. Often what appears on the surface is not the real issue. There is more going on if we dig deeper.

6. Trust in the Outcome 
    This is the step where faith comes in. When we have prayed about the situation, made a plan to address/confront the issue, and taken action, it is important to trust God to step in. To maintain our peace, we need to mentally let go of the outcome of the situation. We don't have to know how to figure everything out. God sees the big picture and knows what he is doing. He allows situations into our lives for a reason and a purpose even though we may not understand at the time. Later on, after the emotions have died down and the storm has passed, we can often look back and see what was really going on. There is always a lesson to be learned.

In my book, the Power of Faith, I talk about some of the lessons I have learned in my life. If this post has resonated with you, be sure to check it out on Amazon or your favorite online bookstore.

In the meantime, I hope these 6 steps encourage you to hang in there when the tough times hit, as they inevitably will. If you'd like a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path" enter your email address in the box provided and I'll get it right out to you.

Until next time, keep looking up!