A New Year. There Was a Lesson in the Challenge…

When I hear someone try to tell me that a challenge I am facing will help me grow, I challengeswant to say hogwash! However, at my age, I can honestly say that many of my challenges have equipped me for greater things. I know, I know, you might say that I am only saying that because I haven’t faced what you are facing. That may be the case, but you never know what people go through. We don’t really share our deepest troubles on social media. At least I don’t.

Anyway, I would like to share a little about what I have endured over the last year and point out along the way that repeated challenges can get to any of us. Trust me, they have gotten to me. As for me, however, I choose to move beyond them. I learned long ago not to hold onto stuff. If you allow your challenges to get the best of you, you will most assuredly become beaten down, you may get despondent and decide to check out altogether. Counter your challenges. Find joy elsewhere, and I don’ mean in a bottle of drugs either. Find it in a walk, a run, with an animal, at a spa. Just find it.
I find joy in Christmas. The reason I love Christmas so much isn’t because of presents; it is in the people I get to share life with. The hustle and bustle of Christmas can be exhausting, but I always feel joy this time of year. This past year has been one of the most challenging I have experienced in a very long time. Things I thought I was done with years ago, visited me again but in grand design this year. I had not felt the sting of a person trying to demoralize and marginalize me in such a long time, that to experience it at this stage in life really shook me. I had to take stock of my life over and over again. I kept telling myself, “You must be crazy. You don’t need this. Why are you subjecting yourself to this?” I would ask God repeatedly if I was doing the right thing by remaining quiet, ignoring the actions of others, and staying the course. When I was about to throw in the towel, I would get an impression from God that I was supposed to stay the course. What I heard from God was this: “LaSharnda, don’t give up. I didn’t make you that way. Besides, trust me. I am teaching you a lesson. There is always a lesson in the challenge.” So I said, “Ok, Lord.”
At one point during the year, I felt that I was at my wit’s end. I was on my morning run, suddenly, a scripture began to play in my head over again. The scripture was Isaiah 43: 19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Well, of course, I felt God was about to break the cycle I had been experiencing. I waited and waited, and nothing happened. I got discouraged again. Too many things gave me hope throughout the year, only to get my expectations up and dashed back. To this day, I still do not know what God is doing in my life, but what I do know is that I am a different person today than I was a year ago. I know that I have learned some powerful lessons through my challenges.
Challenges can cause flight or fight, and even the strongest among us can get to the point of flight. Don’t feel bad when you finally throw your hands up and walk away, but before you do, I want you to ask yourself, “What lesson am I supposed to learn in this?” Take your time, pray, trust God, and trust yourself. Look at the challenge and determine what brought it on and decide what you can do about it. You always have a choice; you don’t have to put up with anything. However, you may learn to trust God more and rely on yourself less.
If you decide to stay the course, you may find that He is equipping you for something far more significant and even better than what you had before. The skills you develop during the challenges are skills you will take with you to the next level. You may also find that you are stronger, tougher, and brighter than you thought.

Learn from the past and look to the future.  God is about to do a new thing. Can’t you see it?

 

Don’t be Discouraged

I am old enough to know that when I am experiencing difficulties, there is some lesson joshua 1-9God is trying to teach me. I must admit, I hate it when it is my time to learn something. As much as I embrace the tenets of “life-long learning,” the kinds of “activities” we have to do during these assignments can be so hard! The other thing is usually the activities are not fun ones at all.

Think about life for a moment; the activities we experience revolve around waiting, speculating, worrying, second-guessing, and stressing out over things that are happening that we have very little influence or control over. Because we cannot control the things happening to us, we become discouraged, despondent, angry, depressed, withdrawn, and sometimes we will just drop out altogether.

If we would, No! if we could remind ourselves that things happen to us for a reason and if you are religiously-inclined, you believe that God is trying to teach you something that will mature you in ways you need to be matured, then you can quickly snap out of those discouraging times. I am speaking this as much to myself as I am sharing with you.

When you are going through something that is affecting your mental and emotional state and you are so discouraged that you don’t know what to do or where to turn, turn to God. Ask Him to help you to be patient and to trust Him to teach you what you need to learn. And if one door closes, trust that He has a better door for you to walk through after He is done with your lesson. Also remember EVERYONE experiences ups and downs. When you are down, recall the happier times and tell yourself, God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If it is difficult today, just wait, it won’t be tomorrow. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

While you wait, concentrate on these scriptures. I know they will help you. They have helped me!

Joshua 1:9 (the Bible) tells us the following: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4:6 tells us this: Be anxious for nothing, but in all things with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. and the peace of God will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Lamentations 3:25-26 says: The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”