Renee was just a teenager when she got the devastating news. In fact, she wasn’t even old enough to drive. She probably worried about having pimples. And she had plenty of friends because she was just naturally nice.
But this news would hit anybody harder than a sledge hammer.
Surely, that news must have knocked her and her family for a loop long enough to circle the earth. There would be treatments to take. School, life, and work would be interrupted to treat this deadly intruder.
So what did she do?
She took the treatments.
She finished school and went on to college.
She got a job and began supporting herself.
In other words, she didn’t let this adversity prevent her from doing what she wanted to do. She didn’t make excuses. She didn’t whine. She just went about living as though there was no other response to this situation.
Does Your Knee Jerk When You Respond to Trouble?
When a big storm comes, often we are gripped by the strong cords of fear. You can feel it your chest as it tightens so hard you think you’ll suffocate. You can sense it in your mind as your brain tries to sort through an ocean of possibilities.
And quite possibly, when the weight of it all is too great to bear, you just want to die.
There are at least 3 knee-jerk reactions we have to trouble.
First, the sense of impossibility is overwhelming.
When a real, physical storm comes, all you can do is get out of the way and run for cover. That’s why we run from life’s troubles, hoping that in the running, they’ll just give up and go away.
Second, there is anger.
You think life is insensitive to your goals and wishes when it serves up trouble on a silver platter. So you whine to anyone who will listen for as long as she’ll lend you her ear.
But after a Thanksgiving feast of this, you’ll find it harder to find your friends.
Third, we start making excuses.
Well, after all, there was nothing you could do, right? If it weren’t for the economy being so bad, you’d have that dream job now. If it weren’t for your parents’ constant criticism of your goals, you’d be a lot more successful now. If school didn’t cost so much and take so much work and time, you’d have that degree by now.
Any of these reactions sound familiar?
They should, because at some time or another, you’ve been at least tempted to do all of them.
Now let’s look at a better way of handling unexpected trouble.
3 Strategies That Will Free You To Handle Trouble With Courage and Strength
First, you must always expect the possibility of trouble.
That day you planned at the park might just end up getting rained out.
There might be a hurricane at the beach the week you scheduled your vacation.
Someone else might get that promotion you were dying for.
But then again, things might turn out just fine.
I’m not saying here that you should turn into a full-time pessimist. Let’s get real. There’s always the POSSIBILITY that things will go wrong. That does not mean that trouble is a CERTAINTY. Keep that always in your mind and you’ll be able to get out of bed and face the day every day.
And if the feeling of impossibility falls on you, God is always there to listen.
Second, don’t let adversity turn you into a whiner.
It’s really hard not to scream when you’re hurting. After all, it so tempting to sing “Woe is me” for all the world to hear. Why? Because part of the grace of living is knowing that at least a few people give a damn whether we live or die.
And it’s probably okay initially to purge your heart of the weight of trouble. But don’t build a house on your pain. Find a way to get past it. Learn from the situation. You’ll help yourself get through it. And who knows? One day you may be able to walk someone else through similar pain.
Third, don’t blame outside forces for your failures.
If you made a mistake, admit it.
If you walked down the wrong path with your decisions, blame yourself.
If something outside your control messes up your life, don’t use that to build an unscalable wall around you.
Everyone can make bad decisions. Even the biggest celebrities can experience financial loss, bad health, and the consequences of bad choices.
Storms don’t care if they pound a chicken shack or a castle.
Since we all face trouble, we can all find ways to deal with it.
If you blame outside forces as the cause, you will find any number of excuses to keep from moving forward. If you need help, ask for it until you get it. But don’t let a storm beat you up without a fight. As long as you have life in you, make that storm do its worst to ruin you.
Put Your Armor On
Now you know how to deal with the inescapable storms of life.
You can choose to be proactive instead of reactive. In other words, you can charge ahead instead of running for cover.
You can be optimistic instead of pessimistic. Sure, storms will come. But you know the sun will rise again. So live with that in view.
You can be resourceful instead of helpless. You’ve got a brain. Brew a storm there and find a way to overcome the trouble in front of you.
Now Go and Fight
When Renee was 29, she experienced the ultimate test.
The cancer had returned – with a vengeance.
She had been doing a ministry to shut-ins who couldn’t attend church services. She would visit them and chat with them and generally make them feel special when the rest of the world had forgotten them.
But physical challenges stepped in to prevent her from doing this.
So what did she do?
When she could no longer drive to see the shut-ins, she would phone them.
When she could no longer talk, she wrote them letters.
Then she lost the ability to write.
Her only regret was that she wouldn’t be able to serve those dear people anymore.
Her funeral was in a packed church on a Wednesday afternoon. There were tears across the room and in the pulpit. Even now as I sing her favorite hymn in church, I remember her smiling face and amazing life.
Now let her life inspire you to live the life you were created for.
What do you do when trouble with a capital T comes your way?