Transform Your Obstacles into Outstanding Opportunities
What obstacles, challenges, or issues are you currently facing as you pursue your goals, work, and life? To expect life to be free of obstacles is hardly realistic. Obstacles are inevitable. We live in a broken world. How do you respond to the difficulties that come your way personally and/or professionally?
Since we bought our house in Chattanooga nearly eight years ago, we’ve been steadily remodeling and updating our home. Next week we embark on the next project. We will be replacing the carpet upstairs with wood floors. I’m beyond ready to get rid of the well-worn ugly carpet that has been here since we moved in. I know it’s going to make an amazing difference to the aesthetics of our home – I can’t wait for that. Yet, I am dreading the process. I know dread is a strong word, but I prefer order. Having to pack up and move everything upstairs, including closets, feels complicated, big, and messy. And the thought of having workers in my house again after a lengthy reprieve doesn’t exactly excite me. Just being honest!
As I am writing a blog on obstacles…
I have to chuckle at my current “obstacle.” The timing is funny! The real challenge with obstacles is choosing what you will focus on. In my situation, will I dwell on the inconvenience – three days of utter chaos in my home while my husband and I attempt to keep up with work – or will I choose to focus on blessing of a new wood floor? Plus I will get to sort through our belongings and get rid of what we no longer need, re-imagine our bedroom – repainting a new color is in the plan, and freshen everything up. In the end, I know it will be more than worth the frustration.
Having been through this sort of project before, I know that it’s a hassle, but that the rewards are great too! It’s a short period of time and I know that God will give me what I need to survive. In fact, even better than survive – He uses the obstacles in my life to highlight where I need to grow and then allows me to do the stretching necessary to make that growth possible.
Perspective is Everything!
How are you choosing to see your present obstacles? Do you view them as insurmountable? That keeps your focus on the immensity of the issues and shrinks how you see God.
Or do you see the obstacles as gifts from God that will enable you to depend on Him more and to learn and grow in ways that will be necessary for wherever God is leading you.
What if you viewed the obstacles that you encounter as invitations to wonderful new opportunities? An adventure filled with perks?
It’s easy to be thrown off in the moment by how daunting an obstacle seems, however, with each new difficulty comes the chance to practice choosing what I will focus on. I would be lying if I said I jumped up and down and celebrated the opportunity to practice navigating another remodel obstacle.
Obstacles frequently cause my heart to sink into the pit of my stomach with a horrendous thud! But with each new difficulty I encounter, the easier it gets to shift how I see the obstacles that come my way!
Curious about how to transform your obstacles into outstanding opportunities? Here’s what helps me…
1. Remember How Deeply God Loves Me
Not only does God deeply love me, He loved me first and He loves me unconditionally! There is nothing I can do to entice God to love me more or tempt God to love me less. I have all of His love right now! Isn’t that amazing?
Despite God’s intense love for me, unless I allow it to soak in and saturate my heart, I will behave as if I’m not loved. Bitterness, unforgiveness, or ledger keeping have a way of hardening my heart and preventing His love from soaking in.
Will I allow His love to soak in – let it saturate my insecure and immature places? Do I trust Him to lovingly see me through the challenges in my life?
2. Consider the Situation from God’s Perspective
When I’m facing an obstacle, I have a tendency to ask God for help. I want Him to change the circumstance and essentially make life easy again. But what if I were to make it a priority to ask God to show me what He’s up to in the situation – what does He want me to learn? How does He want me to grow?
3. Search for the Gift
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 (ESV)
In other words, God is the source of all good gifts. And while obstacles often feel bad in the moment, He’s able to use for good. That’s the beauty of God!
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (ESV)
Will I be deliberate about seeing the good He has for me even in my challenges?
4. Acknowledge My Negative Behaviors
When obstacles arrive on the scene, I gravitate towards responding negatively – I bet you got a glimpse of that in my floor example above. In reality, I’m really attempting to hide my fear and insecurity – to self-protect.
It’s important for me to acknowledge the negative behaviors and then ask God to help me respond in ways that better reflect who I am in Him.
Do you relate to any of these behaviors?
- Controlling: Not only being controlling, but being overly in charge and downright domineering so that I can get done what I want done.
- Avoiding: Procrastinating – putting off unpleasant tasks or conflicts I am not eager to deal with.
- Blaming: Coming up with excuses and not taking responsibility for my behaviors, reactions, or responses.
- Pleasing: Helping, enabling, or trying to make you happy in order to be liked.
- Playing the victim: Wallowing in my own negative emotions in hopes that you will give me the attention I need.
- Judging: Criticizing myself, others, or circumstances; having a negative outlook on life.
- Busy, Busy: Hurrying and hustling through life so that I don’t miss out on anything. There’s no time to relax and there’s no peace. I ignore my limits.
- Anxious: Focusing on what could go wrong, what might happen, and numerous other negative and imagined possibilities.
- Conquering at any cost: Viewing tasks, goals, etc. as more important than the people around me. It doesn’t matter how much pain I cause others – I just need to get a thing done!
- Void of emotion: Relying solely on logic and ignoring emotions.
5. Accept the Invitation to be Creative
Challenges are an invitation to roll up my sleeves and get creative! What new and innovative solutions are there? How can I view this obstacle in a new way? What new system, process, or way of doing things might solve the problem? Who might be able to help me?
When I’m overwhelmed, spending too much time dwelling on the problem, or feeling like the situation is hopeless, it makes it next to impossible to be creative. Creativity requires time and space to flourish. No matter how full my plate is, pausing to get creative is a better use of my time.
6. Trust God!
Do I truly trust God to help me overcome my obstacles? Will I remain authentic, vulnerable, and connected to my identity in Christ in the process? Will I choose to see the gift and accept the invitation to be creative? How I respond reveals the degree to which I trust God.
There will always be challenges, obstacles, and difficulties to deal with. It’s up to me to choose how I will handle them. Will I resort to self-protective behaviors that create even bigger problems or will I choose to respond in ways that allow me to learn, grow, and develop skills that not only allow me to reach my goals but also walk in the purpose God has for me?
How have you transformed your obstacles into opportunities?