4 Ways to Overcome Adversity

Overcoming adversity

I grew up in a little town that boasted a large playground. Don’t picture colorful plastic structures with safety rails and seat belts.

The 14’ slide was a narrow piece of metal pitched at a (nearly) 90 degree angle. The swing set shuddered and lifted off the ground as we built momentum.

The teeter-totter was so long and high that if you were on it with a mean kid, you could get launched into next week or dumped on your keister so hard it knocked the wind out of you.

Monkey Bar Moments

And we had metal monkey bars. The kind with two ladders and a crossbar. Conquering those monkey bars was a rite of passage. When you could make it all the way across without falling or stopping, it meant you were a big kid.

At first, I couldn’t even reach the cross bar from the ladder’s top rung. Eventually, though, I got myself up and with practice, traversed from end to end without assistance or plummeting to the asphalt below.

My life is still full of monkey bar moments. I reach for dreams and goals seemingly too big and lofty to attain. I fall and fail at relationships and employment opportunities. Howl and cry over busted ministry ventures and weight loss flops. Yet, I press in and press on with my Creator to build the muscle, find the confidence, acquire the skill sets and obtain the wisdom to meet the challenges and make the changes.

Just like the monkey bars at the playground, our journey with Jesus requires us to look toward heaven even when we can’t feel him, to hold tightly to Truth even when life seems unfair, to keep moving forward even when we are tired or terrified, and trust that if we fail, He will pick us up so we can try again. 

Flatlined

Not gonna lie, this pandemic really threw me off.  No people. Same people. No road trips. So many cancelled speaking events. I was baking like a madwoman and watching television like it was my job. My brain was so sad that my quiet time was … quiet. Flat. The words of my Bible were gibberish. My prayers were rote.

While consigned to live as an introvert, Holy Spirit led me with a trail of scriptural bread crumbs to find my peace, joy and smile again.

Psalms 23 for comfort.

    • God will guide me.
    • Protect me.
    • Be with me.

2 Chronicles 20 for reassurance:

    • Gather with others.
    • Worship the Lord.
    • Do what he says.
    • Watch him fight for me.

Matthew 25 for direction.

    • Get ready!
    • Use your gifts.
    • Serve intentionally.

A time for everything.

I slowly reconnected with my people. Got a Zoom membership. Lead a Bible Study online. Set up some coaching appointments. Recorded some messages for conferences. Wrote some new blog posts. Journaled my prayers and turned off Netflix.

Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time for everything. A time to be sad and a time to heal. A time to rest and a time to grow. It’s okay to grieve. It’s not okay to stay stuck there.

This pandemic has been challenging, but I’m climbing out of my funk by:

  1. Breaking my isolation and safely reaching out to friends.
  2. Setting my eyes on Jesus, trusting He will lead me. 
  3. Preparing for the time when I can again proclaim His name and teach his word in person.
  4. Intentionally serving how and where I can right now. 

How are you overcoming adversity? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear I’m not alone and get your ideas for overcoming adversity.

Verse of the day: So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 The Message

Prayer: Lord God, I know that you can use ANYTHING to make me stronger, braver, better, wiser, kinder. So I say thank you for adversity while I pray for relief from the hard things. God, I trust you even when I hate the circumstances. I believe you are for me and with me and are working things out for the best. Lead me on. In Jesus Name. amen.