Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Problems = growth

The Problem, the Pain

Intellectually, many people recognize that going through problems can cause growth. The challenge is that when you are going through the pain, agony, and frustration of the problem, it can be difficult to view the problem, objectively.

How should you view the problem?

We need to view the problem through the eyes of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it (The Message). God's Word states that He will never give more than we can handle. He knows what we can take on that will grow us and not destroy us.

View this struggle as an opportunity to grow:
  1. spiritually. God wants to go deeper with you through the problem. Allow Him. Get into the Word. Get on your knees in prayer. Fast. He wants you to be fully satisfied in Him. Draw close to Him and allow Him to work in your life.
  2. emotionally. Getting all worked up emotionally solves nothing. Is it difficult to control your emotions? Sure it is, but it is possible. Get real about how to control the anger and hurt that overwhelms you in the moment.
  3. intellectually. As you go through the problem, read books, seek counsel, and research the internet. Learn as much as you can about the problem and how to face it.
  4. physically. Release the stress of your problem through exercise. Get in shape. Get the proper amount of sleep. Take time off of work. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. You can fight through your problem a lot better if you're in good shape and well rested.
  5. relationally. You need people to surround you as you go through your difficulty. Don't bunker down by yourself. Connect with your family. Reconnect with your friends. Go out to lunch with others on a regular basis. We really do need each other.
  6. financially (or professionally). Perhaps during your trial the Lord is trying to teach you how to do more with less and be content with what you currently have. Be a great manager of what God has given you through the trial and maybe He will bless you with even more to manage on the other side.
  7. recreationally. Do you need to learn how to let go and experience joy through a difficult phase in your life? Get out of the house. Do something fun. Enjoy God's creation.

The next time you find yourself wrapped in the pain of a challenging time in your life, lean on Christ and pray, "Lord, what are You trying to teach me through this difficult time in my life? In what areas are you trying to grow me?" Then, go through the list above and examine your life. Make a list of the areas in which you need to grow, and allow God to work in your life.

The unexamined life is not worth living. - Socrates

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