Ahhh trouble! I’m certain it’s crossed your path this week, this day, or even this past hour. But while we tend to think our life circumstances are uniquely ours, that we star in our own movie, I can assure you we share this same trait in common.
Trouble is your friend. God moves us through our journey in life to learn and grow. He doesn’t like stagnation, our intended purpose is progress. So why not change how we feel about trouble? If these are opportunities to shine in God’s greatness, why wouldn’t we be more celebratory of our good friend, trouble? Here’s how to do it.
1. Know it Won’t Last
Whatever you are grappling with won’t last forever. Sometimes that’s the only solace you can take home during moments of extreme trouble, in sickness, when “bad” things happen. Or maybe you are a steady ship during those moments,but a letter from the IRS can send you into a tumult. Know that in a few days, weeks, months, a year, things will change. Trouble passes. It can’t stay around, God has to get you ready for the next round. So if all you can do is count down until it’s over, that’s fine. But don’t pretend like the way things are will be how they always will be. Our God is too big for that. So recognize the temporary nature of trouble in your life, it changes your perspective.
2. Pray for Wisdom
I love what Solomon didn’t ask for; riches, power–he asked for wisdom. Trouble comes to us by design from our father, take a page from Solomon and ask for wisdom. The easy thing is to pour ourselves into prayer, asking for the trouble to lift. Why not do just the opposite? Thank God for the trouble, and ask him for the wisdom to handle it. God’s grace is sufficient for us to handle anything he doles out. So pray for the wisdom to duke it out with whatever trouble you find yourself in.
3. Repeat with me, “Do Not Be Afraid!”
How many times has this phrase appeared in the bible? It’s a potent reminder in times of crisis. It’s the first thing that flew into my mind when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and it remains that thing I repeat to myself when I feel the walls closing in. Instantly, I feel a lift. Use this affirmation, or find one that resonates with you during times of trouble. Write that phrase or verse on your mirror, put a reminder on your phone, whatever it takes to take the phrase to heart.
4. Tell Old War Stories
Think back to a time when you vanquished trouble. I like the character played by Dustin Hoffman in Wag the Dog, “You think this is bad? This is nothing!” I love telling old war stories about how I showed trouble who’s boss. It feels good to remember old battles, and we all have the scars to prove it. Remind yourself how tough you are. If you are still here, that means you won every single battle. How’s that for a track record?
With these tips you can not only show trouble who’s boss, but you can also greet her (or him?) like a friend every time they make an untimely entry. Because nothing ever goes to our perfectly laid plans, and that’s more than ok. It might just be God’s intention all along.