Secrets to Getting Through Tough Times: Take a Bigger View of What is Going On

Sometimes it’s so hard to see the big picture

It is hard to see the bigger view. This happens not out of selfishness, but because we are struggling, confused, trying to figure out what is happening, and how to respond. This is normal.

After a period of time (very different for each person and each situation), we each come to a crossroads where we can choose our perspective of, and ways of coping with the tough times we are going through:

~ Do I accept what has happened in my life, or am I either in denial, or fighting the truth of the matter?
~ Do I turn toward God for help, or do I turn away from Him actively or passively?
~ Do I strive to adjust to this new life in every way I can, or do I sink into helplessness?
~ Do I focus on what I can no longer do, or do I focus on what I still can do?
~ Do I only focus on the many losses I have sustained, or do I grieve while being be open to the possibility that God is up to something, and will use what has happened in my life for good?

I have wrestled with all of these questions, and will continue to do so

None of this is easy…it is a year ago that I was diagnosed with this progressive lung disease that has altered my life in profound ways. For the first 6 months I was discombobulated…just trying to figure out what was going on and how to cope.

I’m less scrambled inside now, although I still grieve in smaller ways most every day. I also try to have as optimistic and hopeful a perspective as I can, realizing that what has happened to my health, counseling practice and my life is only part of the bigger view – because of God.

Of course it’s not like I know what these greater purposes are now

Here is what I do know:

~ God is good (James 1:17)
~ He will work things together for ultimate good (Rom 8:28)
~ He will give me the strength to handle whatever is happening to me (Phil 4:13; Is 58:11)
~ He will use what is happening to me to affect others, for good or bad (2 Cor 1:3-5)
~ It is up to me to cling to Him and use his love, power, strength and contentment to handle what is happening in the most positive way I can (Phil 4:13)
~ I won’t do any of this perfectly, nor do I need to
~ God uses and strengthens people who are broken and needy (Is 58:11) much more than those who are “together” and self-sufficient.
~ If I allow Him, God will use these tough times to grow me into a more mature, solid, and deep person. (Rom 5:3-5)

I met a couple the other day at a graduation party who gave me a glimpse of this positive and hopeful perspective. It was a mom and a dad with a significantly physically disabled daughter who were full of life and love. They were encouraging me about my physical challenges (being on supplemental oxygen is always a dead giveaway)!

The mom said, referring to her daughter, that she has been such a blessing in their lives. She said, “Where would we be without her? Who would we be without her?” I was so encouraged by this brief encounter. They used God’s supernatural strength to cope with, and even thrive in an ongoing challenge that caused them to draw close to God, one another and themselves. They have grown and matured because of their tough times, and have a bigger view. I will continue to use that moment with them to encourage myself.

Questions to Ponder…

~ What impacted you the most from what Kim shared?
~ What perspective shift might help you as you are going through tough times?
~ As you look back on difficult times you’ve gone through before, what bigger view are you able to see now?
~ How can you be a compassionate friend to yourself during this time?

I hope these thoughts help you think about the bigger view that is going on as you encounter tough times. I encourage you to turn toward yourself with compassion and grace during the tough times you are going through. Please share with someone who could benefit, or through social media.

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