Ready: “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Set: The song “Overcomer” by Mandisa is one of my favorite songs. But it’s more than just an emotional and spiritual pep-rally. As believers in Christ, the attitude of an overcomer is the one we are to walk in every day regardless of circumstances. Romans 8:37 (NIV) says that we are “more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
It’s easy to feel this way when it seems like everything is under control. Our relationships are great, we have good health, we’re doing well in school or at work, we’re excelling in our sport, etc. However, circumstances will change. And what we do when that happens makes all the difference.
The ability to do well under pressure is a useful skill in all areas of life. Handling everyday stressors or emergencies is not easy, but it is essential to our well being. In my own journey, I’ve learned a few keys to handling adversity that help me stay close to Christ no matter what happens.
1. Stay calm. Getting upset, crying, losing hope and questioning God are some natural reactions, but they won’t change the situation. It’s easier to think clearly and make wise decisions when you aren’t emotional. Praying, taking deep breaths and asking for help are some things you can do to immediately regain composure.
2. Keep things in perspective. Once your emotions have subsided, try to use the situation as an opportunity to grow and learn. As you go through the experience, you may discover what can be done to keep it from happening again in the future. Later on, you may be able to help others in similar circumstances.
3. Be confident in your ability to deal with the issues. I’ve been through situations with injured kids, burst pipes, fire, car accidents, personal injuries and more—all of which required immediate reactions. I try to stay clear-headed enough to make good decisions and act accordingly. After things calmed down I always look back and wonder, "How did I get through that?" The key has always been God. There are going to be many things outside of your ability to control, but He is always in complete control and is already on the other side of the problem.
4. Don’t obsess about the problem. They say hindsight is always 20/20 because, had you known what you know after a situation, you may have acted differently at the time. Rehearsing the issues in your head, having regrets and talking excessively about the problem will not change what has happened. It will deplete the energy you need in order to move forward. And, yes, you will move forward.
In Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), God shows us His sovereignty: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Whatever you are facing today, you don’t have to face those challenges alone. The God of the universe is on your team. The same God who placed the stars in the heavens and created your inmost being (Psalm 139) is on your side . Lean into the Lord and to those trusted people He has placed in your life. Then, as Paul declared in Philippians 4:13, proclaim the truth that you can do everything through Him who gives you strength.