Thinking about my most recent journey to India and my journey over the last 3 1/2 years, the old saying "you can't always control what happens to you, but you can control what you do about it" came to mind.
I made a conscience decision a few years ago that I would do my best to only allow what happens to me affect me in a positive way. Life will always have its challenges. This is just a fact of life, regardless of our financial state, physical health situation, or the status of a relationship. I like to think of challenges as hurdles we face and must get over to finish the race. Here are several “secrets” that we probably all know but it’s good to be reminded:
One secret of getting over the hurdles of life is learning the true meaning of being content whatever situation you may find yourself. This isn’t a “whatever will be, will be” attitude. It has everything to do with understanding God’s divine providence, He has all under control, and strength is available to handle every situation the right way. The Apostle Paul understood this best when he wrote in Philippians 4,
“…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Contentment is the offspring of humility and it brings ease of mind. Discontentment brings turmoil and negativity and can lead to further hardship. We control how we will behave in all situations, whether we caused it or not – 100% of the time. We choose to be bitter or forgive. We choose to complain or be victorious. Contentment is a state of mind.
Another secret to getting over hurdles in life is to simply refuse to quit. Although I never ran hurdles competitively, after practice we would sometimes play around with the hurdles. Hurdles are hard, especially when you caught your toe and went face down. But, the more you practice, the better you got. And, regardless of how good you are, all hurdlers, including the Olympians, fall at one time or another and it hurts. It’s the same way in life. The key is that you don't quit. You face your “hurdle” and even if you fall and get hurt, you get up and keep going. You stay positive and believe that you'll clear the next one.
Last, understand that God loves us and nothing can separate us from His love. That understanding comes out of knowing God and what we mean to Him. God wants us to succeed in life more than anyone.
I like how Eugene Peterson interpreted the last part of Romans 8,
“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? …is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? …The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”