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Tuesday, February 24

Choosing Life Through Adversity

I am very excited that my Choosing Life column for Take Root and Write is now being published twice a month, on the second and fourth Monday of each month. As such, I’ll republish my article here, within a day or two after it posts on my column there. TRW is a wonderful place to read amazing articles from over 40 different columns and women. I encourage you to check it out – I’m sure you’ll find something there that you’ll enjoy very much. You may even decide to become a guest contributor yourself!

Special Note: This post is actually from my column from two weeks ago. I mixed up my re-post, so the most recent one, I posted here on 2/10 and now I’m posting the one from 2/9. Clear as mud? Good!


Oh, boy, here I am. Many of you may be intimately aware of the truth, that when you speak on or teach about something, the message is for you too. That’s something I’m walking through right now. This series is about choosing life daily, in our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, habits, relationships, etc, because I seriously believe this. That doesn’t mean however, that I don’t go through things myself and have to make a conscious effort to practice what I preach, because I do, and I am.

Facing adversity is just one of those things we all have to do in this life. And the reality is most of us don’t like adversity. Why would we? It hinders us from getting or having what we want. It can be frustrating, confusing and painful. Sometimes it can be downright awful, something we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. But, truth be told, facing adversity will make us stronger, better people, if we choose to allow it too. We can learn much through our adversity, if we choose too, things like compassion, mercy, perseverance, patience and faith, to name a few.

Yep, adversity happens to us all, like it or not. We can overcome it, or conversely it can overcome us. Either way, it’s up to us. If we have a victim mentality, a defeatist attitude or hateful thoughts (toward ourselves or others), it’s a pretty safe bet that the adversity is going to overcome us. However, if we have a victor mentality, a positive attitude and life-affirming thoughts, we will overcome it. This is thinking through adversity. It’s choosing life through adversity.

Often times, we look at adversity as something to stop us, kill our dreams, or keep us down low, but that’s not it at all. Just because something isn’t easy or doesn’t just happen the way we want it to, doesn’t mean that it’s not meant to happen. On the contrary, it’s a rare thing when something really meaningful, important or amazing comes easily. I think of the movie A League of Their Own, when Dottie (Geena Davis) decides to quit the team because it got too hard, and the coach (Tom Hanks) responds with “that’s bull, it’s the hard that makes it great!”

In order to have victory over the adversity you face, you have to be deliberate about it. Choose your thoughts, your words and your attitude wisely. Speak life to your situation! Do it out loud! Tell God how big your problem is, yes, but don’t stop there, turn right around and tell your problem how big your God is! Be intentional in the thoughts you think – we are told in Phil 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

There is one thing in particular that is very hard to do when we are experiencing adversity and that is to persevere. It is so hard to continue on when we are discouraged by the circumstance that is stopping us from having or getting what we want, especially if it goes on for a long period of time, but we must not allow discouragement take hold of us and we must not give up. There may be a time to stop pursuing a desire, but we should know when that is, and not just give up because it got too hard.

Furthermore, we also need to take a chance and trust. We have to trust that God is for us, not against us, and that He loves us and knows what is best for us. We also have to trust Jesus, when he tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Yes, adversity/trouble happens, but Jesus has overcome it and we can too! However, overcoming adversity doesn’t just happen, we have to be proactive about it every step of the way.

Earlier, I mentioned that I was walking through this right now. We have been trying to grow our family for five years now. We are forty years old, so time is not on our side. We do have a beautiful daughter, who is such a treasured gift to us and we are so thankful for her. But we’ve had problems too, with two miscarriages and a long time between pregnancies. It has been really tough at times, but I know my God and He is always faithful. We are rapidly nearing the time that we gave ourselves as a deadline to stop trying. Should that time come without another baby, I will still trust, follow and serve God. I know He has a plan, and whatever that plan may be, I trust that it is even better than what I could plan for myself.

In the meantime, I find myself having to speak life to my womb, and think life-affirming thoughts, and draw comfort from God’s Word, because it doesn’t just happen naturally. This is how I am being proactive about overcoming my adversity. I am deliberately and purposefully thinking positively through this adversity. Yes, the negative thoughts come, but I know that if I take them captive, they will not take me captive. This is how I am choosing life through adversity. How about you?


Anonymous said...

Nicely written, Tracy.

Adversity is what shapes us, I believe. Although it's difficult to go through, and I don't always see the why in it....there is always God's plan.

He is constant through it all. It's in that I rest.

gzusfreek said...

That's a hard one. It's taken me a long time to not regret the past, and start believing I would not be who I am today if it weren't for my past.
Thanks Tracy!

Travis said...

Ah, yes. It's too easy to view adversity as the enemy. Usually, it's the friend you seldom want, but always appreciate in the end.