Tough Times

 Junkyard CarSeries of hardships, difficulties, setbacks, misfortunes

A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition. William A Ward

Tough times never last, but tough people do! Robert Schuller  

Bad is never good until worse happens. Danish Proverb  

Tough times have a way of causing us to change focus. We slow down our throttle, proceed more cautiously, and often change modes from playing offense to playing defense. Our focus changes from going forward to trying to prevent ourselves from going backwards and losing the ground we have already gained.

When times are good, we are more likely to be on the offense, eyes forward, advancing, making plans, and thinking positively about what lies down the road. We are not so much focused on what can go wrong; concerned about our jobs, finances, general security and well-being. We have enough confidence, comfort and security keeping us from worrying about hardships and difficulties. The greater our sense of security the more likely we are focused on continued effort to move forward.

Life does require facing and experiencing our fair share of tough times. It is required learning. We may be our own worst enemy and causing our own problems. Conditions beyond our control can cause times to be tough. It can be that we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tough times should bring to mind the knowledge and experience we have gained from all of life’s storms we have experienced and survived. Storms can be mild and minor disruptions or can be very severe causing us great concern and difficulty as we try to ride them out.

Storms develop, have their day, get our attention and ultimately go away. Most often things get back to normal quickly, but depending upon the damage, it may take a while for normalcy to return. Storms eventually subside. Clouds disappear. Storms have their moment, require our undivided attention and we must endure them. We must patiently wait for their demise. Blue skies return. It may take some time and patience to get back on track.

The more severe the challenges, the more we must pay attention to conditions and circumstances. It may require “battening down the hatches” to minimize potential damages. Conditions may warrant taking more defensive and cautious approaches in places where we are most vulnerable. We may need to err on the safe side, avoid unnecessary risks, postpone the unnecessary, and think in terms of defense instead of any offense. Just as it is with storms, tough times do come to their end, and finally it is time to get back on the sunny side of life.

Challenge: When times are tough, do not give in to becoming a victim and all that goes with it, such as worry, doubt, fear and crying “why me”. You can be a leaf at the wind’s mercy with no control of your destiny or a better choice is to be a survivor and a victor. Persevere, keep your composure and live on to fight another day. Tough times may knock you down. Your task is to always get back up, repair the damage and keep on trucking.

Wisdom: No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you; keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent. William Channing

Spiritual: (NIV)

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5, 6

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Fear, doubt and worry; are evils adding much difficulty and burdens to life. The more we give in to them, the more difficult it is to find any degree of joy and happiness. These handicaps can cause life to be miserable.  It does not have to be that way. Many look to God for strength and direction. Empowered by faith and confidence, they have God’s spiritual power lifting them up. As a result they learn to become victors instead of victims.

Prayer: Help me to keep my eyes on You. Help me to let go and let You show me the way.

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