I hate problems. I do everything to avoid them, don’t you? None of us CHOOSES to have a problem. We cannot escape problems, and usually, we are not in control of the problem; otherwise we would not be in this situation in the first place. Much is beyond our control in life, but there are some things we can do when we are facing a problem. The most important thing is to change the questions we are asking. We all ask questions when we’re stuck, but often we’re asking the wrong ones.
Take a moment to notice your thoughts. Ask, “How can I change the questions I am asking about this problem?” Here are a few examples:
- Change “Why is this happening to me?” to “What is good about this problem?”
- Change “How can I escape this problem?” to “How can I find peace while in this situation?”
- Change thoughts of “I’m all alone” to “Who are the supportive people in my life?” and “Who do I care about?”
- Change thoughts of “I’m exhausted” to “How can I look after myself while I am in this situation?”
- Change “I’m feeling miserable” to “What can I do for someone else today?”
Here are some more good questions to consider:
- What coping skills am I presently using?
- What can I learn through this situation?
- What action can I take to help this problem? If there is nothing you can do to solve the problem, then ask,
- What can I enjoy in this day? …right now? (If you are extremely stressed and overwhelmed, simply slow down and notice 3 things you see, 3 things you hear, 3 things you smell, and 3 things you feel with your hands.)
- What perspective of faith might God have for me? (Instead of catastrophizing or ruminating about the problem, envision a good ending to this situation or a peaceful state for the people involved.)
- What scripture can I read to find God’s strength in this situation?
Here’s what Paul wrote about changing his perspective of a problem:
“I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations…. At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then He told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’ Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer…” II Cor. 12:2-4 MSG
Problems are gifts to lead us closer to Christ and make us more like Him. Problems allow God’s strength to work in us.
Ask God for a new perspective; ask different questions.