Friends-Has life ever dealt you challenges? I know I have had my share and my family is experiencing some difficulties right now. So what do you do?
It seems to me that the first thing that a person needs to do is recognize that something happened, something isn't right, or there has been a difficult change. It surprises me the number of people who deny their problems and difficulties. How often have you had someone tell you it's not a problem or they're getting along just fine when they are clearly struggling. I believe part of this is related to a world that longs for a quick fix, which leads me to my next thought.
Even when we have a challenge, there's an impulse to deal with it as quickly as possible. No one likes pain and we want deny the pain that life brings. We expect ourselves to cope with life and life's challenges on our own, quickly and efficiently so we can get back to the business of life. Perhaps this is related to the fast food culture we live in. We expect everything to happen on demand and expect that of ourselves-just deal with it.
We can cope, but coping with the challenges of life requires vulnerability. We have to be open and honest enough to admit that we are having a problem. This requires an honest self-appraisal and a "balcony view" of our lives. Stepping back allows us to see how events in our lives can affect how we function. Denying the power of our experience only makes matters worse. Admitting to ourselves and others that we are struggling frees us to begin wrestling with the effects of the challenges we face.
Somehow, admitting that we need help or are struggling is abhorrent in our culture. It is so hard to ask for help that we soldier on in spite of the pain and suffering rather than reach out. More than that, in our culture the relationships that we nourish are often online so we don't have the resources we need.
As people of faith we have some great resources to deal with life's challenges. Resources that we often under use. We are part of a great community of like-minded people who are usually more than happy to help with our difficulties. We have a God that loves us and never deserts us. These are resources that oppose the "John Wayne" mentality of keeping a stiff upper lip and dealing with it on your own.
The experience of challenges is common. We all share this experience and it is in coping with them that we become better people and grow as God's children.