5 Ways To Navigate The Missteps In Life

stumbling man cartoon illustrationOne step.   One simple step  That’s all it took for me recently to change my life for the past two weeks.

Life can change in an instant.  We go along with the daily routine and our plans.  We think we are in control until God shows us that we don’t have things figured out.  Even if you don’t believe in God, I can tell you that life or the universe or whatever you believe in has a way of throwing you off of your plan and the things you thought you had under control.

We aren’t as smart as we think we are.  Life happens and then we have to make adjustments.

For most people the first thing they say is: “Why did this happen to me?”  Some people are quick to blame God whether they are a believer or not.  God doesn’t work that way.  Bad things happen to us regardless of our religious level.  (Matthew 5:45)  I have even heard Christians ask why would God let bad things happen to them.  Seriously?  Stuff happens.  That’s just how life is.  None of us are immune from life tripping us up once in a while.

We can ask that question but what answer do we expect to get that would satisfy us?  Things just happen.  We make wrong decisions and we take wrong steps.  What has happened has happened.  There’s not much we can do about things after they have happened.  THE most important thing we can do is to adjust and follow the course that is ahead of us at that point.

Instead of being stuck in the why, we have to discover the what.  What do we do now?

Missteps can be a way of getting our attention and altering our path.  We have to look at life altering events as things that push us into a new or fresh outlook on our life’s journey.  We have the choice either to be thrown by life’s bumps or change our attitude about the situation.  Personally, I don’t like to be blindsided by unexpected situations.  I like to be prepared.  Life doesn’t always afford us an opportunity to see what is coming.

So how can we deal with life’s stumbles and missteps?

  1. Understand that things happen – We can’t control everything. When it happens, don’t let it throw you. You simply can’t plan life.
  2. Take a timeout to regroup – These unplanned stumbles in life give us an opportunity to reflect and reset ourselves.  We need these times to take a break from the routine.
  3. Make a plan to move forward – We have a chance to see what has been done in the past and make adjustments to move forward.  Instead of reacting, we can look ahead with some clarity.
  4. Build upon your strengths – You know what you do best.  Focus on those things and work on your weaknesses.  Do what you can do.
  5. Leave fear behind – We all have fears about the unknown.  Let’s don’t let our fears keep us from moving forward.  Falling down happens but we can’t be afraid to get back up again.

Don’t let the unexpected or unplanned things that happen to you to keep you down.  I know it stinks when they do.  Absorb the blow and give yourself time to rebound from it.  Use the missteps to help you reset yourself.  We can let these moments be lessons that we can learn from to adjust our course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keep The Faith

For Easter my wife got me this necklace and it has meant a lot to me.  The message to “keep the faith” is now more of a reminder than ever before.  It also means a lot that she knows how important keeping the faith is to me.

So what does it mean to keep the faith?

It means to always strive to live a life that is pleasing to God and keeping my faith in Jesus Christ.  Now I know today people cringe and look at you sideways when you say the name of Jesus Christ but a life with Jesus means hope.  It never means I am perfect.  I am far from that.  I need God’s grace and mercy everyday.  That also means I need to show it to others which can be a challenge.  Keeping the faith doesn’t mean that I have the license to condemn other people or lifestyles that I don’t agree with.  It means that I live the best life that I can live because I can’t possibly live someone else’s life or debate anyone into living their life in a certain way.

There are challenges of keeping the faith.

It isn’t easy to keep the faith. The most difficult times are when you are trusting God when everything is going against you or what you are praying for.  Those times are the toughest of all.  Praying for people is the most difficult challenge for me because no one can force another person to change. God can’t even make someone act or do a certain thing.  As much as I want to reconcile with a person in my life, I can’t make it happen or pray enough to force God’s hand.  That’s not how it works.

It’s also difficult to be consistent in keeping the faith everyday.  I will be honest and admit that I get tired of praying sometimes. It’s not easy to pray when nothing changes or when things go totally in the opposite direction and when God doesn’t speak to me audibly.  He never has.  So, yes, the keeping part loses a little steam at times.  But, when those times come, I have to find ways to encourage myself which, for me, it comes from a song or the silence of mediation.

I will always, always remember the time that my Pa Pa said he liked my testimony at a surprise birthday celebration we had for him many years ago.  He said he liked my ability of sticking with God.  That has encouraged me many times over the years through some of the darkest times of my life.  Sticking with something means you have to put forth the effort.  It’s not a passive experience to keep the faith.

Keeping the faith doesn’t mean I have always had it easy.

It bothers me when I hear other believers complain of experiencing setbacks that is common to us all.  Just because we are believers doesn’t mean we won’t have a flat tire or have to deal with sickness.  Stuff happens regardless how strong our faith is. Sometimes it is a test but most of the time it’s just life.  Instead of asking WHY, I have learned to ask God HOW to get through it.   No, I don’t always get it right but I do the best I can.

Keeping the faith has always been who I am.

My parents did a good job raising me and teaching me how to act.  I developed my own faith from the foundation they poured for me.  Although our relationship has suffered setbacks in my adult life, I am eternally grateful for what they started in me.

I have always believed in God differently than most others do.  Unfortunately, I had to unlearn some things that the institution of the church taught which made God more like a perfectionist than one who is a loving father.  I was once a part of a church that focused more on keeping their rules and laws than a God that could be my friend.  It took a while to reboot my thinking and find a God that lives in the silence rather than the noise that I grew up with.  I learned that you don’t have to holler and scream to get God’s attention but that it comes with a quiet and listening mind.  

People may think I am crazy enough to believe that God can still perform miracles and do the impossible.  Sorry but I won’t apologize for it, that’s who I am.  One person even told me to my face that God doesn’t do things the way I believe that He can.  I guess they have their God in a neat, tiny box.  God can do whatever He wants to do whenever He wants to do it.  No one will ever take that away from me.

Keeping the faith means that I strive to be an anchor for my wife and family.  It took some hard times to get here but I am thankful for a God who has given me a second chance to be a better man and a woman who fits God’s description of a helpmeet.

So, I wear this necklace with determination and commitment.  I am not ashamed to do so.  It’s funny now wearing this necklace that speaks of my life’s statement would have been against the church teachings in my past.

Throughout my life I have been driven to keep the faith.  From times when I faced the lowest parts of my life and even wondered about living life at all to the times when keeping the faith has led me to what a good father God has been to me.

No, it’s not an easy thing to keep the faith but I can assure you that for me it has been worth it.