“Never wish that life were easier, wish that you were better.” – Jim Rohn
Great things from great people come out of hard times… On the other hand, “nothing” is what comes from people who play the victim, become apathetic or bitter, and give up, but you don’t really hear much about their “nothingness” in history.
My Girls, there are going to be hard at times. I don’t care how much your mother and I set you up for success, life is still going to be difficult now and then, because wherever you go, there you are, and wherever you are, there will be seasons when things won’t go as well as you hoped. There’ll be illness, unexpected bills, all sort of loss, drama in relationships, and true unmitigated evil may even come upon you. That’s the way it is for everyone, whether you’re poor or rich, white, black, brown, or any shade in between – hard times don’t discriminate. Sure, they may look and sound different between regions and tax brackets, but the end result is the same… you have to decide, “Are you going to play the victim, or are you going to suck it up, persevere, and overcome?” The answer you come up with will determine your level of success in life from that point on (unless you change your answer).
Now Girls, in my days I’ve faced hard times as both a Believer and an unBeliever, so depending on your Faith (and that’s your decision – I’ve set you up for success there the best I can, but ultimately that’s between you and God)… anyway, depending on your Faith, I recommend the following approaches to persevering and even thriving in hard times:
As an unBeliever:
- Assess the situation and figure out what’s real – understanding your true reality is crucial.
- Create a vision for a better future – paint that picture with a lot of detail.
- Assess your resources (time, money, knowledge, skill, relationships, etc…). What do you have available to reach that vision?
- Develop a plan.
- When things get harder focus on the details of that better future – not the problems or misery of today.
- If Step 5 doesn’t work, trying being bitter or hating someone or something. This is called blameshifting, and it doesn’t actually help, but it does distract you so that you don’t have to acknowledge how much you’re contributing to your own misery (sarcasm). In Step 6 things will continue to get worse until you decide to fix what you’re doing to make your life hard, and through this bitterness or hate, you’ll hit rock bottom (eventually – hopefully), but I’ve seen people waste their entire lives in bitterness and anger – try not to do that.
- Live one day at a time until the hard times pass.
As a Follower of Jesus:
Well… hmmm… Do the same thing as above, but delete the whole bitterness and hate-thing (Step 6), and insert “Give your fear, worries, bitterness, and hate to Jesus in Prayer (frequently), surround yourself with other Believers who are willing to help you see Truth through the hard times, and take one more step in Faith.”
My Girls, I persevered and actually thrived through many tough times (a couple of decades or so) in True Grit fashion… I accomplished a lot with pride, anger, and judgemental hate, but it left me empty, and by the time I was 33, I was ready to Follow Jesus. I Hope and Pray that I’ve taught you how to endure anything life can throw at you, but I also Hope that I’ve taught you how to Keep the Faith regardless of the difficulties you see today, so that when you reach the end of however many days you have in this life, you’ll leave a legacy – not regrets.
Challenge Question: How will you approach or prepare for your hard times TODAY?