How do singles overcome setbacks instead of being overcome by them?
If you want to thrive as a single person, the ability to overcome setbacks is an absolute necessity.
Some people spend a lot of energy trying to avoid trouble. Believe me, trouble is unavoidable. Successful people, instead, train themselves to make the proper response when trouble does strike.
As Christian singles, we can't always find someone to give us wise advice. We may read the Bible, talk with friends or relatives, then pray about the situation, but sometimes things are going to turn out badly.
is the key
What happens then? If we're to overcome setbacks, how do we prepare ourselves?
Nearly every time, we respond with our emotions instead of reason. Disappointment is natural, and nothing to be ashamed of. But after our initial disappointment, we have to decide whether we want to stay there, or whether we want to get through the situation by moving on.
Once you understand that your response is critically important, you'll be able to overcome setbacks much quicker.
"Oh no! The pity party!"
Everybody likes sympathy, and we singles are no different. We like to tell our troubles to our friends or family and have them say, "There, there. Life is so unfair to you."
In the southern United States, they call wallowing in your own misery a "pity party."
There's nothing wrong with wanting support and comfort when tragedy strikes, but no matter whether it's the death of a loved one, divorce, a relationship breakup, or a job loss, eventually we need to get on with our lives.
The sooner we do that, the sooner we can rise above hurt feelings and head for a brighter future.
A bad hair life
My mother told me a true story of a man she knew who became bald. Being nearly bald myself, I found it interesting.
It seems this fellow was so embarrassed and ashamed of his baldness that he began wearing a baseball cap to cover it. He was never seen without his baseball cap. His neurosis became so acute that he stopped going to church--because he couldn't wear his baseball cap inside the sanctuary.
Men have an excessive fear of baldness. I'm not happy about mine, but if people think less of me because of it, that's their problem, not mine.
The point is that this man let his setback ruin his life. He overreacted to something other people didn't even care about.
React, respond, then move on
So how can we overcome setbacks when they enter our lives?
- Allow yourself an emotional reaction. Don't try to squash your emotions or bottle them up when life goes wrong. Accept the hurt and grieve, but put a limit on it. Don't stay there.
- Respond in a way that makes you stronger than you were before. After grieving, look for the lesson. God always has a truth he wants you to learn when you're trying to overcome setbacks. Ask him to show you.
- Recognize that maturity is your goal, not sympathy. If you want to overcome setbacks, you have to be committed to perseverance. This is one of the few instances in life where stubbornness is a good thing.
Jesus, your encourager
Finally, we overcome setbacks best when we keep looking ahead instead of behind.
The most frightening list of setbacks in a person's life is Paul's account found in 2 Corinthians 11:24-26:
"Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers."
Ultimately, Jesus Christ is our greatest and most understanding encourager. If he could keep Paul going after all that, he can do the same for you.
Make no mistake. This response to setbacks is abnormal. It will go against your instincts. But if you want to make progress in the spiritual life, you'll have to leave the old, self-destructive ways behind.
You'll have to trust God with your failures and defeats. When you do, when you draw your strength to go on from Christ, you can overcome setbacks and live the happy, victorious Christian life.
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