I do not know many people who enjoy the pressure and discomfort of change, growth or adversity. The reality is that we are being forged into the work that God has planned for us. There is a TV show where they take obscure and sometimes rejected metals and they turn them into works of art. They do this only through the intense heat of a forge, beating the metal into shape and grinding everything away that does not conform to the vision the bladesmith has for this specific piece. This metal will go through the forge as many times as needed before being quenched in order to solidify the metal in that blade.
Our lives are much of the same. We face challenges and adversity that we sometimes wonder if we will get through. The answer is yes. You will get through it as long as you do not run from it. If you run from it you find that you will probably run right back into it. I want to encourage you about part of this process. Do not resent the fire of the forge that you are going through. You may not want to be in the middle of this situation. But you are there, so let’s learn from it, develop our character and come out stronger on the other side. In the forging process the smith is heating the metal to remove the impurities, getting rid of weakness and shaping the character of this metal by heating the metal again and again..
This adversity is an opportunity to grow! John Maxwell says it like this; “Adversity can signal a coming positive transition if we respond correctly to it.” Realize that as the Pointman of your relationships, people are depending on you to do the right thing and lead them through the challenges to victory on the other side. If you respond correctly and handle this difficult situation properly, it could be the transition into a positive change in your life.
So that leaves us with some questions here.. How do we respond correctly to adversity?” There are so many ways to respond to this question, but I want to focus on three points.
- Have a right attitude
- Speak the right things
- Praise God in the storm
Attitude: We have heard many of the cliché statements about your attitude in a bad situation. The frustrating part is that they are all correct. Our attitude about a situation determines our approach, our view on attainability and even our success potential. So instead of giving you all these statements, lets look a real story of having a right attitude. If you take a look into the life of Joseph starting in Genesis 37 where his brothers sold him into slavery, right through to Genesis 47 where Joseph blesses his father and brothers with the best land in Egypt, you will notice that Joseph had a right attitude. I say this because Genesis tells us that God was with Joseph.
- Genesis 39:1-4 When Joseph was sold into slavery in Potiphar’s house.. The Lord was with him.
- Genesis 39:11-21 When Joseph was wrongly accused of rape and thrown in prison.. The Lord was with him.
- Genesis 39:23 “..The Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.”
If you read through this story you will find that every bad situation that Joseph found himself in was a road to his next promotion. If Joseph had not kept the right attitude and reacted wrongly, God could not have blessed him and promoted him as He did.
Our words: Proverbs 18:21 tells us that Life and death are in the power of the tongue. I will not pretend to be perfect at this, but I have committed to improving the words I speak in challenging situations every day. I will note that it is much easier to stay positive when you are reading the Bible as well as other books that are encouraging you in your Christian walk. Bottom line.. Read daily and Talk to God daily.
Praise God in the storm: Craig Groeschel recently did a series that talked about Habakkuk called “Hope In the Dark.” YouTube it! What an enlightening series! What I want to point our here is that both Jacob and Habakkuk wrestled with God. But Habakkuk struggles with God for two chapters about things that were not right and fair. But in the end he turned to praising God and when he did, the darkness was broken. The struggle was over. Praise changed his perspective on the entire situation. It is so critical to have the right perspective on a situation when you are trying to lead. Read Habakkuk, it is only 3 chapters.
Bottom line is that you do not need to enjoy the struggle and challenge of going through the fire. But it is critical that you do the right things to learn everything you can from the situation. What good is adversity if you do not learn or gain anything from it? Adversity is here to make you better, smarter, stronger and more resilient. Use the adversity in your life to improve!