4 Ways to Build Faith During Difficulties

Most often it’s not what is happening to us that increases or decreases our faith, but how we interpret what is happening.

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Posted in , Oct 13, 2016

4 ways to strengthen your faith in tough times.

Family therapy pioneer and author Virginia Satir observed, “Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

Hardship and bad things happen to all of us, impacting our faith in God and in the future. Most often it’s not what is happening to us that increases or decreases our faith, but how we interpret what is happening.

The conclusion we draw about God during difficult times can drive us toward or away from our faith, but here are four ways to strengthen our faith in the midst of life’s challenges:

1)  Shift your perception.
This is what Jim Collins referred to in his book Good to Great as the “Stockdale paradox,” named after Admiral James Stockdale who spent eight years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. It means that you have to acknowledge the reality of your situation, but in the context of the larger story. In other words, don’t deny what you are facing but retain the faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of your difficulties.

After his release, Admiral Stockdale was asked by a reporter, “How in the world did you survive eight years as a prisoner?” He answered, “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.” We must retain our faith with a firm conviction that we will triumph because the end of the story hasn’t been written yet.

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2)  Pray.
Prayer helps us find our voice in difficult times. It’s the voice that expresses our deepest emotions: pain, doubt, fear, anger, resentment, loss, etc. Through prayer we expose our deepest vulnerability and surrender to the divine…God. When we can’t pray, others pray for us becoming our voice. Prayer empowers us to face tomorrow with faith.

3)  Practice gratitude.
Studies validate the impact of a grateful attitude on our emotions and overall health. Gratitude impacts our mood, way of thinking and outlook. Daily gratitude provides a hopeful outlook because we will find God’s goodness and light in bad and dark circumstances.

4)  Surround yourself with loving people.
No one makes it alone. Everyone needs a village to get through dark times. It doesn’t have to be a large group, but a few people you can call, email, talk to and count on.

These tools have helped me over the years to strengthen my faith when the storms of life have come my way. I strongly believe that when there is faith in the future, there is power in the present. What ways do you strengthen your faith in tough times? Please share with us.

Lord, as we face the challenges of life hear our prayers, surround us with loving people and help us to see Your goodness and to see things in a new light.

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