There are many ways we commonly look at obstacles in our lives– sometimes with fear, or with anger, or with frustration, or overwhelm, or resignation, or sometimes even guilt or depression.
But there’s one way, perhaps the best way, to view an obstacle that doesn’t usually occur to us at all: that the obstacle is meant to be there.
That’s right: meant to be there.
If we believe that our lives are here for a purpose, and that we are God’s children, then we can make a conscious choice that any obstacle, any challenge, any problem, any failure, is meant to be in our path.
Saying that it is meant to be there allows us to do two valuable things:
1- it allows us to defuse all those unhealthy emotions like fear and frustration and anger.
2- it allows us to start being curious and asking good questions like “Ok, why was this placed in my path?” “What should I do about it?” “What am I supposed to learn from it?” “How can I grow in this situation?”
Now, acknowledging that the obstacle is meant to be there doesn’t mean we resign ourselves to it or become a passive victim. As a matter of fact, dropping all the negative emotions frees us up to devote ourselves fully to one of three options:
1- active waiting– perhaps the obstacle is like a red light– maybe God is saying “it’s not best to go forward yet, wait and when the time is fully right I will open up the way”
2- conquering it– maybe you are meant to take a step of strength and courage and faith to help you grow. Having that difficult conversation with your spouse or your boss are excellent examples of when the obstacle appears for you to conquer it.
3- finding a new way– maybe the obstacle is there for you to take a different and better path that you would never have found if it wasn’t for the obstacle. For those of you who know the story of me and my dear wife Tina, if it wasn’t for the obstacle of me forgetting my Kohl’s card one evening, I wouldn’t have chosen a different path, walked into Kirkland’s and met the love of my life. Now what if I had gotten angry or frustrated or depressed over forgetting my card, and just drove away?
Taking the attitude that every obstacle is meant to be there frees us to see and take God’s path for our lives. What obstacle could you adopt the attitude that it is meant to be there today?