Life is a highway and a rollercoaster ride.  It has it’s ups and downs, its dips and its potholes. So what happens when we hit one of them? When we take a detour, or worse, make a u-turn on the road of life?  Do we throw in the towel?  Grab a box of chocolates, donuts, or a bottle of booze? Is it even possible to keep our peace and joy when “unfair” and unexpected hardships come our way?

The answer is yes, and since I’m getting yet another opportunity to practice my pothole navigation techniques, thought I’d jot them down and share them with those who may have hit a pothole or two themselves recently.

First and foremost, I remind myself of one major truth. God is in control and I am not.  Kind of puts things in a better perspective, doesn’t it? Now, I may not like, agree with or even understand why a certain situation or series of events happens, but this I do know. God allows – say allows – circumstances to shape us and mold us.

Like the clay in the potter’s hand, we can only be shaped and molded if we are pliable! In other words: soft, non-resistant, surrendered. I don’t stamp my feet, wring my hands or shake my fist at the universe in protest. Nor do I go out and blow my diet, my budget, or my temper. I believe it was Oprah Winfrey who coined the phrase, “All stress comes from resisting what is.” I love that! When I surrender to the realities of life, I don’t waste my energy, lose my peace or my joy. I just accept the fact that God allowed something to happen for a reason.

Then it’s time for praise. What you say? Praise? Yes, praise. As in praising God. For those who may not be familiar, praise comes in several forms such as singing, worshipping, lifting up the names of God, praying out loud. Don’t ask me how it works, all I know is that it does work. When I lift up the name of Jesus, something in the atmosphere changes. My focus changes. The heaviness I may be feeling, dissipates. Since I didn’t expend all my energy or time bemoaning or complaining, I have energy to praise and praise is POWERFUL!!! Tip to the wise : if something is difficult to do, it is probably because it has the most benefit to you. Think about that one for a bit.

Somehow when I start praising God, the cobwebs clear. My joy level starts to percolate like the morning coffee. While I’m thinking about it, praise makes a great way to start your day, so next time you put on that a.m. pot of coffee, sing a song to God and then see how much better your day goes. But, I digress.

Sometimes, God will intervene and remove the situation.Don’t we love it when that happens? But more often, we just have to ride it out with a smile on our face, I might add.  There is a lesson to be learned and it will become clear sooner or later. We only lengthen the duration of the test if we have a dour sour attitude.

So, to recap. When we are going through a difficult time and things are not going the way we would like, we can choose to respond in ways that will preserve our joy.
1) Acknowledge the sovereignty of God
2) Surrender our will to the situation
3) Praise  God for his great love, plan, and purpose in our life.
4) Ask God to reveal the lesson that He wants us to learn.

Hope these pointers help you circumnavigate the next pothole you come across. Until next time, check out this video by one of my favorite bands, Rascal Flatts, and do forward this to a friend who may need to hear it as well!

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