Got problems? At work, in the home, or with friends? You are not alone. It’s a hard world we live in. An exercise that may help, however, is seeing them for what they really are: discipline from God. This is a great way for getting through them. Instead of being mad things aren’t landing in your lap or going your way, (I’ve been there- I am from the entitled generation, after all.) be thankful for anything God sees fit for you to endure. Rather than letting negative thoughts about the activity, conversation, etc. bring you down, use the adverse feeling to sense that there is something you are supposed to learn: how to solve the issue at hand. It’s not automatic; you may need time to process the negativity. But once you realize you are in a bad place, you can start thinking about the why behind it. Use the problem to your advantage. You control your mind and its thoughts. And if you don’t like the path your mind goes down, there are ways to change it. It’s called cognitive restructuring in fancy talk.
Elizabeth Scott, M.S., Stress Management Expert at Stress.com says
“Cognitive restructuring, a process of recognizing, challenging, and changing cognitive distortions and negative thought patterns can be accomplished with the help of a therapist trained in cognitive therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. However, in many cases results can also be achieved at home with the right information and commitment to change.” (http://stress.about.com/od/professionalhelp/a/Restructuring.htm)
So next time you have a problem, be aware and thankful that God is trying to teach you that exact lesson in my life. It’s not always pleasant to deal with life’s conundrums, but maybe He’s exposing you to them in low stakes environments because one day you’ll need to use them in more important situations. Maybe you need to show God you have mastered that skill in the first place so that you could even be moved on to the next level of where you are supposed to be in life. Matthew 25:21 says: “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ and Luke 16:10 says “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
Even if you aren’t supposed to move on to bigger things, or don’t want to, you will still be gleaning valuable skills that will set a great example for others, especially your children, helping them be more moral and diplomatic. In effect, you are changing the world into the kind of place you want it to be- congrats!
Some Bible verses about the very issue:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? …
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.