When you face a challenge do you want to RUN AWAY or PRESS IN AND MOVE FORWARD? Maybe you avoid a challenge like the plague or just pretend it doesn’t exist.

If I ignore it, it’ll go away, right? How easy it is to ignore the elephant in the room.

Like it or not, challenges are a key part of life. Challenges develop your character.

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It’s new territory for many of us to realize that a challenge is actually a catalyst for change and learning! It’s a novel idea, perhaps, but these challenges have the potential to create a deeper and more authentic relationship with God and others than ever before, when we embrace them as an opportunity.

Here are a few ways to face your challenge and see God make it an opportunity:

GO AHEAD: DO THE NEXT THING

No matter how big the challenge, don’t allow it to paralyze you. Do the next thing. Move towards the solution of the situation you are facing.

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CHANGE YOUR FOCUS

Instead of staring at the challenge, change your focus. Begin looking in new, positive and creative directions for answers and solutions. Focus on the possibilities and God gives you opportunities.

Philippians 3:13-14 “. . .I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on . . .”

BE AN OVERCOMER

Overcome the feelings of fear or the obstacles holding you back. Ask for help.

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First: Ask God for help.                                                                                                                                  Second: Ask Him to guide you to the person(s) or place He has provided for you in this moment.                Third: Audibly say the words “I need help . . .”

I wanted to share a wonderful true story, The Magnolia Miracle by Edna Ellison. This story was such an inspiration to me I decided to pass it on. Learn how to face your challenge and see God make it an opportunity for His glory.

 

Edna had one goal in mind: Her daughter’s wedding was going to be perfect. Like most mothers-of-the-bride, she had planned for months, organizing every detail with drill-sergeant precision.

She wished her husband was still alive to enjoy this special moment in their daughter’s life, and she missed his broad shoulders as she carried the weight of the responsibility alone.

The wedding day neared and Edna met with the floral designer to discuss the final details for decorating the church. “Edna, why don’t we use fresh greenery and magnolia blossoms for the front of the sanctuary?” the florist suggested. “You can probably find a magnolia tree in your neighborhood, and it will save you some money. We’ll decorate the day before the wedding, and then we can turn the air-conditioning really low so the blossoms will stay fresh until after the ceremony.”

The next morning, Edna and her future son-in-law arrived at the church. The temperature that day was a blazing 107 degrees. Upon opening the church doors, a blast of hot air hit them instead of the refreshing coolness they had expected. They discovered that a storm during the night had knocked the power out and the air-conditioning had been off.

Edna entered the sanctuary and was horrified to see that the once glossy white magnolia blossoms were now wilted and black.

She panicked. Turning to her future son-in-law, she said, “What will we do? We can’t have people come to a wedding with black flowers and we only have a few hours until the ceremony!”

“Drive around and find whatever flowers you can and bring them back.”

Edna drove through the neighborhood surrounding the church and finally saw a magnolia tree in the distance. She pulled in the driveway, rushed from the car, and knocked frantically on the door.

When an elderly man answered, she blurted, “I need you.” She quickly shared the wedding-disaster story.

The eighty-six-year-old man grabbed a step stool; then he cut the blossoms and handed them to Edna. She thanked him profusely.

As she turned to leave, he said, “You don’t realize what just happened here.”

She looked at him quizzically. Tears welled in his eyes as he explained, “My wife died on Monday. Tuesday night, we received friends at the funeral home down the road.” A trail of tears trickled down his wrinkled cheeks. “We buried her on Wednesday, and on Friday, all my children went home.”

He struggled to get the next words out. Edna grasped his hand, waiting for him to finish.

“Now it’s just me, and the house is so empty. I fed my wife every bite the last few years, and she doesn’t need me anymore. My children are gone and they don’t need me, either. I feel so alone.Right before you came, I shook my fist at God and shouted, “God, does anybody need me? As the words left my mouth, you knocked on the door and the exact words you said were, “I need you.”

In a halting voice, he continued, “While I was cutting the magnolia blossoms for you, it dawned on me that maybe I can have a flower ministry and take some flowers to people at the nursing homes and hospitals to help brighten their days.”

Edna wiped the tears from her cheeks; overwhelmed as she realized that God had fine-tuned the details of her child’s wedding day so that one of his hurting children could hear the words “I need you.”

Where do you see yourself in this story?

Are you willing to welcome your challenge as a gift—a character lab, so to speak.

How can you embrace your challenge as an opportunity to grow and see God make it into something only He can do?

May you be brave enough to be vulnerable, strong enough to reach out, and may you meet God in new ways as you connect with Him in your challenge.

We’d love to hear from you. Share your God story!

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Author Jayme Hull

Jayme Hull is a dynamic speaker and passionate mentor who motivates audiences to invest in others through mentoring. Shaped by countless mentors over the past, Jayme now has the privilege of mentoring millenial women for the past thirty-five years. As a Church Mentoring Consultant she trains Church leaders how to successfully produce mentor programs.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Lori Bachman says:

    Jayme, this is such an encouraging post about doing the next, best, right thing. And the story of the magnolias and the gentleman who needed to be needed…a beautiful reminder how we need to have eyes to see that need in others.

    • Jayme Hull says:

      Thanks so much, Lori! The magnolias story really touched my heart too! I knew when I heard the story I had to share it with others. Thanks again for all of your blogs, books, speaking and sharing to encourage others to mentor and pour into others. You are such a blessing!

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