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At your wit's end and ready to just give up?

How To Contend For God’s Perfect Will In The Face Of Adversity

by Dec 7, 2018Addiction, Anxiety, Hope, Identity, Overcoming, Soul Health, Trust0 comments

Reading Time: 7 minutes

What does it mean to contend for God’s perfect will in the face of adversity? Is it even possible?

We’ve all heard the saying, “What we focus on grows”.

Focus on the adversity you’re dealing with, and the adversity gets bigger.

Focus on God’s truth regarding your adversity, and His truth gets bigger.

The more I study the mind and the more I practice the principle of focussing my thoughts on positive things, even in the face of adversity, the more I’m convinced as I change my mindset (my attitude) and shift what I’m focusing on, my life begins to be transformed.

Joseph’s life story and how he overcame such intense adversity, is a story I’ve been hanging onto regarding my own life’s adversity. Not only did he overcome the constant onslaught of adverse circumstances, but he found God’s perfect will for his life as a whole, in the midst of it.

In my last blog post, I wrote about his life’s story and how he processed the agony of sharing a common anguish with those he would’ve rather avoided. Like those who suffer at the hands of another.

In this post, I want to focus on the actions he did in order to overcome adversity and how, in the midst of it all, he found God’s perfect will for his life.

How Joseph Contended For God’s Perfect Will In The Face Of Adversity:

As a 17 year old teenager, Joseph received promises from God, via dreams, that he would one day be a leader. Even his own family would bow down to him. See Genesis 37.

As he shared his dreams with his brothers, they hated him even more than they already did. They were already jealous of his favored position with their father.

His so called “dream” and their involvement of “bowing down to him”, egged them on to treat him with contempt. So they threw him into a pit, sold him as a slave, and lied to their dad about what happened to his beloved Joseph.

Thus marks the beginning of one stressful event after the next in Joseph’s life. It made God’s plan for him look like it was no longer valid. Obliterated. Never going to happen.

Contending For An Eternal Perspective In His New “Normal”

As Joseph’s life continued with his new “normal” as a slave, he eventually came to a point where he knew he had to make some hard choices within himself, if he was going to have any quality of life.

“Am I going to let my life’s circumstances define me and victimize me?”

“Or am I going to rise above them and potentially change the trajectory of what appears to be my ‘no good’ life?”

Somewhere along his journey of processing what happened to him, he decided he was NOT going to let it morph him into being someone he wasn’t. He made a firm decision with himself, he was going to stay true to the person he believed himself to be: One who trusts in God to see him through to the other side of his adversity. No. Matter. What.

This is what I call #bulldogfaith

As he continued his journey of processing, he came to a realization. His battle was no longer with the Devil nor with his brothers. It was with himself and his own mindset toward his adverse circumstances.

Yes, they were terrible! That was obvious!

But he came to terms with himself that casting blame on this person or that person or even on the devil himself, would only keep him stuck right where he was.

If he was going to get unstuck, he knew he had to let go of blame, take back his life by taking full responsibility for it (regardless of where he actually was!), and hold onto his faith that God’s original promises to him were true even though they looked farther away than they ever could.

What happened on the inside of Joseph during this season of contending with his own attitude (mindset), not only changed him from the inside out, but shifted EVERYTHING else in his life!

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I’m sure he wasn’t perfect all the time in how he processed his thoughts and emotions.

I’m sure he struggled and contended with them for a really long time.

I’m sure many times he was an emotional wreck and didn’t make the best choices for himself while being emotionally heightened.

However, over time, his grip on the decisions he made in his mind, became stronger than the grip his emotions had on him.

Overcoming Adversity STARTS With Two Key Decisions:

ONE: Return to being true to yourself – to your God-given identity.

Our ability to overcome adversity hinges on our self perception. Knowing who we are and whose we are, determines whether we will fully overcome or not. It’s from this solid foundation of confidently knowing our God-given identity – that we WILL overcome.

It’s not a matter of IF we overcome – but WHEN we overcome.

TWO: Come to terms with the fact your battle is more within yourself – in your mindset and attitude regarding your adversity – than it is with anyone or anything else.

Even though our battle is not with flesh and blood, but against principalities of this dark world (Eph 6:12) – the battle of who we choose to align our thoughts with and what we choose to focus on, is fought in our own minds.

Once we choose to align ourselves with God’s original promises to us – we become unstoppable!

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These two decisions are TOUGH! Especially when we have to make them in the face of adversity. However, if we can grab a hold of them in our mind first, our emotions will eventually follow, and we WILL advance forward and overcome. #preachingtomyself

Charles Swindoll once said,

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than success, than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you, we are in charge of our attitudes.

You might be thinking, “Heather, you don’t know what I’m dealing with! How can you possibly minimize all that I’m feeling?! Reducing it down to a simple “decision” to change my mindset – my attitude – regarding the adversity I’m facing!”

All I can say, is I get it! Genuinely. 😥 I’m right there with you in the war of my own adversity.

However, when I think of those who have gone before us, like Joseph, I’m reminded there’s another way of looking at adversity. An eternal way that will serve us better than simply staying stuck inside our miserable heap of emotions.

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As we change our mindsets (our attitudes) and shift our focus, we will begin changing the trajectory of our lives. We may not see it immediately, but through the process of contending with our thoughts and emotions, we open ourselves up to receiving from our adversity versus letting our adversity deplete us.

Why am I so confident of this?

Because Romans 12:2 says,

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

As we change the way we think, we will be transformed AND learn to know God’s will for our lives. That includes all things that encompass our lives as a whole including adversity. Knowing God’s will, gives us the upperhand in how we navigate life and life’s adversity – setting us up to overcome and live transformed lives!

 

Author:  Heather Berg

Author: Heather Berg

Certified Life Coach

I help people discover their true God-given identity and what they're already made of so they can break through barriers, overcome adversity, and live the life they were created to live. My heart is to empower people with tools to get unstuck and find true freedom and transformation despite their circumstances.

Going through my own life's seasons of hardship, I am fully persuaded that unless we know who we really are and whose we really are, we'll forever stay stuck. Let's leave these defeating mindsets and move forward in life, love, and purpose!

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