I am so excited for you all to meet my friend Gabe from Red Hot Mindset who is a great inspiration to me. She has agreed to write about how to keep the faith and shares her own personal struggles which I hope encourages you in your own walk with God.
My whole world seemed to be crashing down on me as I sat at the orthopedic clinic and the doctor gave me the dreaded news about my ankle, “Surgery. Six months no running.”
See, I’m an avid runner, and it is in this place that I feel the closest to God. It’s my peaceful time with me and my own thoughts, but on a warm December day, while running with a friend, this all changed. I slipped on a patch of black ice (and, no, I don’t run on ice – I usually have to preface that).
So many thoughts flooded my mind. What would I do for exercise? How could this be? Why did this happen to me? Why me? Do you ever question times of trial like I did that day? Do you question how to stay strong when things get tough?
I know a broken ankle seems menial in the grand scheme of things. After all, it’s just an ankle; it will heal. But for me it was my livelihood. I’m a run coach, and I use my running to inspire others and go after big, burly goals. It makes me tougher and more disciplined in all areas of my life.
I had a choice to make that day. Would I give up and call it quits on running for good? Or would I persevere, fight through this injury, and come out the other side stronger?
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Sure, it’s a cute saying, but how do you actually find the strength to keep going when things get tough? How do you remain physically and mentally tough?
How do You Find Strength in Tough Times?
First of all, you need to know that hard times will come – reassuring, I know. God didn’t say we wouldn’t go through trials or hard times. He actually said they would come! However, He did say when things get tough, He’d be right there with us to help us through.
- Get honest with God – Let Him know how you’re feeling. You don’t have to guard your heart with Him. He already knows, so why not be vulnerable and share all your fears, anxieties, and pains with Him?
- Focus on gratitude – Rather than looking at the trial as an insurmountable struggle, find some good and cling to that. When we focus on the struggle, it’s harder to see through it. If we focus our attention on a positive (big or small), we will be able to see more clearly and fight our way out of the struggle a bit easier.
- Seek out community – Don’t be too good to ask for help! It’s hard to drop our egos and admit that we can’t do it on our own, but that’s the beauty of community! Others want to help you, but if you don’t ask, they won’t know how. Let them in. Don’t go through your struggle alone.
Going through Hard Times Makes You Stronger
Hard times are like stepping into the fire, with God as our silversmith chipping away at the impurities and rough edges, shaping and molding us, and refining us. That’s what our struggles do. They refine us. They shape us. They build character. It’s in the hard times that our character is revealed.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5
When things get tough, don’t give up. Find that perseverance deep inside and press on knowing that with perseverance comes the building of character, and with the building of character comes hope, and hope does not disappoint. You can do it, you can keep the faith!
How do You Keep Your Faith in Hard Times?
So, how do we keep the faith when our situation is begging us to give up?
- Keep your eyes upward – know where your hope comes from. Your hope is in the Lord.
- Pray – Talk to God vulnerably. Share your thoughts, hopes, and fears with Him. Praise Him for who He is and what He will teach you through this struggle (no matter how hard this is, it’s an important step). Allow God to speak to you through it.
- Journal – Get your thoughts out on paper. Be raw and real with where you’re at and where you want to go. What is your mindset right now? Where are you emotionally? What thoughts are going through your mind? What questions are rising in your spirit? Put it all on paper as a release.
- Trust – Proverbs 4:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Lean into God. His ways are higher than our ways, but His plans will prevail, and He will use our mess and make it our message if we let Him.
- Seek Help – We talked about community earlier, but I have to reiterate this because it is vital. Don’t go at it alone. Seek out a trusted friend or family member to be the rock you need in this season. Find a small group with women who are working through similar struggles so you can support each other. Seek professional help if you need it, and do not feel shame for having to do so. Isn’t God good that he created professional services to help us in our deepest hurts?
Bible Verses about Hard Times
Let’s go over a few verses. These are key to helping you keep the faith when you want to give up.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
We can keep the faith because we are not alone!
“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God. My times are in your hands.’” – Psalm 31:14-15
“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:2
Honestly, isn’t David’s faith amazing?!
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Be sure to check out Gabe’s awesome podcast!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:10-13
Finding Peace When Things get Tough
We have a choice to make at the point of struggle. Do we give up or do we persevere? Have you ever heard someone say, “If you’re passing through hell, don’t stop?” If we choose to buckle under pressure, we will remain in our misery. If we choose to press forward, we have an opportunity for growth. Read more about the Bible and persistence.
At the time, breaking my ankle seemed like the end of the world to me, but it actually became a gift when I chose to walk the healing process out. When I chose to step into that fire of refinement and let God use my trial, I realized that trials can become triumphs. What we struggle through we are able to use to help others find their own victory. I heeded the call to slow down, simplify, and focus in on what was truly important – my relationship with my Creator.
Many are under the false impression that the Christian life should be problem-free, so when life gets tough, they draw back in disappointment. Don’t fall under this illusion! Choose to persevere through the storms with God.
Problems and struggles are painful to walk through, but they’re inevitable in this life. See them as opportunities to grow in character and toughness. Let God use them. You can’t have victory without a struggle, and you can’t win without a fight.
God encourages persistence in all areas of our lives – especially in our struggles. Where currently in your life do you need more persistence? Strong character develops as you struggle through tough conditions. When things get tough, choose to get going! Keep the faith! Trust God to work out the struggle for His good. One thing I know is that He never disappoints and trusting in Him and His time and His plan lead to peace.
Gabe Cox is a faith-based author and podcaster who uses her passion for running to explore ideas around mental training, simplicity, and goal-setting. Her mission is to help women step into the fire of refinement so they can come out stronger and crush their goals, God’s way! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram.