Problems are going to happen, be ready for the next one by learning these three problem solving strategies people often forget! In life, we are going to be dealt some hands we may not be able to control, but we can adjust how we react to it. Let me share a personal story with you before we get to the 3 problem solving strategies.
Years ago, I went sailing in a Butterfly sailboat. This sailing trip wasn’t just for leisure, but for clarity in life and direction. Engaging in the outdoors helps me put things in perspective and take a step back to look at the picture I’m in. This particular solo sail was different than my previous marine quests. It was in the fall, in beautiful Michigan. Gray skies, inconsistent wind, and cool temperatures circled me, but I went anyway.
My husband was working on his computer while I ventured out on the water. As I left I said, “Honey, please keep an eye on me. If I tip over, I might need your help,” He replied back with, “Yeah, no problem. Have fun.”
Off I went. The wind pressed my face. The sound of the wake soothed my spirit. This is just what I needed, then WHOOSH! A gust of wind caught the sail. I quickly loosened my grip on the rope. My skin prickled as I stood vertical for a few seconds; then the boat crashed back down where I almost tipped over backward! “That was a close one,” I said out loud. I continued to get random gusts. My grip on the rope ached.
A circumstance is a condition that accompanies a fact or an event. We all face circumstances (a.k.a. problems) in life. And we all are challenged by how we react to them. We can throw a fit, fight it, or blame everyone…but ourselves; however, our other choice is to tighten our belt, accept the challenge, and work through it.
In Psalm 16:8 David says this about circumstance, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (NIV) If only I practiced this throughout my life. I’ve been through many problems where I threw fits and blamed others…not proud moments of mine. But when I give the problem to God for him to figure it out, the circumstance isn’t as big as I make it anymore.
When the wind blows
With the wind howling and my grip weakening, I started to head back to shore. WHOOSH! The boom shot out! The rope burned my palms. I couldn’t control it. “Oh crap!” Into the water I went.
After fully realizing what just happened, and seeing that the wind was pushing the tipped-over boat. I looked to the shore for my husband. Eck-em’…I looked to the shore for my husband. Hmm. Husband?
“Okay, I can do this,” I coached.
With all my might, I shimmied up the daggerboard with my lifejacket on…this is a lot harder than it seems. From past experiences, I knew I had to stand on the board and lean back to get the sail out of the water. The only problem was that I was by myself and was worried the wind would grab hold of the sail and the boat would take off. As soon as the boat flipped up-right, I clinched the edge. Sure enough, the wind got a hold of the sail and I quickly got my body back in the middle of the boat. I took hold of the rudder and carefully managed the sail, but the wind gusts yelled at me. This was a bad idea.
My mind raced. I was about 150 yards from the dock. Whitecaps were forming. Darker clouds were approaching. And there was no way I could sail without tipping again. I looked to the shore for my husband. Hmm. Where was he?
“Oh help me God,” I prayed.
Then I got an idea, take the sail down and swim back.
3 powerful problem solving strategies people often forget
How is this making me feel? Who is this affecting besides me? What values do I have that are above this circumstance? What can I learn from this? How can I solve this puzzle of a problem? What are my options?
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) Discipline isn’t a bad word, it helps direct us. We have the power to discipline ourselves. We can discipline our tongues, actions, and even thoughts. To help us, we can feed on goodness…good music, positive movies, healthy conversations, healthy clean food, and the words and stories of the Bible. Even just a little bit can make a big impact.
We pray and ask for help while we try everything in our power to manage the circumstance. We give it all to God and let God be who He is, our Savior. Have you heard, “If we do our part, then He will do His”? Do what we can to move forward while praying for Him to do His work in you.
“You can’t be a prisoner of your circumstances.”Joyce Meyer
Wrapping problem solving strategies up
I swam the boat back to the dock that day. I faced my problem; in fact, I jumped right into it. It was humbling, it was cold, and it was hard, but I used what God gave me and saw Him help me through it.
This sailboat experience is just a small physical example of how we cannot control all the problems that happen to us. I know my sailing event doesn’t compare to unemployment, infertility, sickness, loss, expenses, and broken relationships…or does it?
What is one small step you can do to help manage a problem you’re facing now?
Be sure to check out my other posts to keep moving forward.
By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.