How to Persevere When Life is Difficult
I don’t know about you, but for me, this has been a particularly difficult stage of life. And that is not to say I am not happy, I am very happy, but some health problems have made life very exhausting and stressful lately. I have dealt with Overactive Bladder for over a decade, but since my pregnancy a few years ago these issues became almost unbearable and exhausting.
Of course, I know I have felt that previous stages of my life before this were difficult too.
And the thing is…life IS hard no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, the Bible pretty much guarantees it. Jesus says in John 16:33 –
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
If you are following Christ, life is going to be difficult. Not easy as some Bible teachers might have you believe. I am sorry, but that is just the truth.
And I do not want to pretend that my health struggles compare at all to those that are persecuted because of the name of Jesus. Honestly, in my mind, it just doesn’t compare. None the less, those that have ongoing health issues do struggle.
And over the last few months, I have begun to learn a pretty serious lesson about persevering when life gets difficult. And for me, and my family, the lesson learned has been to persevere when there are health struggles or when you need to stand up for yourself in regards to your health. I have learned that doctors are human and make mistakes, and you need to advocate for yourself.
Back in November, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder called interstitial cystitis after struggling with overactive bladder issues for over a decade. I went home devastated and threw out all of my fermented foods (because they would be forbidden) and began to try to figure out how I was going to go on with the bladder issues that were wearing me down.
At this point, I was going the bathroom approximately 20 times a day, with two to three of these times being in the middle of the night (on a good night). The thought that my problems might be caused by an auto-immune disorder that might never really get better was depressing. I have to be honest, at this point, I quit regularly writing for my blog. How could I write to encourage others when I was depressed myself?
Well, two weeks later the doctor told me that in fact, I was just drinking too much water and did not have an autoimmune disorder. I had been regularly drinking about 90 to 100 ounces of water a day and accidentally drank more than that during my evaluation time by inaccurately measuring my drinking glasses, and my doctor determined I was just drinking too many fluids.
I drastically reduced my water because of what the doctor had said. Two months went by with me second guessing myself. Were all of the bladder problems something I had imagined? Even though I had reduced my intake of water I was still going the bathroom frequently and just felt miserable.
Long story short, I prayed and asked God to give me guidance through this difficult time. I asked him to give me wisdom on whether or not to continue to try to pursue answers to my bladder issues. Was I really having an issue or was this just something I had made up in my head?
Finally after those two months, with my husband’s encouragement, I found another urologist that was two hours away. I live in an area where medical resources are scarce. And I wondered if the drive would be worth it, still second guessing myself.
After a few very uncomfortable tests, I learned that my urology issues stemmed from a tailbone injury when I was 16! The tailbone injury was causing something called Pelvic Floor Tension which was causing the muscles around my bladder to spasm constantly giving me the urge to go the bathroom.
I also learned that I had been drinking an appropriate amount of water, to begin with. My bladder was fine. Which was good news. And I have started physical therapy to help solve my problems and I am already seeing results.
The point of all of this is not to complain about a doctor or doctors in general, but to tell you that if you know something is not right to seek God’s guidance and trust your instincts. Or, if you have a goal that others do not agree with, but you have prayed about it and know that God is telling you to continue forward – persevere and do not give up.
Why Should We Persevere?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines perseverance as a “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition”. In other words, not giving up when life happens.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
You might not be struggling with a health issue like I have been. You might be struggling with a difficult relationship, or working towards a goal that sometimes seems unattainable. If you choose to persevere there are aspects of perseverance that might make it seem more bearable.
1. You will experience Spiritual Growth.
If you persevere and are following God’s will, we will experience spiritual growth. For me personally, I have found that times when I am struggling the most, at the end I feel so much closer to God and have gained some maturity.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
2. God loves you.
Even if you don’t feel like He does, at least know that God does love His children.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
1 John 3:1
And if you are suffering because of sin understand this –
Understand that God disciplines those He loves.
3. God will reward those who persevere.
It is important to understand that we might not see a solution to our struggles in this lifetime, but if we persevere God will reward us. It is possible that Paul suffered from an ailment that affected his eyesight until the day he died,
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Five Steps to Persevere When Life is Difficult
Prayer is our way to communicate with God when we are grateful and when we are in times of need. It is pretty amazing if you think about it, that we can communicate with our God directly.
Here are just a few scriptures that talk about how important prayer really is.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
2. Read the Bible.
I have found that if I am reading the Bible regularly than I am less likely to get upset. And the opposite is also true – if I am not reading my Bible regularly I am more likely to become stressed and overreact to little things. And when Momma’s calm the whole house is calm.
Reading the Bible protects you from evil and sin. It is part of the Armor of God.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
3. Don’t give up.
Don’t give up. And know that you aren’t struggling all alone. If you are following God’s will, you have Him on your side.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
4. Focus on the positive.
This is another step that is difficult but is so important. Each time I turn on the news our world seems a little more messed up than the day before. And that can make it extremely difficult to see life in a positive light instead of a negative one.
When I am struggling with anxiety or just getting overwhelmed by all the evil in the world I meditate on this verse –
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
If you are having a hard time focusing on the positive check out my post 4 Encouraging Verses for Discouragement and Anxiety.
5. Exercise and Eat Healthy
I am not going to lie. At this stage in my life, I am struggling with this one. I am finding it difficult to make my health a priority with a toddler and a tween that has a busier schedule than myself. I do want to make it a priority. Not only because it is the right thing to do biblically, I want to be a good example for my girls.
And this winter was a rough winter, we kept getting sick around here and I realized that it has probably been years since I have actually taken the time to rest. And so I did.
It is important to remember that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we should treat is as such.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I hope these verses and steps can help you if you are struggling in a difficult time. I have put together a few verses in a PDF, and if you would like to download them click the button below.
Do not give up and keep persevering!
Have a blessed day!