“We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.” Romans 5:3-5
I’ll be really upfront; I am not a super Christian that has reached the level I boast in my troubles. However, when I get past the acute stage of the trouble, can start to look at how God is using the trouble to bring about something in my life, even if I can’t see the good yet.
I have the choice to focus on the trouble I am facing, or remind myself, this too will pass. Regardless of how bad it is, I will eventually endure through it. Every day will not be “this bad”. I can look toward the positive or I can stay focused on the trouble. I may not be able to make the trouble end; I can control where I put my thoughts. I can learn to tolerate what I am unable to change.
I am not writing about doing nothing when I say tolerate it. If I am experiencing the trouble of someone else’s bad choices, I can set healthy boundaries. I can hold healthy boundaries. I can however accept that I don’t have control over someone else’s poor choice. I am not talking about learned helplessness, or a victim mentality that “I can’t do anything because I don’t have the power.” I can take control back of my life, that is something I can do. I can accept that I can’t undo my past choices, it doesn’t mean I can’t make new ones going forward.
When I write “Learn to tolerate what you can’t change” I am writing about trouble like a cancer diagnosis or the death of a loved one. Something that really is outside of my control to change. I can pray for healing but even that answer is outside my control. I can do what I can, but choosing to tolerate what I can’t change just takes away the added trouble of trying to change what is outside my control. I can grieve the trouble and move forward with what I can do.
Stop trying to fight what you can’t change, begin tolerating trouble.
Recently my husband and I got into a disagreement. He was not doing what I wanted, in my time frame. It caused trouble in our communication and despite the fact that I teach conflict resolution and communication skills in marriage, I was not in the mood to practice it. I wanted things my way. I admit I was my trouble, which is often my case. I am strong-willed, opinionated, and often passionate when the three combine I can be immovable, except by God.
As I was talking to God in prayer, complaining about how my husband was creating this trouble me. I was focused on what my husband wasn’t doing. Since I had already threw my temper tantrum, I knew God was the only one going to change his mind and get him to do what I wanted. As I sat there, not boasting in my trouble, but letting my trouble be my focus, God showed me I needed to change my attitude! The nerve! He started showing me all the things my husband does do that I want him too. He showed me the important things that he does for me. He showed me how he so willing does things for me, even if they are not things that are important to me.
God shifted my focus and showed me I needed to tolerate what I could not change. My temper tantrum didn’t guilt him into magically wanting to do what I wanted. God showed me in the moment that I had the ability to stop making a big deal out of it. I could wait for my husband to do it in his timing. I could communicate why it was important to me. However, I could not make my husband do what I wanted. Instead, God moved me to tolerating trouble.
As Christians. we have an ultimate hope in Jesus Christ. He doesn’t ask for us to deny our troubles. He does want us to stop letting our troubles deny Him. He has already overcome. He will never leave us. He has the solution to our trouble if we will just stop making the trouble bigger than Him.
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