Life throws us curve balls. It’s part of being human.
We have challenges in myriad forms, every one of us. Some challenges are self-chosen, like training for a marathon, changing careers, or getting a puppy. Others are gifted to us by Life University, like a broken bone, health and weight challenges, or caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s.
Oftentimes the challenges we choose can inspire us, grow us into new phases of our lives, or give us a sense of accomplishment. In other words, these challenges can energize us.
Challenges we do NOT choose can often burden us, feel like a crippling blow, or give us a sense of powerlessness. In other words, these challenges can deplete us.
So HOW do we keep Life’s challenges from sucking the life force right out of us? Facing challenges requires stamina, effort, and energy. If we feel victimized because circumstance was forced on us, our energy is stolen before we begin, and the challenge quickly drains us.
Choose the Challenge
One strategy that can preserve our precious life force (ENERGY) is to choose the challenge. Yes – the unwanted challenge that Life just threw in your lap. Choose that one. Why? Because it’s the one Life gave you, so it’s meant for you! Hating it, despising it, resisting it, and running away from it drains energy faster than anything.
Choosing to be with the challenge gives us power. Choosing to be present – with whatever life hands us – gives us energy. Wishing we didn’t have the challenge exhausts us. The simple act of choosing to be here, challenge and all, shifts the energy in our favor.
Many clients come to me with challenges they did not choose, do not want, and wish to be rid of quickly. Often they have the idea that this unchosen challenge must be overcome so their ‘real life’ can begin. But real life is here and now. If we wait for it to begin at some distant point in the future, we are missing life!
Life handed us a challenge. We can choose to cast ourself as the victim, resist the challenge, and try to survive till it’s over – at which time we will presumably step into our power and begin our real life. Right? Or we can choose to live our lives right through this challenge, rising to meet it at each step, and retaining as much energy as possible.
Let’s take a broken ankle for an example. How do we choose a challenge like this?
I seriously doubt that a broken ankle is asking us to get a walking cast and stomp right on as if nothing happened. How do I know this? Because ‘business as usual’ is what Life is trying to shake up! Life is asking us to grow in new directions.
Choosing this challenge might mean accepting help from others, letting go of commitments, or learning to care for self – it’s different for each of us. Rising up to meet this challenge might mean slowing down! If Life is asking us to slow down with a broken ankle and we do not slow down, Life will deliver another challenge and another and another – until we slow down.
Choosing the challenge means getting curious about what Life is asking us to learn, and doing our best to listen for the lesson. We are not being punished. The challenge is never a punishment.
We are being asked to grow and mature into the competent, confident beings that we truly are! Life is trusting us with this lesson at this time because Life knows we’re ready. We can trust Life, relax into the challenge, and get curious.
When we choose the challenge, the challenge is still challenging, we just have more energy to meet it, learn from it, integrate its gifts, and grow. In other words, we allow it to energize us instead of deplete us.
Does your current challenge feel energizing or depleting?
What is this challenge asking you to learn?
If this challenge has a message from the Divine, what is the message?
What insight have you gained from this challenge?
How is this challenge asking you to grow as a person, or grow in relationship with others?