Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

When Life Keeps Handing You Lemons: Handling The Difficulties Of Life

God Illness Stress difficulties Unhappiness .jpg

Lately I’ve been thinking about this quote from the Bible:

“God only gives us what we can handle.” 

While it’s often said that this quote appears in the Bible, that is a fallacy. Instead, the actual verse goes like this:

“No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it. “~Corinthians 10:13

SPOILER: Don’t worry.  I’m not going to start preaching about religion, the existence of G-d or espouse my personal beliefs.

It’s inevitable that life will throw us curves as we age.  If we’re lucky, we live a life filled with many blessings, and the darkness of illness, financial hardships or despair rarely comes our way.

But unfortunately that is not always the case.  While it seems as if some people sail through life unscathed by darkness, others seem to have darkness dumped on them. When that happens, it feels as if a pitching machine is throwing curve balls at you while you stand still, too paralyzed to move.

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” ~Buddha  

Life has been throwing me many curve balls lately, and although I try to stay strong and positive, there are times when I just give up.

I give in to sadness, and begin to feel sorry for myself. I’m only human.

I see friends traveling around the country and wish I could join them. I see healthy, vibrant people not being weighed down by the worry of illness.  I’m jealous of anyone living in a warm climate and not having to deal with this unnerving winter weather. (How many more days until spring???)

Snow Difficulties

Feeling this way  won’t change anything, and it’s a destructive and useless way to be. But what can I do to change it?

As we age, it’s important for us to learn how to focus on getting through the difficulties of life as best as we can. There are a myriad of ways to do this.  Here are some I’m going to try.  How about you?

  1. Do what you love.  Playing a sport, spending more time with your children, joining a gym, writing or knitting, or picking up a hobby you’ve put aside are some ideas.  Refocusing your attention can revitalize and refresh your mind, body and spirit.
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is invaluable.  “Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events.  The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel / act better even if the situation does not change.” ~National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists  
  3. Acknowledge your blessings : Acknowledging the blessings in your life – family, friends, accomplishments at work – is a powerful tool.  Focus on them. Then let the people in your life know how much they mean to you.  You’ll be surprised at how good that will make you feel.
  4. Take time for yourself – Take a bubble bath and light some candles for a relaxing getaway from the world.  Get a hot stone massage.  Take a walk in the park to surround yourself with the beauty in nature.  Watch an old movie that makes you laugh.  Do something that feels good and rejuvenates you.  You deserve it.
  5. Set daily goals for yourself – Use the ease of a program like Google Calendar to schedule daily personal tasks that make you happy. These personal goals will help you feel good, and are important for your well-being.
  6. Don’t allow any disasters to pull you down –  Remind yourself of your successes, and remember the people who love you unconditionally and support you. Life is filled with ups and downs. What’s important is how you handle them.

Stress Awareness Difficulties

My fabulous cousin Gabrielle always knows the right thing to say. She empowers me with her wit and wisdom, especially when she says that when we’re tested in life, it only means something awesome is waiting to happen.

I think Gabrielle’s advice aligns itself with the quote from the Bible that’s been on my mind. I finally understand that the strength we need to endure lies within ourselves. We must believe in the miracle of every day blessings, and the knowledge that we have the power to change how we think and feel.

How do you stay positive when life gets you down? 

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25 thoughts on “When Life Keeps Handing You Lemons: Handling The Difficulties Of Life

  1. Ruth Curran

    Practicing #3 right now — my life is better, richer, and so much more interesting with you in it Cathy. You lift me up even when you have no idea that our paths crossed that day. Thank you — I am grateful for your friendship!

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Well, my dear friend, you do the same for me. I am so glad we had the chance to meet IRL because knowing you has been a highlight of my life. You are a dear person, Ruth.

      Thanks for your lovely words.

      Best always~
      Cathy

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Oh, I’m so glad Carol. I was hoping I’d be able to impart a little knowledge while writing this post. Thank you for letting me know that I did.

      You narrowly escaped this horrible storm. I hope you enjoyed NY.

      Best to you always~
      Cathy

  2. Walker Thornton

    Like you I believe in the ability to shape our experiences by the way we think and feel. I try to acknowledge the feeling and just sit with it. The last 10 months have brought too many challenges but I find the strength to move from one day to the next day through determination. Massages are one of my great joys as is reading…I can always lose myself in a good book.
    Walker Thornton recently posted…Listening Skills: A Tool for Every RelationshipMy Profile

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      You sound like you are in good shape, Walker, and are doing so while taking tender care of your spirit and soul.

      You have come through serious challenges by allowing your inner strength to guide you. Kudos to you. It’s not easy to do.

      Stay safe and warm this week~
      Cathy

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Thank you, Claudia, for your insights and compassion.

      Writing this was very cathartic for me, and I hope it offers you and others a way of taking care of themselves as we get older. I’m always searching for spirituality that will allow me to lean on it whenever I need it. I am a work in progress!

      Thanks for being such a dedicated reader, and a dear friend. I hope we meet IRL someday soon!

      Stay safe and warm today~
      Cathy

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      I am so glad, Kathy. I needed to write it and you needed to read it. What a pair we are!

      Thanks for stopping by. I always love hearing from you.

      Have a safe and warm evening~
      Cathy

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks, Lois. The sun always shines wherever you are, and I can definitely feel that sunshine through your words. You are a gem, and I cherish our friendship.

      Thanks for your lovely words….again~
      Cathy

  3. Helene Cohen Bludman

    You have been dealng with so much, Cathy, and it’s amazing that you still are able to see the sun through every storm. Please know that those of us who love you are holding you in our thoughts and prayers.

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Thank you, Helene. You know, it is my dear friends who help me – we help each other – through the dark days. We are also there for each other to share our joys….and a lot of laughs!

      You are a dear, sweet friend and I am blessed to know you.

      Hugs~
      Cathy

  4. Jo Heroux

    I believe your feelings are shared my most of us living through this insane weather. I also believe I used to be so overcome with sadness because I spent the whole fall and winter counting days until spring. I’m no longer doing that,I am counting back. How many days I’ve gone through, survived and laughed and smiled. Yes, one day at a time and adding to my DONE and still good count has worked for me. I am really good this year and SAD has not taken me down.
    Positive thinking is my mantra. I live it. It works.
    Jo Heroux recently posted…BEGINS WITH…#ThebloggersloungeMy Profile

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      You lifted my heart by sharing your thoughts and successes, Jo! How marvelous that you worked hard to succeed at positive thinking. I loved reading your story and how you went about getting rid of SAD. Bravo.

      Have a great day~
      Cathy

  5. Travels with Tam

    As dori says in “Finding Nemo”, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming….Trying to stay positive is so important. They all sound like they are on the right path. I’m currently in Advanced Yoga…reminding myself to live in the moment as much as I can. I can totally relate to the pitching machine throwing me curve balls!
    Travels with Tam recently posted…After 50 a new life begins, so Turn It On!My Profile

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Advanced yoga? That’s wonderful, Tam. I miss my yoga; a frozen shoulder has prevented me for awhile. I need to go back as soon as this ridiculous shoulder is back in action. Yoga teaches us so much about the obvious things, but also about looking inwardly and, yes, being mindful.

      Good for you! Let’s stay positive together.

      Best always~
      Cathy

  6. Kerri

    God does help me handle what I’m dealing with whether it’s giving me words of comfort during required times of grieving, providing a distraction, or helping me recognize things to be grateful for (and there’s always something to be grateful for). Good read, Cathy. Thanks.

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      You are most welcome, Kerri. I am glad you enjoyed my post, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      You are so right that there is always something to be grateful about. It can be the smallest thing, but we need to recognize and honor it.

      Have a wonderful weekend~
      Cathy

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks so much for your kindness and your friendship, Estelle. I guess it’s just my turn right now. But I know things will turn around, and I’m glad I have friends like you in my corner!

      Love you, girlfriend~
      Cathy

  7. Kelly

    Cathy…. Love, love, love this message. It really reminded me that we all have our hard moments, but yes, there is always a bit of sunshine waiting to greet us. I know it’s hard in the moment but keeping the hope, faith and belief that you will get thru is sometimes hard to grasp!

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      It’s always great to hear from you, Kelly, but when it’s as enthusiastic as this it’s the best!

      I am so glad you enjoyed my post. You’re right; it’s never easy keeping hope and faith in our hearts while we’re being challenged. But if you can just hold on to them, it’s so worth it.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

      Best always~
      Cathy

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