For the first few decades of my life, I was overwhelmed by the struggles I faced, not realizing I had the choice to live a simpler life. I grew up with no one to teach me about the Master, so I never developed a sense of personal trust and understanding.
Once I realized the power I hold over problems, they began to appear and disappear like bubbles because I…
- Crave simplicity,
- Was “teachable” throughout the decades I trained horses, and
- Believe Jesus’s promises
Before sharing my simple formula for solving problems, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.
Commitment Without Limits
Leaving a horse with an unsolved problem at the end of a lesson would mean I broke my promise to offer him security, purpose, and connection. Once I learned that true commitment means “no matter what”, I went to what some considered foolish lengths to keep my promise.
Making the decision to put even my life on the line to keep a promise, my appreciation for what Jesus did for me on Calvary burrowed deeper into my heart. He had to make the agonizing choice between saving Himself and giving His life to save mine. In the sobering shadow of the Cross, He chose His promise to me.
Promises You Can Believe
Jesus makes and keeps His promises to us. Carrying a heavy burden or difficult yoke is our choice, either because we’re (1) unaware of the option for ease in His will, or (2) we stubbornly choose to suffer until the door to “what I want” opens up.
Faith feeds on promises made and kept.
Simplicity—When A Problem Is Really Something Else
Simplicity is a concept of children. Unlike adults, they react without considering the pros and cons of every possible response. Some problems persist because we simply confuse the word “problem” with another word.
Words we sometimes think mean the same thing but don’t:
Simple and easy.
Sympathy and empathy.
Circumstance and problem.
Simple doesn’t mean easy, but simple is always the best way—unless you’re Satan trying to mess with one of God’s own. The devil’s entire game plan revolves around creating complexity, doubt, and division.
The difference between a Circumstance and a Problem
Not having problems doesn’t mean that I never have difficult circumstances. Circumstances are what is. Problems are simply unresolved questions.
For example: A spouse with a chronic health condition is a circumstance. How to manage getting to multiple medical appointments is a problem.
Problems, in life and mathematics, are simply unresolved questions.
For example, what does 2+2 equal?
We all know that the correct answer is 4.
But what if you answered 5 because you’re 6-years-old and haven’t mastered beginning math or have poor eyesight and thought a 2 was a 3?
Either way, the problem disappears or is resolved when you solve it by committing to an answer. Solving a problem doesn’t always mean you get the right answer, but it’s off your list, off your mind, and off your shoulders.
My simple formula for resolving any problem:
Discover the truth of your circumstance.
Describe issues in the form of a how, where, when, or what question.
Consider one question/problem at at time.
Identify every available option.
Decide. Select the option you most prefer.
Act on your decision.
Resolving A Problem May Not Change Your Circumstance
Once you decide and act, your circumstance may be little changed, but you’re free of the problem. You identified the question, considered your options, and chose the one that works best for you.
Every answer you commit to lightens your burden.
There are three main reasons why this formula doesn’t work for some folks,
They won’t do the work
The choice they want isn’t an option
They prefer to live with the problem rather than resolve it
Choosing to live under the weight of problems rejects one of the greatest blessings of relationship with Jesus Christ.
Whether folks do the work or not, the good news is that they get what they want within the circumstance.
Of course, there’s always the option to refuse to solve a problem by ignoring (accepting) it. When you adopt it, your problem resolves. However, if you decide to keep that pesky elephant in the room, consider assigning someone to feed and clean up after it. If you don’t, the mess will keep getting worse.
Take Dominion Over Your Problem
Jesus warned His disciples that they would experience suffering and trials. Everyone experiences the pain of failure and adversity in life. No one breezes through without trials and difficult circumstances.
Overcoming tribulation is a matter of believing the promises of Jesus and separating what is from the problems of how to manage what is.
Change what you can, accept what you can’t, and resolve problems by making wise choices. So, fear (fret) not, because Jesus also said that He has overcome the world.
I believe Him. Do you?