Get rid of bitterness. Refuse to hold onto anger and resentment that will allow bitterness to grow in your soul. Flush out the poison of any bitterness you already have by answering God’s call to forgive. Just as God has forgiven you, He expects you to forgive the people who have hurt or offended you. You can count on God to help you through the process. Choose to forgive as an act of your will – despite your feelings – and God will change your heart in the process. Trust God to bring about justice in every situation rather than wasting your time and energy trying to get revenge. Be willing to pray for the people you’re forgiving, and act in love toward them.  Enjoy the freedom that forgiveness will give you.  

Focus on the big picture. Shift your focus away from what’s wrong in your life and toward God, who is bigger than your challenges and is able to redeem them. Meditate on Bible passages to remind yourself that there is a bigger picture than what you can see right now and that the sovereign God has your life in His hands. Think and pray about what God may be saying to you through His Word, and what you can learn from it and apply to your life. In the light of God’s eternal purposes, your temporary challenges won’t seem as daunting as they did before. Keep in mind that where you may just see a mess in your life, God sees the potential for something good to happen.

Speak with sincerity. The words that come out of your mouth reveal the condition of your heart and identify who you are. Speak with carefully, since your words can either bring about life or joy, or hurt and destruction. Decide to speak positive words that reflect your hope and trust in God and that encourage others – no matter how challenging your circumstances are right now. Avoid the complaining of those who don’t have faith. Make time each day to praise God for His work in your life; the more you praise Him during your prayer times, the more praise will flow more naturally out of your mouth in other situations. Don’t listen to advice from negative or bitter people, and avoid media content that negatively influences your thinking. Listen to positive people and watch, read, or listen to uplifting shows, books, etc. Memorize Bible passages that give you hope as you deal with your specific challenges, and that build your trust in God’s love and care for you. Whenever you’re tempted to complain about something, pray about it first. Talk about your concerns with a trusted friend, mentor, or counselor. Each night before you go sleep, thank God for how He has cared for you that day, and your subconscious mind will be filled with positive thoughts. Whenever God answers your prayers, thank Him and tell others what He has done.

Walk confidently in a new direction. Gain confidence from placing your trust in God, instead of in people or circumstances. Be willing to take whatever steps God leads you to take into your future. Although you can’t be sure what life will bring, you can be certain that God will be with you. Keep a confident spiritual posture: head up (keeping your eyes on God), shoulders back (casting your cares continually on God), stomach in (staying centered on truth, not assumptions), stand straight and tall (standing on the sure foundation of hearing and doing God’s Word), walk forward (walking confidently with an eternal perspective).

Make healthy connections with other people. Notice what people God has placed in your life right now to help and support you. Thank God for them, and allow those people to get close to you. Listen to people’s advice and allow them to help you. While you’re looking for friends, be a good friend yourself. Do all you can to encourage other people. If you’re married, work on your communication with your spouse to keep your marriage strong while you’re going through challenges. Expect God to use your friends to help you heal.

Use what you’ve learned to help others. God will make sure that none of the pain you’ve gone through while dealing with your challenges will be wasted, if you ask Him to show you how to use what you’ve learned in the process to bless others going through similar challenges. Be alert to the opportunities God presents for you to help others, and take advantage of them.

Persevere. Remember that God is not through with you yet. Wait on God to complete His good work in your life. Keep placing your hope in God and finding your strength in Him. Trust that God will work all things in your life together for good. Turn to the Bible for fresh spiritual nourishment each day. Remember that you’ll never be completely satisfied in this fallen world, but look forward to when all your longings will be fulfilled – when you meet God in heaven. Each day as you move forward, ask God – the source of all hope – to renew your strength and fill you with joy and peace.

Adapted from Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive: Passionately Live the Life You Didn’t Plan, copyright 2008 by Karol Ladd. Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, West Monroe, La., www.howardpublishing.com.  

Karol Ladd is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Power of a Positive series. She is also the founder and president of Positive Life Principles, Inc, a resource company offering strategies for success in both home and work. Her vivacious personality makes her a popular speaker to women's organizations, church groups, and corporate events. She is co-founder of a character-building club for young girls called USA Sonshine Girls and serves on several educational boards. Karol is a frequent guest on radio and television programs. Her most valued role is that of wife to Curt and mother to daughters Grace and Joy.