“You seek a great fortune, you three who are now in chains. You will find a fortune though it will not be the one you seek. But first… first you must travel a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril. Mmm-hmmm. You shall see thangs, wonderful to tell. You shall see a… a cow… on the roof of a cotton house… ha. And, oh, so many startlements. I cannot tell you how long the road shall be… but fear not the obstacles in your path…for fate has vouchsafed your reward. Though the road may wind, yes, your hearts gone weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation.”
– Seer’s speech, O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)
I’ll admit. This is one of my favorite movies. Also, I can’t think of obstacles without thinking of this speech from the beginning of this interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey. As the seer tells the travelers that they will face “ob-sta-cles.”
It’s pretty much a given that we’ll face obstacles. Just as we clear one, another gets moved into our path. It’s enough to knock us down on the regular and if we aren’t careful, then those obstacles can actually keep us stuck in the same place.
So, the question then becomes how do you overcome these obstacles? As a part of this week’s linkup at Mrs. Disciple, I’d like to spend a little time talking about 5 Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles:
1.) Being Self-Aware and Introspective – There are times when we are encountering obstacles and we don’t even realize it. We’re so busy battling other things that we don’t even notice what is right in front of us. The best way to deal with that is to know yourself. After all, that is who you spend most of your time with. It’s not always easy to be introspective; sometimes there are hurts that run deep and make it difficult to really be open. However, if you can’t be honest with yourself, who can you be honest with?
2.) Know Your Enemy and their strategies – Not all of our obstacles are of the natural variety. Sometimes they are custom variety, made especially to knock us down. The adversary and our natural flesh will seek to destroy us if we aren’t careful. I love the part of the Armor of God Bible study by Priscilla Shirer where she encourages you to gain “actionable intel” on the enemy. That is the best way we can battle. We must be aware of ourselves, but we must also know what is going on outside of us.
3.) Pray – This one is pretty obvious, but it is still one that is worth mentioning. The best way we can gain strength is by calling on the one who is our strength. Prayer is great for changing our hearts, but it also lets us tap into strategies #1 and #2. Through prayer, we are able to know ourselves better and we are able to gain knowledge and help to defeat those obstacles that are put in our path by our adversary.
4.) Ask for help – It is tempting when we see an obstacle in our path to believe the lie that we must overcome it on our own. I’ll admit that this is one that I especially struggle with. I hate asking for help. But God has continually been working on me and helping me to see that He has put people directly in my life to help with certain obstacles that are popping up around me. And when all else fails, we know that He is our biggest help in times of need.
5.) Persevere – It’s easy to get knocked down in this life. It’s even easier to stay knocked down. That isn’t what we’re called to, however. We are called to run our race with endurance. We can’t let getting knocked down from time to time (because that will happen) shut us down. We also can’t grow weary in running. If we weary running with men, how will we run with horses? (Jeremiah 12:5) We have to be diligent and intentional so that we can persevere to the end.
By way of accountability and also in the vein of obstacles, the hubs and I are considering signing up for a mud run, which is basically a 5K full of muddy obstacles. It doesn’t just work like a normal 5K though, you aren’t just trying to get a phenomenal time, you are working through the obstacles in a quick pace. The idea is that you get a team together and your work together to overcome these obstacles.
There are some mud runs that are so tough that all of the participants work together to overcome them. If this works out and we are able to compete, I will be employing these strategies to help because they don’t just work with spiritual obstacles, they also work with the real physicals ones, too.
What obstacles are you facing? How are you coping with them? Make sure to stop into the linkup at Mrs. Disciple and read what others are saying about obstacles.