How Do You Deal with Challenges?

Just when I think I have everything under control and living runs smoothly, Life taps me at the shoulder and demands my attention.

She hands me two choices: either I turn around and face her head on, or she walks all over me and I lose the game.

Life leaves us alone to LIVE and ENJOY its blessings; but she won’t let us get too comfortable; not in our joy, not in our pain.

Taking her lead and facing up the challenge she puts on our path is the only way to go!

Everything runs in cycles: ascending has its adventures; reaching the top, is glorious, but no one can stay there forever. Coming back down to the base is an experience in itself. Sooner or later, we are faced with another mountain to climb.

Every new challenge is more demanding than the earlier ones; a new lesson to learn, a new skill to master, a heavier cross to carry.

Today, the 3rd Sunday of the Orthodox Great Lent, we celebrated the Veneration of the Cross.

In today’s Gospel (Mark 8:34-9:1) Jesus asks us to “…take up [our] cross and follow [Him].” Thank God, this cross is never heavier than we can carry. God did not promise us a life without problems but He promised to be there for us, if we follow Jesus’ lead.

Trust and faith that there is a reason and a time for everything, that nothing stays the same forever, keeps me sane as I go through the ups and downs between joy and pain.

I had to take a difficult exam. With God’s help, I believe I passed it. I know I am not done…Harder ones are coming up.

I am too old to run around in circles. I can only manage one thing at a time. Nonetheless, no one asks me what I want. “Somebody” knows better than I do. Whether I like it or not, I have to dance to the tune that is played.

I am tired though. This challenge is the longest and hardest in my life. It began two years ago and increasingly became more challenging.

I had to postpone the publishing process of my book and stay out of site for a while. I needed to take care of myself and my family. My book can wait. I trust that all of my friends will understand my on-and-off disappearances. I am grateful to all of you for your prayers, love, and positive thoughts, your support.

This challenge, like all others, is bound to give…sooner or later. Still, I cry a lot and I pray even more.  To be safe, I keep affirming:

“I am a good student; stronger and more patient than ever! A worthy opponent, I am! At the end, goodness is the winner!”

This morning when I opened the window and the crisp fresh air refreshed my face, a verse came to my lips. I scribbled it on a piece of paper, the first one in a while coming out of the desert. Here it is:

 My heart had stopped

Somewhere between

The winter chill and the joy of spring.   

          

Paralyzed in a barren standstill,

Both cold and numb, 

I look for signs of spring.

I pray for warmth,

Wisdom and hope.

A dainty little crocus comes to site,

Opening its heart both to cold and to light!

Looking for spring signs in the garden, I felt Spring  blossoming in my heart!

 

 As I notice nature slowly unfolding, I recall my own resourcefulness which fuels every step of my own journey.

I realize standstills are not rots but rather waiting periods during which I need to pray and take care of me and those who count on me.

Standstills are times during which I need to surrender my problems to Jesus and the Universe.

 

It only takes a good look to realize there is nothing ordinary in Nature! Nothing mundane in Life!

I am blessed to be part of both…to carry them in me!

My dear friends, how do you deal with challenges? I will be grateful for the wisdom you’ll share.

Blessing and Light!

Katina Vaselopulos

Email: katiakantzia@msn.com

About the Author

Katina Vaselopulos

Originally from Greece, Katina Vaselopulos and her husband, have made their home in Chicago for the past 47 years. Their four children and nine grandchildren offer countless adventures. Katina also enjoys cooking and baking, teaching and learning, reading and writing. Her soon-to-be-published book, Sailing Toward Ithaca, takes the reader on a journey through one year of her life. She invites the readers along, to sail through life’s journey open to all possibilities and to nurture relationships with self, others, and God by striving for self-knowledge and inner growth. Other projects include What Is Cooking in Niles, a cookbook of Greek cuisine, and a thesis, “Dostoyevsky’s Major Novels: Polemics against Liberal Thought,” for which she received high honors at Northeastern University of Illinois.

Comments

  1. Sometimes I lean into them, but when my strength is non-existent I just let the Lord hold me. Today is not a strong day. I resonated with your post. Thanks, Katina.

  2. Anne, I know! Thank God, He knows too how we feel, both when week and strong.
    Let’s hang in there and keep affirning “We deserve everything Good! Good is our Divine heritage!”
    Thanks for visiting!

    Wishing you blessings and lightness of heart!

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