Is It Time To Change Your Perspective?

A year ago today, I lay on an operating table. It was the day I had my ACL repaired (actually replaced). knee brace

Fifty-two weeks, 365 days later I’m preparing to do what I couldn’t then—attend my children’s parade of bands concert.

Missing that concert that night was a precursor to months of missed opportunities, painful nights, grinding (seemingly unending) therapy, and desperate days.

But the past year has brought about great growth as well. I developed a new closeness with the Lord, a much greater appreciation for my mobility, and insight into the roller coaster of emotions each day brings.

We often think of physical ailments, personal losses, and other types of hardships as purely downers. Yet, the Lord has promised that all will be worked for our good as believers (Romans 8:28).

When we are facing mounting sorrow and suffering, it is difficult to remember that specific verse or implement it.

It is hard to remember good can come from suffering because we fear the pain and sorrow that accompany it.

Growing Through Challenges

Instead, I’ve found it helpful to look at difficult times as challenges.

Journeying through “suffering” has a reputation of producing pain, little else. Yet tackling challenges with wisdom and perseverance produces growth. 

Tackling challenges with wisdom and perseverance produces growth. Click To Tweet

So instead of telling myself that I “suffered” through surgery and months of rehab, I rephrase it to I faced the challenge of surgery and rehaband grew from it in many ways.

Instead of remembering that you suffered through the months of job loss, try I faced the challenge of losing my job and learned new skills because of it … or discovered my real passion … or learned the value of having less. 

I’m not suggesting we discount the hurt of losses, but a little change in thinking can produce a huge difference in attitude.

“Suffering” connotes suffocation. Being challenged connotes strengthening. 

Look for the ways in each challenge where you can grow. That way you won’t get lost in the suffering.

Look for ways you can grow in each challenge. That way you won't get lost in the suffering. Click To Tweet

“And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4).

Reflections: What is one way you grew through a particularly challenging time in your life? Share in the comments. 

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

8 comments on “Is It Time To Change Your Perspective?
  1. Excellent thoughts, Julie. I like how you illuminated the difference between suffering and undergoing a challenge. Well done.

  2. Ali Dawkins says:

    Awesome! Thank you for sharing such encouraging words!

  3. Melanie says:

    What you went through 1 yr ago. Reminds me of what I went through 15 yrs ago. I had gulstone surgery. Plus a 3 month old baby. We both have been blessed by god.

  4. Brent Peterson says:

    I learned to lean on friends and family when the challenge was too great to handle alone. Here’s that story:

    • Julie Sunne says:

      You are so right on with your thoughts in your piece, Brent. Often challenges require a team to make it through, and “the many fires” don’t seem so urgent in the bigger picture of what is important–your daughter’s health. Thanks for sharing. How is she?

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