Seeing Opportunity in Obstacles

Philippians 4_13

What do you do when you face obstacles?

My first instinct with obstacles is to feel discouraged and to want to give up which leads to feeling like a failure. That’s my first instinct, but I don’t always give in to those feelings and thoughts. I have been learning to begin viewing obstacles as opportunities instead.

For me at least, this is a lot easier said than done. How about you?

For instance, if I’m watching my diet, and I’m not at home where I can control what I’m eating, it’s a lot easier to give in to what is in front of me than to stick with my plan. Sticking with a goal takes work and obstacles can derail us, but they don’t have to.

The battle of overcoming obstacles starts with our thinking. We can choose to jump on the negative and discouraging thoughts and let them keep us stuck or stagnant, or we can overcome those thoughts by changing them to positive, motivating and encouraging ones instead. This takes practice!

There are two scripture verses that come to mind for me:

Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

Philippians  4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

God has given us powerful minds and we can grow in self-control with His help if we work on being the gatekeepers of our minds. We can’t control an initial thought from happening, but we can control if we are going to dwell on that thought or not and choose to change it.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy teaches us this equation:

Situation -> Thought -> Emotion -> Behavior -> Result

When we are faced with a certain situation, we have an immediate thought about it. This thought creates the emotion that we feel which influences our behavior and ultimately gives us a certain result in our life.

Here’s an example showing two different outcomes for the same situation:

Situation: The alarm goes off early for you to get up to exercise, but you had a poor night of sleeping.


  • “I’m so tired, I didn’t get much sleep, I can’t get up right now.”
  • “I’m tired, but if I don’t follow through on my plan it will never happen.”


  • Discouraged and Defeated
  • Determined


  • Hit the snooze button and snuggle back in bed.
  • Turn off the alarm clock, get workout clothes on and exercise.


  • Not getting up early to exercise and later feeling more defeated about it.
  • Feeling energized for the day and accomplished about exercising.

We can choose to view an obstacle as an obstacle and keep us stuck, or we can choose to see it as an opportunity to grow and overcome. When we make the choice to see it as an opportunity, we learn, we develop new skills and we grow into a stronger person.

Remember too, obstacles don’t have to be faced alone! The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) If you are struggling to face and overcome an obstacle, depend on God to help you. He will give you the strength you need and will give you the thoughts to think!

It’s exciting to think that we don’t need to stay stuck even when we face obstacles. I’d love to hear from you! Comment below to let  me know what thoughts have helped you face obstacles. I look forward to hearing from you!

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