7 ways T-R-O-U-B-L-E transforms us.

Problems. Difficulty. Obstacles. Hassle. Trouble with a capitol T. None of want it, we hate when we find it, and even Jesus guarantees it. “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) As frustrating as trouble may be, it does have some surprising benefits associated with it.


1. Trouble shapes us.

All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
-Walt Disney

Trouble is usually a sign that something we are doing isn’t working. Maybe it is the influence of those around you, or perhaps it is a pattern of behavior that isn’t working. Trouble is often the warning light on the dashboard of life that lets us know something needs to change.

2. Trouble forces us out of our comfort zone.

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’
-Muhammad Ali

Unless you like the results of the trouble you find yourself in, you will inevitably do something to change them. So you change your diet, change your relationships, change your spending habits, you change something because if you don’t change your results will stay the same. If find yourself in a comfortable yet stagnant situation, you will have to introduce some uncomfortable change on purpose. By leaving that comfort zone you can finally build up enough steam to truly break free.

3. Trouble makes us put in more effort.

The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.
-Harry Golden

If you are going to get out of trouble soon you will likely have to work your way out. Yes, given enough time, all things will eventually pass, but I don’t have so much time that I can waste it, no one does. The best way to overcome your situation is to sit down, assess the situation, devise a plan of action, and then get to work over your obstacle.

4. Trouble gives weight to our success.

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
-Booker T. Washington

No one is surprised when someone who is handed success thrives, but we all love a good underdog story. When we face and defeat our giants it not only gives us confidence, it inspires others to believe they can defeat theirs.

5. Trouble can lead us to our purpose.

Just on the other side of all of my pain, I found my purpose.
-Tyler Perry

When we overcome the trouble in life it can be so formative that our identities become rooted in that victory. We aren’t content to enjoy the victory ourselves, we are compelled to help someone else overcome abuse, beat poverty, get healthy, or whatever. When we use our past struggle to bring healing it does something powerful within us that we then share with the world.

6. Trouble brings us together.

Apollo: Look, man. When you beat me, I hurt all over, and I didn’t wanna know from nothin’ or nobody, not even my kids. Hell, every fighter knows that hurt, and we get sick inside trying to live with it. So don’t back off now and make it right for yourself or you’ll be sorry you didn’t. We held the greatest title in the whole world, babe. You lost that fight, Rock, for all the wrong reasons. You lost your edge. All right. I know your manager dying had you all messed up inside. But the truth is, you didn’t look hungry. Now, when we fought, you had the eye of the tiger, man. The edge! And now you gotta get back, and the way to get it back is to go back to the beginning. You know what I mean? [laughs] Maybe we can win it back together. Eye of the tiger, man.
Rocky: Why’d you have to come here?
Apollo: I have the plan. Get it back, man.

If you are a fan of the Rocky movies you know that for the first two films Rocky and Apollo Creed are mortal enemies, but all that changed in Rocky 3. These two champions were facing more than Clubber Lang, they were facing the challenge of aging and losing the fire. That challenge brought these bitter rivals together, and both men became better as a result. Trouble causes us to lower walls that we previously worked hard to erect, but now that difficulty has arisen, we have to take them down or be crushed  under their weight.

7. Trouble often brings us to faith.

Most of us wouldn’t even be Christian if it weren’t for some trouble along the way that made us finally trust God with our lives.
-Bil Cornelius

Sometimes trouble is exactly what is required for us to see our need for God to step in and do what we can’t. I personally had to come to grips with the impossibility my own imperfection. It was a blow to my ego, but getting to the point where I could admit and accept my need for grace actually ended up helping me begin to extend grace to others in ways I hadn’t done before. Once I let go of my need to be perfect, it helped me to drop my expectation of others to be perfect as well. God didn’t just save me spiritually, He saved my relationships as well.

Trouble has taught me many lessons, and though I wish I didn’t have to go through it, those formative experiences are priceless to me now. How has trouble helped you grow into the person you are today? Comment below, I’ld love to hear your story.

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