Overcoming obstacles & failures – instilling a positive mindset

By Eren Mckay  
Filed under Personal Development and Growth

fear Can we sail through life without problems?

Many people think that in order to have a peaceful life they need to always make the right decisions in everything that they do. They believe that everything needs to be perfectly done and don’t give themselves any space to make mistakes. Not only that, they also think that if they do everything right that somehow bigger problems won’t happen to them.

So let me ask you a question:
Is that even possible?

Do you believe that there is a way to be problem proof?
I’m pretty sure that your answer to this question is no. There is no way to have a problem free life. We all face obstacles. In fact sometimes these problems happen to us much more often than we desire.

No matter how much we try and work hard, we never really know what tomorrow may bring. So many things can happen. So many people that are on the top of the world one day find themselves in a hole the next day. And when this happens they simply don’t know how to cope with it all. The fact of the matter is that no matter how hard you try, problems will come your way. There’s a verse in 1 Peter that shows this:

I Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

You shouldn’t be surprised when they do come your way because it’s just how this fallen world is. It’s just a reality of this earthly life.
Jesus clearly told us this as we see in

John 16:33:
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Notice that the Lord not only said that we will have tribulation but he gave us the command to be of good cheer. This is the important part of the verse: Be of good cheer. This is the part that we really need to focus on and make happen in our lives.

We need to understand that we must be positive.

We see this principle in

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, 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's garden So you see, scripture is telling us to think about good and positive things. I see many “gurus” talking about this principle like it’s some kind of “news” but God was already telling us this through His Word thousands of years ago.
Being positive doesn’t mean that we are not in touch with reality – not one bit. This means that even though we know the dire state of this world we have made a decision to be positive in the midst of it.

Some people are really positive and can handle quite a lot of “curve balls” in life and remain positive.

For example I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person. But when I went through lots of people in my family dying in a short period of time it really affected me deeply. I couldn’t quite get a handle on getting positive again. I just wasn’t prepared spiritually for that amount of death happening at once. But going through the valley has really taught me how to not let my mind go the wrong way.

The point is that even if you are a very positive person, it’s important to understand how to remain in that positive state. Being certain that you are able to stay strong will get you through the trials and tribulations that come your way. And yes they are certain to come your way. We want to be like the house that Jesus spoke in

Matthew 7:25
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Steps to maintain a positive mindset:

Now how do you accomplish being positive when the going gets rough?
How do you remain cheerful in the midst of hard circumstances?
In order to answer to these questions, the first thing that you need to do is evaluate your response. By doing this you can have a starting point from which to transform your mindset.

1st Step: Evaluate Your Internal Dialogue

Stop and think about what happens in your mind when you face problems. Many times we don’t stop and think about the fact that there is always an internal dialogue going on in our minds. We may never speak the thoughts but they are happening anyways. It’s a spiritual reality.

pink rose Our thoughts may lead us down the wrong road if we don’t perceive that they are spiraling into a negative thinking pattern. So the first thing we need to do is be aware of our thoughts and the response that we have when facing problems. Awareness of this internal spiritual reality is definitely the first step.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to become more aware of what happens in your mind:

  • What do you think of when a problem occurs?

  • Do you get really nervous and feel helpless?

  • Do you get into a state where all you can think about is bad and awful things?

  • How long do you remain in that state?

  • If something bad happens in the beginning of the week will that ruin the rest of your week?

What have you discovered about your thought life?

anxiety Now that you’ve reflected upon those questions,
You might be able to see a pattern in your thoughts and in the way you respond to difficulties that you encounter. ( If you don’t know the answer to the questions above, I suggest writing down what your thoughts are daily and when you face problems. That way you will be able to clearly see the internal dialogue that happens in your mind. )

It’s possible that you’ve discovered that your thought life is indeed positive and if so, then congratulations! But it might be that you’ve figured out that your thinking process is not as positive as you would like it to be.

If after asking yourself certain questions, you’ve discovered that your thought pattern is actually negative then I want to help you understand what to do to transform that pattern into an inner positivism and strength. I don’t want the enemy of your soul getting a foothold in your mind through his deceiving lies. Scripture says:

I Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

You see, the devil wants to see you in a defeated state of mind, believing that you are not capable of moving forward. He wants to have you believing that it’s not possible to overcome the obstacles that you face but the truth is that God has the answer for you. You CAN overcome as we see in

Philippians 4:13:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

So it is possible to move forward and the way to do that is through Christ. He has already provided a way of escape so that you can experience a joy filled life.

How do we keep our minds aligned to the truth of God’s Word? We may go to church or hear a sermon and we feel so strong while listening. But then the week begins and the problems start to mount up and that’s when we get down because we seem to “forget” everything that we heard.

In order for you to live in accordance to God’s word it’s not a question of having a huge amount of biblical facts stored in your head. It’s about applying God’s truths that you’ve learned and remembering to do so in your daily life.

The next article in this 3 part series deal with applying the Word of God in our daily lives.

This post was the first part of a 3 part series.
If you have not read part 2 you may do so here:

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13 Comments on "Overcoming obstacles & failures – instilling a positive mindset"

  1. Walter  

    How we perceived the outside world begins with our inner world. Problems are a fact of life; but problems are only the labeling of the mind. When we experience an event not in harmony with our expectations, we label it as problem. This is where we make our mistakes.

    Life does not revolve around our will, it has its own path; we need to understand it rather than resisting it. 🙂

  2. Maria @ Conversations with Moms  

    Very well written. About 7 years ago, I went through a lot of obstacles and a very rough patch that ended up jeopardizing my marriage. In the end, what turned every thing around was my mindset and how I was viewing the problems.

    I find that reading great books on personal development or listening to great seminars or conferences (on tape), helped me give my mind an extra boost. Reading scripture does it for me too.

  3. Eren Mckay  

    @Walter thanks for stopping by. I really like the way you talked about perception of the “problems”. Everything we label as problems can also be seen as opportunities to grow spiritually.
    So called “problems” can also take us down a certain road that will prevent us from going the wrong way.
    As you stated- life has its own path. I really belive that when we are close to our Creator we can hear His voice telling us the path that He wants us to take.
    He already has a purpose and a plan for our lives. We just need to open our ears and eyes to understand His plan and be led by him to fulfill it. You have insightful thoughts.

    @Maria I hear you my friend. We need to be so careful what our minds are thinking. The enemy wants to steal our joy and fool us. He is a master at deceiving. I’m so glad that the Lord opened your eyes to have the right perception. I’ve found that when I don’t spend enough time with the Lord that it makes it easier to get derailed. So the moment I have some time I definitely study scripture and pray a lot.

    Blessings to y’all,
    Eren Mckay

  4. Rose  

    What a wonderful post. However when dealing with death I don’t know if it is a matter of staying positive, but being strong and acknowledging that death is a part of the seasons of life.

  5. Eren Mckay  

    @Rose I agree with you. That thought really helps us- that it’s a part of the seasons of life. But when you lose 8 close loved ones in a time frame of 6 months then it requires more inward work to get out of the sadness and pain. I needed to really study scripture and meditate and grow close to Jesus when I went through the fire.
    He is our Healer and the One we can look to when everything seems to fall apart.
    Understanding that when our purpose is fulfilled here on Earth then we will move on is definitely a way to accept death better.
    One of the people who died was my aunt “Lua”. Lua means moon in portuguese. The day that she died there were two moons in the sky. This only happens every 2 thousand years and she died on that exact day. That was so touching and moving to me. God was giving me a sign that He had appointed her to go with Him on that exact moment. And that helped give me peace. This aunt of mine is one of the most wonderful, loving and generous people that I’ve ever met and I love her very much. I know that I’ll meet her again in heaven and that is what consoles me.
    In Christ,
    Eren Mckay

  6. Rose  

    I’m not a stranger to death. I’ve lost my youngest daughter and both my parents. When I loss my daughter I blamed God when my Mother was dying I thanked God. I too am a spiritual person.

  7. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Rose,
    I can’t even imagine the amount of pain that you have gone through. My heart goes out to you. I can tell that you are a spiritual person by what you said:
    “acknowledging that death is a part of the seasons of life”
    That is very deep especially coming from someone who has experienced death with loved ones as you have.
    God bless you sister,
    Eren Mckay

  8. Danny Nappi  

    Hey Eren, You are so right no one is immune to making mistakes or poor judgment sometimes just our thoughts have a way of adding onto what you perceive as being a problem and making things worse.

  9. Eren Mckay  

    Very true Danny. We need to catch those thoughts right at the beginning and nip them in the bud. It’s amazing how problems and things that happen around us can cloud our vision. I always stop and make sure that my heart is aligned to the truth so that I’m not hindered in where I need to go.
    I hope you read the next part of this series – it shows us how to do this step by step:

    How to apply God’s Word to our thought life

    Blessings to you,
    Eren Mckay

  10. tracey jackson  

    I like your words but has any one said anything about your pictures taken of you? But thank you. I’m in school and I had to look up something to keep my mind clear. I felt like I wasn’t going to pass this class but after reading your letter and scripture from the Word I know I will thank you and may God bless you.

  11. Eren Mckay  

    Hi Tracey,
    I’m so glad this article helped you out. It’s a daily battle to keep our minds positive but once we get into the habit of not allowing ourselves to be negative it becomes natural. Take time each day to study and do your part. Know that you can only do as much as you can and that’s ok. You don’t have to be perfect. It will all work out.
    Blessings ♥,

  12. Freddie M. Brady  

    Erin, I first contacted you after my daughter committed suicide. You have been a wonderful influence in helping me get back on track. I can never thank you enough. It appears, and I believe, God is speaking through you. You are my Christian sister who really cares and gives me strength. May God richly bless you and your family.

  13. Mel Tupaz  

    Very encouraging

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