Shattering Stumbling Blocks

Any good parent, teacher, or business leader worth his salt will tell you that real growth comes from being pushed outside your comfort zone.  

What does that mean for each and every one of us?  It means we should all be prepared for a lot of discomfort in our lives! Life itself pushes us outside our comfort zone by–very inconveniently–placing stumbling blocks along our path.

Being too comfortable produces little to no results.  It also gradually leads to unhappiness.  Our emotions might object to that claim; comfort and ease lay hand-in-hand with the status quo, but does happiness?  No way.  Eventually, that stagnation starts to eat at us by producing different negative emotions that slowly deteriorate our happiness: boredom, self-doubt, lack of motivation, regret…you get the idea.

Don’t worry—the Universe has your back.  When all seems quiet and well, it’ll throw a malicious stumbling block in your path to interrupt your stagnant state; and through trial and discomfort will try to push you back onto your path towards happiness.     

Purpose in adversity

Can you Embrace Your Trials?

Refusing to grow, denying challenges, allowing stumbling blocks to keep us lying face down in the dirt, will never produce happiness.  

We have been programmed by society to resist change and challenge.  Our emotions resist it with such fierceness, that when forced to comply, they produce a physical reaction in our body…anxiety.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I will firmly attest that anxiety does not make me happy.

Whether we shirk from challenges, or timidly accept them, they compel us to grow the same way as if we whole-heartedly accepted them.  So, why not just bypass the emotional and physical pain accompanied by resistance and move forward confidently shattering the stumbling blocks that lay in our path?

What are Stumbling Blocks

Oof.  If I tried to list every stumbling block that might present itself in our lives, this post could be 20,000 words long! 

Stumbling Blocks are anything that force us off the path of complacency.  They can be physical:

  • car accidents
  • health problems
  • death of a loved one
  • loss of employment
  • natural disasters
  • rebellious children

Or they can be emotional:

  • anger
  • guilt
  • fear
  • despair
  • depression
  • self-pity

And they can come from one of two places: outside forces over which we have no control, or…from within ourselves. 

Some of the biggest challenges we face throughout our lives are the problems we refuse to let go.  It’s as if we come upon a great big rock laying in our path, throw it in a bag over our shoulder and drag it with us through every day.  Of course, the weight never lessens, but forces us to stoop painfully at its weight more and more every day. 

The analogy of the stumbling blocks we choose to pick up and carry rather than shatter and remove from our life’s journey isn’t a purely metaphorical one.  It isn’t an exaggeration to say that emotional challenges have a profound physical effect on us as well. 

“You can’t separate your body from your mind.  Whatever affects the body will affect the mind; whatever affects the mind will affect the body.”

Napoleon Hill

The only choice we have to live happy and healthy lives is to confront the problems that interrupt our journey, no matter how painful that process may be, and then continue forward with the reward of renewed strength and self-confidence.

How do we Overcome Stumbling Blocks?

The answer is very simple: with Faith.  With Faith that:

  1. We are stronger and more capable than we might feel at the moment.  
  2. Each and every challenge is for our good; that though the “refiner’s fire” may be overwhelming and painful, that we will not stop in our progression and let it hold us hostage.    
  3. We have been imbued with a Divine nature that has the power to overcome any earthly trial given to us.
Stumbling Blocks-refiner's fire

Every block has the appearance of being devastating.  They appear to have the ability to completely end our lives—or at least our lives as we know them.  Sometimes all we can do in these moments of weakness is put one foot in front of the other and lean on the testament of millions of others who have suffered trials, that this too, we will overcome. 

Overcome your Stumbling Blocks by living a life filled with these tools:

  • Gratitude
  • Peace
  • Love
  • Charity
  • Self-confidence
  • Faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Empathy
  • Kindness

A Fresh Idea

You know how they say there are only two things guaranteed in life: death and taxes?  I’m going to add a third…Trials.  But I implore you, STOP living your life playing hopscotch from one trial to the next!

Go back to the list of Stumbling Blocks at the top of this page.  Do you jump from one of those to the next?  Do you stumble along from anger to resentment, to depression or despair, and then when you need some relief, reach blindly for a tool to provide temporary comfort?  Is that how you steer your course through life? 

Here’s my idea: go back and read the list of tools you have at your disposal to overcome your Stumbling Blocks.  Gratitude, Love, Faith, Forgiveness… 

Live there.  Stop collecting the rocks of pain, sorrow, and regret.  Fill your bag with Charity, Confidence, Kindness and Peace instead.  Then, when we come across a particularly arduous rock lying in our path, we have a bag filled with tools to take out and shatter whatever is in our way. 

How Could Stumbling Blocks Possibly Make Me Happy?

Pause for a moment and reflect on a hardship you endured.  Not one you may be going through now, but one from the past.  Can you see any good that came from it? 

  • Did you learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before?  Maybe that you’re substantially stronger than you previously believed? 
  • Did you hesitantly leave a situation only to find something infinitely better than what you were foolishly holding onto?   
  • Were you able to comfort another who suffered something similar?

“From our sorrow we might seek out the sweetness and the good that is often associated with and peculiar to our challenge…We can find peace in extending ourselves to others, using our own experiences to provide hope and comfort.”

Richard C. Edgley

Where would you be now—where might others be—if you had buried your head in the sand and allowed those stumbling blocks to block your path forever?  Can you honestly look yourself in the mirror and say you’d be happy

I never said happiness was an easy pursuit.  Nothing worthwhile is easy.  

Stumbling Blocks-no shortcuts

To resist shattering our personal stumbling blocks because we’re willing to trade complacency for the happiness that is only attained at the end of a difficult road, is a fool’s errand. 

Be brave!  Step up to your trials with faith—with anticipation even, eager to see what joys lie waiting for you on the other side.  If it’s a particularly giant boulder lying in your path, I can only assure you the blessing on the other side is monumentally bigger. 

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