Everything happens when it’s supposed to happen. Nothing happens by coincidence or luck. Even terrible things that we call obstacles, like car accidents, miscarriages and divorces, are part of our journey for a reason.
Sometimes God reveals the reason to us immediately and sometimes we don’t get the reason for years. Nonetheless, we need to trust God’s plan for us and go with the flow.
When we overcome obstacles, we need to shift our focus from the suffering to the lesson. It’s easy for me to say this now, because I’ve worked hard at not suffering and simply trusting everything that happens is God’s plan for me. The fastest way I’ve found to snap out of it is asking, “What is something valuable than can come out of this bad situation? God, what are you directing me to?”
Many times we face horrific challenges in life like sickness, physical or sexual abuse, and abandonment. Instead of focusing on how life has cheated us, we must focus on how we can use what we learned during that dark period. How we can help others heal faster than we healed, or get out of a bad situation if we detect it. Some people may start organizations to help others cope with the same issues they dealt with growing up. Many reach back and help other girls or boys who have been abused. Many become school psychologists so they can help the students.
At their core, obstacles make us feel like it’s us against the world. We start asking God bigger questions because we realize life isn’t like the movies or television. We begin to demand answers.
The benefit of facing big obstacles early is we’re able to go through tough times and build our emotional and spiritual strength. Soon, no obstacle can hold us down for too long and we see them as benefits.
The biggest obstacle I went through in my teens was having my parents incarcerated when I was 14 through my mid-20s. Not sure of the exact dates, as I’ve chosen to delete those years from my consciousness because there was too much suffering. I had no clue how life worked. I would have dinners or conversations with people and not remember any of it because the entire time, I was worrying about my parents and hoping they were fine. That obstacle helped me awaken spiritually. From that moment, I began making better choices in life. Every now and then, I would go back to “sleep” because of my depression. For a few years in high school, I felt I was in a fog just trying to keep up a strong front because no one knew the truth of my family. If they saw me down, they would ask questions. I held everything in and when I went home I would cry from the bottom of my soul. I couldn’t understand why everyone else had parents and normal birthdays and holidays that I didn’t experience. I was able to see my parents infrequently, and only for a few hours. That experience made me who I am. Although I was in a fog, I was determined to win, and I maintained a 4.2 GPA. I was Best All-Around Player in volleyball and I had a full time job at a pizza restaurant to pay for my necessities. I hustled! I was motivated to leave the life I was living. I wanted a better life and I knew education was my way out. I studied until I couldn’t anymore, and I surrounded myself with people who inspired me. At 18, I landed a job with millionaire Steve Harvey.
Looking back, I ask myself if I could delete the obstacle of my parents in jail, would I? No. That obstacle taught me I can achieve whatever I set my mind to and I get closer to God. What I’ve learned is my obstacles have made me successful.
We learn the most during our hardest times because it’s during those broken moments that we reassess what life is truly about, and we reunite with God. When times are great, many people forget about what really matters and some may even forget to pray altogether. It’s in those moments of darkness when you feel you have nothing left, when the only one you can turn to is God, that’s when you open that channel of communication again and the lessons God teaches you are priceless.
Two years ago, a man as close to me as an uncle passed away. Nicolas worked at my parents’ store from the time I was six years old. I adored him. When I grew older, I would drive Nicolas home after his shifts and we would bond over salsa music. He taught me the history and background of each song and told me about his earlier life in Cuba. He came to America to help others, as he felt that was his life’s purpose. He wore white every single day of his life. He was kind to everyone he met and he always wore a big smile on his face.
Once I started going to USC, I lost touch with him. Eventually when I came back to Los Angeles after living in New York, I started visiting him again. I would go to his house and just talk with him for a while. I loved knocking on his door and yelling “Nicolassss.” He would always recognize my voice and say “Elviraaaaa hija hay voy” and he would open the door with such joy.
When he passed, I learned many lessons. One was to never be sad when someone passes away, because they went to be with God. Another was to know they never intended to be here always, but to just be here long enough to do God’s work and return Home. I remember at his funeral I felt joy because it was so beautiful. If you haven’t gone to a Cuban funeral, you must attend one because it is the most beautiful and spiritual send-off with drums, singing, dancing, and good food. I could feel his Spirit in the room!
I also learned, through his life, to live for God and nothing else. When I was upset over breakups, he always told me to focus on what God wanted for me versus what I was being stubborn about. Nicolas was such an amazing soul on this earth. I feel privileged to have spent time with him.
Being Broken Simply Means You Are Going To Be Renewed.
When we are renewed we are fully able to recall who we truly are and what we are intended to do on earth. It’s not until we are broken that we accept a new way of thinking. The fact that you are breaking is a blessing that gives you a head start. Yes, it hurts to be broken, but it only lasts a little while. The knowledge and wisdom you get from it is worth the pain!
Just like my journey. I could have chosen to stick to my9-5 schedule and live like a zombie and wake up in my old age to say, “What did I do with my life?” Instead, I chose hard obstacles to get my awakening much sooner, so I can help the rest of you awaken!
Ask Yourself These Questions:
•Do you have the courage to wake up NOW?
•Do you take time to be in silence so you can hear God?
•When did God break you? How did God break you? Was it through illness, parents’ divorce, personal illness, parents’ death? What woke you up?
•When you were broken, did you rebuild your relationship with God? How so?
Tips The Next Time Life Gives You An Obstacle
•Ask God to reveal the lessons to you.
•Shift your focus to your purpose versus your obstacle.
•Find positive go-to’s, like hiking, praying, meditating, yoga, working out, comedy, etc., when you are feeling down so you are able to shift your focus.
•Let go of any guilt you may have for things in the past. Everything we go through in life is intended for our good.
•When obstacles happen don’t get upset; focus on finding the lesson and a solution. All obstacles are put in our path to either redirect us or to teach us a lesson we need in order to succeed.
•Are you able to easily hear God? If yes, fantastic! If you’re not able to yet, don’t worry, I have an entire chapter dedicated to this topic in my book “Purpose Awaken and Succeed”. In the meantime, work on clearing out all of your internal chaos. Once you do this, you will be able to hear God much clearer and louder. This will help in suffering less when obstacles occur. God immediately gives you the intended lessons and redirection.
For more information on overcoming obstacles pick up a copy of “Purpose Awaken and Succeed” on Amazon or BarnesandNoble.com
For more information on Elvira Guzman go to www.elviraguzman.com or follow her on instagram @elviraguzmanla