Hiker at lake overcoming

Overcoming Obstacles with God

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Have you ever been cruising down a path in your life with purpose and what you believe is God’s plan, and then suddenly you are faced with a roadblock, an obstacle, that stops you in your tracks? Some obstacles in life are minor and others are huge (or at least seem huge!), but you can overcome these obstacles with God.

I have learned many lessons on the trail. A situation on a hike several months ago made me start thinking about overcoming obstacles and God.

This particular hike hugs the banks of a large lake. The lake views were beautiful, and my son, brother, and I noticed how high the water levels were after a couple weeks of rain.

About a mile and a half into our 4 mile loop hike, we rounded a bend and went down into a gully to be met with an obstacle blocking the trail. (It wasn’t a bear!)

The lake waters were so high and the land so much lower in this gully, that the lake water completely covered the trail. We had three choices:

  1. Go through the water. Umm, it was winter and even though it wasn’t likely we would freeze, I did not want to be wet and cold. The water didn’t appear to be any deeper than our knees or thighs but that was too deep! Even though creek and river crossings can be common on hikes, this was not the smartest option that day.
  2. Concede defeat, turn around, and not finish the hike. Just accept that it wasn’t meant to be? Not the end of the world, but I was really excited about sharing this entire hike with my son as he had not been on it before.
  3. Go around the water (the obstacle) and get back on the trail. It was possible to make our way further inland and still not lose total sight of the trail. After some climbing, sliding, jumping, and scrambling, we were able to skirt the flooded path and land back on the trail.

This situation and these options may seem simple to you, but let’s compare this to how you can overcome obstacles in your life with God.

If you have been trekking though life alone, trying to move forward by yourself, I want to encourage you to give God a chance. He wants to help you! Have no clue what I am talking about? I wrote this post just for you!

Steps to Overcoming Obstacles with God

1. Ask for Wisdom to Overcome Obstacles

Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment when you are faced with an obstacle or challenge. Every situation is different and there isn’t always a “one size fits all” solution.

Sometimes it is best to stop – perhaps that roadblock is meant to protect you. It takes wisdom and discernment to know what to do.

Sometimes obstacles are the enemy’s way of trying to stop our progress and derail us from God’s plans. Use the wisdom that God freely gives to recognize the tactics of the enemy.

If any of you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given unto you. James 1:5

God will give you wisdom and ideas for overcoming obstacles and challenges. Often times, that wisdom is found in the pages of your Bible.

Use the brain God gave you! Just like going through the water on the trail (unless God miraculously parted it!) would not have been the smartest choice on our hike – we used our brains.

2. Pray to Overcome Obstacles

Pray about it and then pray some more. I know sometimes you are met with an obstacle in your life that takes an immediate decision and there is not time to pray and “wait” on God. A strong prayer life can prepare you for situations like this, and you’ll be able to hear and know God’s voice.

  • Ask God for wisdom (see the first step) so you will know what to do.
  • Ask God to make a way, to perform a miracle, to part the waters for you!
  • Ask God to show you another way and to give you the strength to keep moving.
  • Ask God for His will to be done.
  • Thank God for hearing and answering your prayer.

Let’s get real for a minute.

We do need to be praying like I mentioned above – asking for wisdom, for miracles, for strength, for God’s will, and thanking Him.

But sometimes my prayers are messy when facing obstacles. I’m scared, confused, and tired, and I’m just crying to God about it.

Pour your heart out to God. We can’t pretend with God. We are fooling ourselves if we think we can manipulate God or pretend we are someone we aren’t when we pray only formal, pretty prayers.

3. Examine Yourself to Overcome Obstacles in Your Life

I also mention this step in my post about finding peace when you don’t feel God. I’m not saying that it is your fault that you face obstacles, nor do I want you to beat yourself up – God’s grace is bigger than anything you’ve done!

Just recognize that some obstacles in life are self inflicted.

Sin can create huge obstacles – spiritually, emotionally, and physically. If this is the case, ask for forgiveness and then walk forward in the truth that God has set you free. I know that is easier said than done in our own strength, but hold tight to God’s promises of deliverance.

As Christians we need to live a life of repentance and ask God to reveal to us those things that cause us to stumble and that may be creating obstacles in our lives.

Our choices, even if they aren’t sinful choices, can create obstacles. We did choose to go on that particular hike after weeks of rain!

4. Surround Yourself with Other Believers to Overcome Obstacles

The people in your life can either hold you back or help carry you forward.

Seek out other Christians. Find people (or even one person!) that will pray for you, that can give you Godly advice, and that will encourage you in your walk and in pursuing your goals and calling.

If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, ask God to send them. But know that you are never really alone as long as you have God in your life.

Sharing that hike with my son gave me incentive to go around the water in the trail, And having them with me to help me if I needed it, gave me the confidence to troop off trail.  

5. Speak the Word of God to Overcome Obstacles

Okay, I am not telling you to go around chanting a statement or Bible verse to your obstacles and challenges and then thinking they will just disappear.

I am telling you that there is power in speaking the Word of God in your situation. The Bible isn’t just a book of stories to read. It is alive.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

There is life and death in the power of the tongue. Our words can cause action – good or bad.

Speak life in your situation.

Speak kind words.

Speak Biblical truth.

Stop the negative talk.

6. Recognize Who You Are in Christ

You are an overcomer!

Not because I’m telling you that you are. This isn’t a pep rally meant to build your confidence. I am not a self help guru. Your help comes from the Lord!

You are an overcomer, a conqueror, according to the Word of God.

We are more than conquerors through Him and picture of mountain

Knowing who you are in Christ is so powerful. When we (yes, I struggle with this too!) walk in this identity of being a conqueror, nothing can stop us.

7. Recognize Who Has Your Back

There is no doubt that you have choices when you face obstacles in your life. Your decisions can also dictate the outcome of your situation.

But ultimately God is in control.

If you think there is no way you can overcome the obstacles in your life alone – you are right!

But you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Philippians 4:13

His (God’s) strength is made perfect in your weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Remember that it is the Almighty God that is with you.

8. Don’t Give Up When Facing Obstacles

That day on our hike, we could have easily gave up and turned around and missed out on a wonderful afternoon together. Some things we first see as obstacles become just another story, another accomplishment, and a confidence builder.

We live in a world accustomed to instant gratification. If we have to wait for something or work hard for it, we often think it is not meant to be.

Don’t give up if things don’t turn around for you right away. Sure we love quick miracles, but God’s timing can be totally different than our own. Honestly, it usually is!

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

Don’t get tired of doing good for God. Eventually you will reap a harvest if you don’t give up!

It is also important to know the difference in totally giving up and in surrendering to God. You can surrender your plans to God without giving up. You can surrender the outcome of a situation or your own desires to God’s will without giving up.

9. Practice Gratitude to Overcome Obstacles

I know how easy it is to start feeling sorry for yourself when facing obstacles. It is easy to be blind to the things in our life that we should be thankful for.

Remember to thank God for what you do have and for what you are learning as you overcome these obstacles with His help.

Final Thoughts on Overcoming Obstacles with God

I know I did not face a big life obstacle in my little trail story. ( I’ve read some true backcountry survival stories about overcoming huge life threatening obstacles!) But is wonderful that we can learn lessons from God in the little things in our lives, especially when we step outside into His creation.

Keep everything in perspective when you face obstacles in your life. As they say, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Many obstacles are small and easy to overcome or really not that important in the whole scope of things. We frankly spend more time worrying about them than just overcoming them! That’s the enemy’s plan to steal our joy.

It’s a given that we are going to face obstacles – health issues, financial struggles, career choices and job losses, relationship problems – the list goes on. And some of them will be really tough and huge.

But remember that you don’t have to face it all alone. You can overcome obstacles in your life with God!

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Hiker overcoming mountain climb

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