An obstacle is anything that gets in our way and is not usually expected or desired.
Learning how to overcome obstacles begins very early in life. Babies learn how to crawl around furniture, toys, and people.
As we grow, the opportunities to learn how to overcome obstacles increase in number and size. In adulthood, the obstacles we face tend to become emotional, relational, and spiritual instead of physical obstacles although we still face those.
Learning how to overcome obstacles is not something I particularly enjoy. I am not a risk-taker and avoid conflict, struggles, and challenges as much as possible.
Most of us probably avoid inconvenient obstacles which is why my unlikely encounter with a barracuda was not something I planned, enjoyed, or knew how to handle. That’s how we encounter most obstacles!
This story about overcoming obstacles is a great reminder that we can’t control the challenges we face, but learning how to overcome obstacles helps us grow in perseverance, stamina, and in our faith.
Heading out on vacation to the Bahamas, I was excited to visit the island for the first time. Overcoming obstacles was the farthest thing on my mind.
We relaxed, swam, snorkeled, and enjoyed the excursions the Bahamas offer. After sunbathing on the front of our tour boat, my friends and I decided to jump into the crystal clear, blue-green water.
Swimming and snorkeling among the fish and coral in the Caribbean Sea, I was in awe of the colorful, surreal surroundings and sunlight gleaming through the surface. It was an amazing view!
Suddenly one of my friends began to scream, “barracuda, barracuda”!
As you can imagine, at that moment the atmosphere completely changed, and we all underestimated what could be causing the hysteria. We switched from chill mode to overcoming obstacle mode.
I was not familiar with barracudas, what they looked like or how dangerous they could be. (Although I am now!)
Swimming along enjoying the scenery, I was not expecting to need skills on how to overcome obstacles in the water; the sudden outburst caught me by surprise.
This is how we usually encounter challenges in life; problems surprise us and we have to quickly learn how to overcome obstacles we face.
As I peered through my goggles, it quickly became clear. A large barracuda with protruding, sharp teeth swam three feet in front of me. I instantly lost sight of the wonder around me as I tried to decide how to overcome the obstacle before me.
My emotions jumped into high gear, and I suddenly felt alone, lost focus, and began to swim away.
In life, obstacles can feel scary and intimidating. Our natural response is to avoid them and run in the other direction.
As I tried to escape the approaching sea creature, our experienced tour guide quickly pulled me back into the boat and thrust his spear into the scary fish. In disbelief, we all watched the skills the guide used to eliminate a challenge that seemed so threatening moments before.
Overcoming obstacles stories like this one are powerful because they remind us that we can develop skills that teach us how to overcome obstacles in our own life.
How to Overcome Obstacles
Barracudas are frightening, but usually don’t cross our path, however, we are guaranteed to face our own obstacles or problems that disrupt our life and impede our ability to abide in Christ.
Our faith is the greatest tool we have to learn how to overcome obstacles in our life.
In many situations, we can not swim around our issues but must trust God and learn skills to overcome obstacles, persevere, and not feel discouraged.
When challenges and struggles arrive, preparation for how to overcome obstacles is important to help us stay focused on God and not grow weary.
Overcoming Obstacles by Staying Focused
When I am faced with a challenge, my prayers are often focused on the removal of an obstacle, which is natural. However, I am frequently required to stay in the water and face them head-on.
Overcoming obstacles by staying focused on our faith instead of our fear helps us meet challenges we can not avoid.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NLT
In life, we don’t usually have a skilled guide who removes problems for us, but our trust in God and good friends that walk beside us can make a difference in our ability to face our fear and stay encouraged.
Overcoming Obstacles by Connecting with God
Learning how to overcome obstacles requires courage and strength which is based on our relationship with Christ.
We witness what He is doing through our challenges and how overcoming obstacles by connecting with God is possible. We don’t have to go through the obstacle course of life without connecting with God and the comfort He offers.
God’s Word is full of wisdom and hope that can help us learn how to overcome obstacles calmly and peacefully with God by our side.
Bible Verses about Overcoming Obstacles
Learning how to overcome obstacles is a lifelong process. We don’t know what we will face in our life or in the life of those we love.
There are many Bible verses about overcoming obstacles by trusting in God’s love for us. Reading and reciting Bible verses help our faith grow as we walk through life’s challenges.
If you need guidance on how to overcome obstacles meditate on these verses.
5 Bible Verses for Overcoming Obstacles
- 1 Peter 5:7 NLT
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
- Nahum 1:7 NLT
“The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.”
- Ephesians 6:12 MSG
“God is strong, and he wants you strong. So, take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours.”
- Psalm 94:17-19 MSG
“If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.”
- Psalm 141:8 MSG
“But God, dear Lord, I only have eyes for you. Since I’ve run for dear life to you, take good care of me.”
How to Overcome Challenges: 4 Tips
Here are 4 Tips I have learned in my life about how to overcome challenges and obstacles.
Tip 1 We May Not Understand
We may not understand why an obstacle is there. If we spend too much time trying to understand the ‘why’, we may lose focus on how to walk through the challenge.
Tip 2 Try to Control Emotions
Tip 3 Seek Counsel
We can seek wise counsel about our situation and lift the burden of carrying it alone. Learning how to overcome obstacles alone is much harder than sharing the problem with people we love and trust.
Tip 4 Pray
Overcoming Obstacles Books and Bible Studies
There are many overcoming obstacles books and Bible Studies available. I have listed a few books that may be helpful when the effort to overcome obstacles in our life gets too hard.
Focusing on our faith and not trying to control our circumstances is part of the process of learning how to overcome obstacles.
“You’ll Get Through This” by Max Lucado
“Though these unprecedented and challenging times may bring a load of uncertainty and fear that feels too heavy to bear, God gives us this promise: In “You’ll get through this”, pastor and New York Times bestselling author, Max Lucado offers sweet assurance, “Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere.” Whether you find yourself in the pit of financial downturn, job loss, health crisis, or relationship stresses, God has a plan and a pathway forward for you.”
“Living for What Really Matters” by Teresa Swanstrom Anderson
“The apostle Paul understood hustle–and struggle–better than most. While in prison, where we’d expect him to be burned out and depressed, he wrote a letter to his Philippian friends seeking to build them up, a letter filled with encouragement to live in authenticity, unity, and community.
We might feel that life is trying to bury us . . . but what we forget is that each of us is a seed. Philippians will show us how we can grow deep roots and blossom by finding the meaning in our struggle.”
“Control Girl” by Shannon Popkin
“Little fights with your husband and kids. Unhappiness when things don’t match your version of perfect. Tension, anger, fear, anxiety–it all begins with a heart that craves control. When your perspective of how life should go replaces God’s, you doom your quest for security, peace, and joy before it even starts.”
Whatever obstacles you are facing today, remember to look around for a glimmer of light peering through; a hint of hope, and God’s love for you. Learning how to overcome obstacles is possible when we stand on this truth and trust that God is faithful.
How about you? Have you learned how to overcome obstacles in your life? Would love to hear your story in the comments!