How to Overcome Obstacles Through Faith

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.

flowers-how to overcome obstacles

Overcoming Obstacles 

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”!

Barracuda-how to overcome obstaclesAs 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.

Obstacles take on many forms and include fear, chronic illness, toxic relationships, social media, big decisions, family crises such as divorce, and unmet expectations.

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.

Jesus says,

“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.

When we cling to God, study His word and pray for Him to be revealed through a circumstance, we find peace, and our faith and trust in God deepens.

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.

boat in water-how to overcome obstacles

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.”

water-how to overcome obstacles

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

We can control our emotions, stay calm and make rational decisions when learning how to overcome obstacles. God can bring us supernatural peace when we trust Him through the challenge.

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

We can pray and cry out to God. Our obstacle may not move or change, but our courage and faith will grow.

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!

mountains-how to overcome obstacles

Mary Rooney Armand

Mary Rooney Armand is an Author, Speaker, and Creator of the faith-based blog She helps others grow in their intimacy with Christ and thrive in their relationships. Her work is featured on multiple websites including Women of Noble Character, Pray with Confidence, and The Brave Women Series. Mary is the author of, “Identity, Understanding, and Accepting Who I Am in Christ” and, “Life Changing Stories” a collaboration with 34 authors sharing stories of God’s faithfulness. Besides writing, Mary leads small groups and speaks at retreats. She directed Kids Hope USA, a mentoring program for children, worked in marketing and sales, and has led mission trips to Honduras. Mary is a life coach with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and an MBA. She and her wonderful husband Cory live in New Orleans and are the parents of four children, a new daughter-in-law, and two dogs! Connect with Mary on Instagram or Facebook.

No Comments

  1. Emily Susanne on February 4, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    Beautiful post Mary! I loved the imagery of your snorkeling trip (I’m glad you made it out okay!). It’s so true that Christ can be glorified in any situation when we surrender it to Him.

    • Mary Armand on February 5, 2020 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks so much for reading it Emily! That trip happened 30 years ago and I can still feel the fright! Surrender is definitely the key.

  2. Brynn on February 5, 2020 at 2:44 am

    What a great illustration! Well stated!

  3. Mary Armand on February 5, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you so much for reading Brynn!

  4. Stacey on February 9, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve come across a few barracudas and have felt the fear that can quickly take over. Thanks for the encouragement that with Jesus we can face them head on, knowing that He is fighting by our side! I love Butterfly Living! 🦋 can’t wait for the next post.

  5. […] Read further on overcoming fear: Facing Obstacles […]

  6. Sharon Hazel on September 9, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Great encouragement – through God’s word and then by life’s experiences we come to know that He is faithful, that He will hold us fast!

  7. Donna Miller on September 9, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Mary as I was reading this, when you said you jumped into the water after sunbathing, I remembered you said you didn’t like taking risks or challenges and the thought that came to mind was “Wow she did get out of the boat though.” lol. Then when you said your experienced tour guide pulled you back into the boat and speared the baracuda, I thought of how Jesus wants us to get out of the boat and He is there to immediately rescue us when needed. Love this post. It’s so true, we go from obstacles being ‘physical’ to becoming more “emotional, relational and spiritual.” Great post! â¤

    • Mary Rooney Armand on September 12, 2020 at 8:04 pm

      Donna, thanks as always for reading! This story is so crazy it doesn’t even seem like me! I was afraid to get out of the boat at first, but followed along. I used to have a great photo of the speared fish, but lost it in Hurricane Katrina! Thanks for adding your insight.

  8. robynsnest1970 on September 9, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    My biggest obstacle to overcoming obstacles is figuring out the why this is happening because I think that must be how to overcome it. Thank you so much for pointing out that doing this may have caused me to lose sight of the how. I will certainly try to remember this. 🙏🏽💕

    • Mary Rooney Armand on September 12, 2020 at 8:05 pm

      Robyn, thanks for reading and I am glad it provided you with some insight!

  9. Betty Rojugbokan on September 10, 2020 at 12:42 am

    This is a great illustration about how we face obstacles and how we can overcome such obstacles by using the right skills.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. […] She needed to believe He loved her, take the action of embracing us and trust God in times of uncertainty with the outcome. […]

  11. […] and finds us. When we walk in this confidence, we can overcome our inability to move past our pain, obstacles and insecurities to find purpose. Confidence in our identity in Christ helps us know our […]

  12. […] it is better than facing what stands in front of us.   Keeping busy allows us to not face the mountain in our midst. Avoidance can work in the short-term but is not a formula that is sustainable to authentic […]

  13. 3 Great Tips for Coming to Terms with Turning 50 on December 7, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    […] yourself be imperfect. Changing often comes in daily, tiny increments.   Letting yourself stumble, but always bouncing back and being guided by His principles is what gives renewal, energy, […]

  14. […] my identity in Christ and that He alone satisfies my soul has empowered me to overcome obstacles that prevent me from finding Godly contentment. […]

  15. […] Don’t let the little things sway you away from your commitment to your spouse.  And agree to face the big things together as a team.  You will be stronger together, both in your relationship with each other and as a force against whatever you face. […]

  16. […] change that often accompanies career moves. Career moves expand your knowledge, teach you how to overcome obstacles, and become a […]

  17. […] you walk through betrayal and other struggles, you have the opportunity to grow closer to God and become stronger in your […]

  18. […] We can learn from his example of purpose, humility, and fearlessness in the face of adversity. […]

Leave a Comment


Lady smiling-Mary Rooney Armand

Hello, my name is Mary and I am grateful you stopped by. If you would like to join our community, sign up below to receive the latest blog posts & encouragement!


Join us to live better altogether!

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.



Recent Posts