An obstacle is anything that gets in our way. Learning how to overcome obstacles begins when we are babies learning to crawl around furniture, toys and people.
As we move into adulthood the obstacles we face tend to become emotional, relational and spiritual instead of physical obstacles (although we still face those especially in traffic!)
Learning how to overcome obstacles in life is not something I enjoy.
I am not a risk taker, and avoid conflict, struggles and challenges as much as possible. I think most of us do.
My unlikely encounter with a barracuda on a Bahamian vacation was not something I had planned.
This overcoming obstacles story is a great reminder that we can’t control the challenges we face, and learning how to overcome obstacles helps us grow in our faith.
An Overcoming Obstacles Story
After sunbathing on the front of our tour boat, my friends and I decided to jump into the crystal clear, blue-green water off the coast of the Bahamas.
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.
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
Barracuda’s can be frightening, but usually don’t cross our paths, 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 and not feel defeated.
When challenges and struggles arrive, preparation on how to overcome obstacles is important to help us stay focused on God.
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 friends that walk beside us, can make a difference in our ability to face them.
Overcoming Obstacles by Connecting with God
Learning how to overcome obstacles often requires courage and strength which is based on our relationship with Christ.
When we cling to God 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.
Bible Verses about Overcoming Obstacles
Learning how to overcome obstacles is a life long 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.
- 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 I have Learned
Here are 4 Tips I have learned in my life about how to overcome challenges.
We may not always understand why the 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.
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.
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.
We can always 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: You’ll get through this. 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.
Mary Rooney Armand loves to write inspiring, faith based stories. She focuses on helping others grow in their intimacy with Christ and thrive in their personal relationships. Mary lives in New Orleans with her husband Cory and four children. Besides writing, she teaches Bible Studies and leads small groups. In 2020 she created ButterflyLiving and a Bible Study titled “Identity” which is available on Amazon. To learn more visit maryarmand.com.