How to Avoid the Obstacle Trap

Ha-LaughterObstaclesAs Mary Chapin Carpenter once sang, “Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug.”

Isn’t it amazing how both the little and big obstacles in our life can make us feel like the bug and the windshield. How do you handle those moments when they strike?

Seriously. Even though I’m a part of the self-awareness and break-through coaching and consulting community, I sometimes find myself thinking like Dracula, in the hilarious kids movie Hotel Transylvania, when he says, “Bleh, bleh-bleh,” when I hear something that’s seemingly anecdotal.

If we aren’t careful, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of letting the littlest things wreck our day. Those little things, when left to chance, can hurt our attitude, momentum, and success.

What can we do?

We can laugh. Yes, laugh at the obstacles.

It’s true. It’s sometimes THAT simple.

Think about it: Have you ever had one of those moments when everything is going so well – you’re cruising, you’re zooming – and then BAM. You get hit head on with an obstacle that stops everything?

If you’re anything like I am, you’ve had more than your fair share of these moments.

These moments of downturn can often be the turning point where we have a choice. We can leave them to chance and let them disrupt our day and make us sour, stressed, irritable, down and defeated, or we can choose change our response to it and laugh at it in the face.

It’s important that we don’t leave these moments of downturn to chance. Ever. We have a split second opportunity to change our reaction to these moments: right away. We choose to change how we feel and what happens next.

I’m not trying to sugar coat this at all. I’m really serious.

When spiritual warfare strikes you with an iron fist, you can either give into it and leave your situation to chance or you can choose to laugh at it in the face and change how you respond to it.

Let me share an example. We have an under sink water filter that needs to have its filter changed twice a year. Since we don’t do it often, I often forget that it’s pretty important to press the red button that releases pressure and extra water. Yesterday, I DID remember to push that handy button and successfully removed the canister to replace the old filter.

What I didn’t do properly was insert the new filter in the correct direction. Of course, I discovered this after trying to turn on the water and nothing came out of the faucet. After a few seconds of water flow, the canister was under so much pressure with the filter being in the wrong direction, that it was stuck and couldn’t be removed.

I pressed the red button only to get sprayed in the face. Yes, it was funny. After pressing it at least two dozen times and slowly releasing the pressure each time, the water and air pressure released. About 15 minutes later, with a pool of water and under sink storage and cleansers strewn across the floor, the job was done. Clean water. Ahhh.

The old Betsy might have cussed and my day would have been “done” at that point, but after years of practicing the removal of that self-defeating and destructive habit, I breathed, invoked God a bit (okay, a lot) and found that I never got truly PO’d. Woohoo! Score. I only got a little frustrated.

Apparently, I’ve learned to roll with things, right?

Wait. There’s more.

Then, I went to repair our broom hook that seems to keep falling. My boys are great sweepers after meals, but they use man hands (at ages 3 & 5!) when grabbing the broom. So I got the world’s most industrial adhesive to hang up the hook so it may never fall again.

I was so proud of myself for hanging it in a way that will alleviate weekly crashes to the floor.

That’s when I saw it.

I had hung it upside down. Yes, upside down with the “world’s most industrial adhesive.”

I pulled. I tugged. I hurt myself. I sweated getting this thing off the wall. It was living up to its promise for sure.

When cussing might have been the easiest tactic, I stepped back, and laughed out loud.

In my laughter, that’s when I realized it:

Spiritual warfare was prowling. Being a little more tired than usual after a busy trip with family and friends, the enemy just knew I was ripe for the picking. He thought that he could just get in, turn my buttons the wrong way and make my day be terrible with one task failing after another.

Yeah right.

I learned awhile ago that the only way to nip a crappy series of events or mishaps or unsettledness in the bud is to simply stop, laugh, and give it up to God. Yep. That’s right.  Laugh and tell that evil to get behind you and step up into the light of being in your Yes.

This simple tactic can be huge at home and at work, so that you can stay on-brand as the strong, beautiful, persevering person that you are.

We are NOT our circumstances or obstacles.  We’re around them and we experience them, but we are NOT THEM.  They just happen to us or around us. We are who we are, because of who God has created us and called us to be.  How we choose to live with, react to, and be in flow with our circumstances and obstacles is the truth about our character, who we are, and all that we are called to be.

What I mean is this:

  1. Don’t let the events of your day stop you from being who YOU are supposed to be.
  2. Remember that these obstacles are temporary – whether it’s a sink filter, fender bender, or more significant life event that’s happening to you or someone you love.
  3. All things are possible. You can do it. You can make the changes you need to.  All you have to do lean on faith and ask for help, because God knows we need it, especially in the toughest moments!
  4. Yes, laugh. God has a good sense of humor and he also wants us to be happy. Just laugh at it and move on. If you dwell on it, you will become crabby and that isn’t good for you or anyone else.
  5. Let off the pressure like that little red button. If you’re having a day, week, month, or even a year where you’re not getting a break and the pressure is building up from multiple obstacles, and you feel like you’re going to explode and laughter WON’T work, then please do something that is nurturing and kind for YOU to take the pressure off.  We all need to let go and experience joy.

The key is this. Don’t leave these moments to chance. Make sure that you make the change in your attitude and what you’re doing so that you can experience more joy.  Remember, how we handle our situations makes us who we are, not the situations themselves.

P.S. This also goes for opportunities. Don’t leave opportunities to chance, as Jim Rohn reminds us (see quote to the right and Pin it!). You must be willing to make the change.

That’s how your life gets better.

YOU (together with God) CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.


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