Share your thoughts about this message in 1Community By Robert H. Schuller Problems! We all face them at one time or another. What problems do to you and how you handle them will determine whether or not you can achieve success. One of the chapters in my book, Success Is Never Ending and Failure Is Never Final, is entitled, ìTurning Failure Thinkers into Success Thinkers.î In that chapter, I deal at length with this subject of problems. To become a success thinker instead of a failure thinker, you need to develop a positive mental attitude toward problems. The basis of this subject is the Bible verse, " If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can say to your mountain move and it will move, and nothing will be impossible to you." These words of Jesus do not say, "If you have faith (or a positive attitude) toward a mountain it'll go away." No! He said, "If you have faith, the mountain will MOVE!" The mountain will move. It will change shape. It will appear less formidable. The haze will lift, a path will appear. Why? Because now you have faith. Now you have a new attitude toward your mountain. You are no longer looking at it out of fear or anger. Now you see it as a glorious challenge! Has the mountain changed? Yes, but even more so YOU have changed and your perspective has changed! Today I want to give you ten positive attitudes toward a problem. These ten attitudes will diffuse the negative attitudes that can stand in your way. After all, here is what problems can do to you: Problems can: * Embarrass you. * Anger you. * Confuse you. * Intimidate you. * Depress you. * Control you. * Buffalo you. * Stop you. * Mislead you. * Paralyze you. Problems can do all that to you. But, today, I will give you ten positive attitudes that can diffuse all of the ten negative results of problems. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PROBLEMS! When they: Recognize that: Embarrass you. It's O.K. to have problems. Anger you. You contributed to the problem somehow. Confuse you. It's rarely "a" single problem. Intimidate you. Every problem has met its match somewhere. Depress you. Every problem is pregnant with a possibility. Control you. Your problem is either solvable or manageable! Buffalo you. No problem is totally impossible. Stop you. Every problem is temporary. Mislead you. Problems are frequently just distortions. Paralyze you. A problem is just a decision waiting to be made. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #1: Problems are O.K. When you can adopt the positive attitude that problems are O.K., then you have a solution to the embarrassment that problems can bring. If you have a problem, don't be embarrassed about it. Problems are natural. So often in my role as a pastor, I have seen embarrassment hold people back from seeking the help they need. Young couples, struggling to make their marriage work, are always embarrassed when they come to see me. It is such a shame, because too often they let the embarrassment prolong the problem, allowing it to get worse. I say to these young couples, "It's O.K. to have a problem. Don't be embarrassed because you are here. All marriages require adjustments from time to time." Then I take my wrist watch off and add, ìHere's a watch. You can engineer the gears and the springs so that it will run perfectly. Why? Because the parts retain their same size forever. But, if this watch was made out of independent gears that could grow, then you would have to expect to make adjustments over the years. One gear would grow a little faster than another and before long the watch would be jammed up. You want your marriage to run harmoniously like a watch. However, you are two independent individuals. You are not constant gears. You are growing and changing. Don't expect your growth rate to be the same. You will need constant retuning." When you deal with the embarrassment that a problem brings, you are taking the first step toward solving it, you are dealing with it on a very profound and redemptive level. At that point, the problem has already changed shape. #2. Recognize that you helped create your problems. I don't think I've ever had a problem that I didn't create to some degree. A husband says, "My wife is my problem!" To which I reply, "You chose to marry her!" An employee says, "My company is my problem!" To which I say, "Who told you to work in that company?" If you will look at the root of your life's problems, in every instance you will see that you created it. You made a decision, and as a result you now have this problem. Once you can honestly accept some of the responsibility for your problems, you will find that you have diffused your anger. You can't blame others any longer. You can now be free from victimitis and self-pity. #3. No problem is ever "a" single problem. Problems are always complex. Understanding that will clarify the confusion. Break down your big problem into several smaller problems. For instance, if you are unemployed, that is the big problem that you are facing. It feels overwhelming and confusing. However, once you have broken it down into smaller problems, then you can handle the smaller options one at a time. Perhaps one of the smaller problems is that you need to learn some new skills. You can handle that problem by looking into a course that will teach you what you need in order to get ahead. Overwhelmed by your problem? Divide it up and deal with each one individually. Confusion now can be replaced with clarity. Your problem, your mountain, is beginning to move! #4. Every problem has met its match somewhere. There's a miracle to match every mountain. You only need to find it. It is there! You will find it! If you look hard and long enough! So, if you feel intimidated by your problem, believe and know that there is a solution somewhere that is matched for the problem. Once you can change your attitude toward your problem, you are no longer intimidated by it and you will begin to think of possibilities. You will think of people who can help you find the solution. You're on your way! #5. Every problem is pregnant with a possibility. Does your problem have you depressed? Then you need to be reminded that this problem is good for you. You will benefit from this. You will grow from it. You will be a bigger and a better person because of it. In Idaho, the potato farmers who want to get the best price for their potatoes, sort them according to their size: small, medium, and large. My friend told me of farmer, however, who had the reputation for being lazy. He just took all of his potatoes, and threw them onto the truck and drove them into town. As far as everybody knew, this farmer was paid the lowest price for his spuds. Everybody made fun of him until one day, one of the ambitious farmers happened to be there when the lazy farmer got paid for his potatoes. He noticed that the lazy farmer got the same high price that the other farmers got, who took the time to sort their potatoes. The ambitious farmer complained to the owner of the cooperative. The buyer replied, "Oh, he sorts his potatoes!" "Oh no, he doesn't. We all know what he does. He takes them right out of the ground. He puts 'em on the truck and he hauls 'em to town. He never bothers to sort 'em." The lazy farmer was at the door and he overheard the conversation. He said, "I sort my potatoes. I just do it differently than you. I always take the rough road into town, for big potatoes always rise to the top on a rough road." The ambitious farmer went out to the truck with the lazy farmer and looked at the truck. Sure enough. The little potatoes were all at the bottom. The middle size potatoes were in the middle. The big ones were at the top! When you go through rough times, if your heart is right, you will rise to the top. #6. Every problem is either solvable or manageable. You can have control over your problem when you realize that it does not have control over you. There is no need for problems to have control, and the way you can get back in the driver's seat is to adopt a positive mental attitude toward your problem. There is no such thing as an unsolvable or unmanageable problem. That is the truth. All other negative attitudes are just illusions that can drain the creative energy needed to find the solution. Change your perception of the problem. Once you do that you have changed the shape of the problem. You are on your way! You can do it! You can lick this problem! You can say to your mountain move, and IT WILL MOVE! #7. No problem is totally impossible. When problems come they tend to buffalo us. We have to stop and say, "Wait a minute! It's not totally impossible. There is some part of the problem that I can deal with. I'm going to find out what part that is, and deal with it positively. And as soon as I deal with a chunk of the problem, I've taken a piece of the mountain off and the mountain has changed shape.î # 8. Every problem is temporary. I talked to a young man this week who was threatening suicide. I said to him, " I think it's a dumb thing to do." He replied, "You wouldn't say that if you were in my spot." "I'd still think it's a dumb thing." I repeated, "Because suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." Problems are temporary. When we encounter problems we tend to think that we will be forever faced with this problem. It will never go away. It will plague us the rest of our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth! The truth is that you will go through this problem, and you will emerge on the other side of it victorious! #9. Problems are distortions. As soon as you can recognize this positive attitude toward your problems and face the distortions that are there, then you can keep your problems from misleading and misdirecting you. Every problem has a distortion in it. Problems have a tendency to reflect life much like the fun mirror in the carnival. It would not be intelligent to base decisions on your appearance after you've looked at yourself in such a mirror, would it? Neither would it be smart to base decisions on your life based on the distortions that a problem is causing. That is why I have always advised my family, "Never, never, NEVER make an irreversible decision during a low time of your life. Wait! Let the immediate negative impact of a problem fade before you make a hasty decision that you will later regret." #10. Problems are only decisions waiting to be made. If I face my problem deep enough, long enough and carefully enough, I will finally come to the realization that I don't have a problem at all. I just have a decision to make. And the reason I call it a problem is that the decision is scary, risky or unpleasant. I wish I didn't have to do it. Once you recognize that a problem is only a decision, then you are in control of the problem and when God is in control of your life, then you can rest assured that He will help you make the right decision. God can be in control of your problem. He can help you turn your mountain into a gold mine. He can help you turn your problems into possibilities. And He will do it because He loves you very, very much! Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the way You have spoken to us today. You have assured us that if we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, we can say to our problem move and it will move and our lives will never be the same again. Thank You for being our friend, our Savior, our Comfort, our Lord. We love You and praise You! Alleluia Amen.