Posted in coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity

How Do You Interpret Life’s Challenges?

There are certain sayings that give me pause when I hear them because they call into play the master plan of the Universe. The one that I have a hard time hearing is, “Everything happens for a reason?” To me, that phrase implies the Universe providing us with the biggest question of our lives and trying to make sense of challenging times. Would it make it easier if there were a reason for everything, or would it complicate the issue?

I started reading David M Howitt’s new book, “Heed Your Call”. Howitt states, “Most of us interpret being blessed with challenges as being dealt a bad hand.” So is it possible that challenges are blessings? Do they encourage us and challenge us to try something new? Are there degrees of difficulty in the challenges that present themselves in our lives?

I ask this question because I’ve sat in hundreds of support groups for those facing chronic and life-threatening illness and the notion that a health challenge is a blessing perplexes me. I do understand that a gift can be found within the challenge, in this case an illness diagnosis, but the illness itself as a gift I still question.

There is one aspect to Howitt’s quote that I like, and that’s the notion that we’re blessed to be or do better in our lives. The idea that we’re faced with challenges to overcome something we’re avoiding, or something we wholeheartedly desire is truly a blessing. We do become stronger when we conquer a challenge. The number of people who climb Mt. Everest every year is amazing. Each climber is striving to reach the mountains summit as well as the summit within their own physical, emotional, and spiritual being.

I do agree with Howitt that attributing a life challenge as being a dealt a bad hand serves no purpose. I often joke about being my family’s genetic dumping ground. I don’t say that out of anger, but it is a fact that I seem to be the repository for many of my families health shortcomings. Fortunately, since I’ve was a child I’ve had support and love allowing me to face each challenge as it arises making me the resilient being I am today. Did I know as a child that these challenges were blessings? I often wonder if I learned to consciously filter all of life’s challenges through the lens of resilience. It provides me with great comfort in that belief.

How do you filter your life’s challenges? Are you on the side that life’s challenges are a blessing or a bad hand you’ve been dealt? I hope we can start a dialogue and explore this further.

For further information and resources on living with chronic or life-threatening illness go to


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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