My ministry 4R.E.A.L, was birthed from my own personal and painful life experiences and the desire to overcome pain when I felt there was no way out. My strong passion for building others is attributed to living with the daily obstacles that came with being raised in a pastor’s home. I understand the struggle of wanting to live an ordinary life due to my encounters with extraordinary life situations. A few of the obstacles that I have overcome; which definitely have groomed me for ministering to others are the death of my only child over 20 years ago, overcoming a near paralysis infirmity and dealing with the everyday pressures that a saved, single woman endures. All are areas that have given me an edge on understanding “life beyond death”. Whether it’s through insecurity, instability, insufficiency or an infirmity, there is still a positive side to every challenge.
It is not that people do not want to do better when their life seems to be upside down; many times they just do not know how to go through the process. I view all of life’s challenges as mere processes that we are given to help us grow into the person God created us to be. No one wants to go through life looking for bad things to happen to them. However, we will all have our share regardless of who we are. “Expecting positive results when dealing with negative situations” has become one of my life philosophies for living and I have learned a few keys while dealing with my own.
Sharing from the scripture Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”. For the Christians, anything we go through in life that we view as negative is what I call “pit stops”. Whether it is through the death of loved ones, divorces, job losses, loneliness, low self esteem, sickness, etc; it all shows how God can and will work on our behalf for the greater purpose. These kinds of things should ultimately draw us closer to God as opposed to a non-believer. The scripture states this is for the ones that love Him and have been called. When life situations happen to the ones that are not saved, it is to bring them to Christ to live the best life for His purpose.
I deal with the truth of the situation. Yes, it happened, is happening or may even happen in the future but it’s only temporary pain. It is not realistic to try and cover up the pain or pretend like it does not exist. That does not make it better! I share from the standpoint that although it’s real, it will not last! I also teach the positive steps which helped me to get to where I am today. Those (5) four steps are acknowledge, accept, access, apply and accomplish.
First one must uncover the challenged area and acknowledge its existence. Uncovering it does not mean you are weak but strong enough to call it out. Acknowledging the pain opens the body and mind up for healing.
After the acknowledgement comes the acceptance. Whether it is due to life’s circumstances or a self inflicted blow, accepting that is happened will move the process along. Acceptance does not put the blame on anyone but rather, moves one from I know it happened and now I am ready to deal with what happened. It is also here that the challenge to move beyond this must also be accepted. If we fail to accept the negative that has occurred in our lives, we will never be able to expect a better life.
Third, I call this the time to assess. It is here that the importance of what has transpired is looked at carefully. Analyzing and evaluating the damages that have taken place and what was lost due to this particular life incident may bring about serious aggravation, sadness and even tears. It may take a little longer to handle this one depending on the person’s ability to comprehend it all. It’s good to take all the time needed.
Although it may seem that this may never end, you cannot stop at the evaluation process. Next, in order to continue on, it is now time to apply what has been learned up until this point. A conscious decision has to be made to move forward with a new mindset. Here we realize, this will not be the last time I will have to deal with this or something else negative, but at least the mind has learned to accept and expect life’s challenge’s with a new outlook. Applying these principles will not take the pain away gives better insight of “All things work together”. Even Christ Himself had to move beyond the current pain to look to future glory.
At this point, one can now look back and see the accomplishment that was made of getting over this particular hurdle. The key is to remember it is not what “you” did but what God did through you. It is His achievement for our good to show how mighty He is. When we learn that God has no desire for us to suffer and try to go through life with this as a reminder. John 10:10 declares, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. God’s word is not only true but it works for us and through us. Living life knowing that God’s desire for us to live an abundant and full life despite anything we may go through will serve as an aid in expecting the “real” life. Whether up or down, life will happen and is subject to change in a moment. Embrace it. Accept it. Expect it!
Cynthia Diggs is a minister of the gospel and Founder of 4R.E.A.L. Ministries.