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  • Writer's pictureMegan DiMaria

Stirred, Not Shaken (AKA: 10 keys to overcome challenges)

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

I'm stirred by beautiful words, images, and dreams. I'm drawn to beauty because I've encountered too much ugliness and heartache in my life (who hasn't?). Because I'd rather be stirred by beauty than shaken by the ugliness that is in the world, I CHOOSE to turn my attention to the beauty around me and believe in the goodness of God.


This concept reminds me of a verse in the Bible, She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25. I think the Proverbs 31 woman saw that there is ugliness, but she chose to move through life appreciating beauty. In my mind's eye, I have a vision of her—shoulders back, chin up, walking through an amazing garden with serene determination.


Behaving like the Proverbs 31 woman is a practice, it doesn't come naturally. The good news? You can learn new habits and avoid pitfalls.


Here are 10 keys to rise above challenges that threaten to tear you down:

  1. When you pray, the Lord listens. The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:17-18

  2. Are you confused and frightened? Lift up your eyes. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

  3. Are you in a holding pattern? It may be to strengthen your character. Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character. Psalm 105:19

  4. Need encouragement? Turn to the Lord. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. Psalm 94:19

  5. Do you feel far from God? Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Joel 2:13

  6. Do you feel overwhelmed? Here's a simple snapshot of how to live. This is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

  7. Do you need to lift up the environment (people) around you? Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29

  8. Do you need encouragement to get through a difficult situation? Rehearse what God has done for you and others in the past. But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. Psalm 77:11-12

  9. Are you worried about taking care of your needs? And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

  10. Remember, guard your heart. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 (If we allow ungodly or corrupt things into our hearts, we will pay a steep price.)

I guard my heart, you should too. I think that's one of the wisest things we can do for ourselves, this side of heaven.


Let me illustrate: I had a beautiful dream not too long ago. In my dream, I was walking down a wide hallway on an upper floor. To my right was a turned staircase, leading down. I ignored the stairs and walked down the hallway. As I continued, beautiful sculptures of flowers bloomed on the walls. It was incredible. The walls were ordinary and flat until I passed, then art burst from them in gorgeous 3D colors and metallic tones.


Lovely, isn't it? But before I walked down that hallway I encountered an unpleasant person who was trying to bully me. Fortunately, I refused to be moved by that brute, left the room we were in, and found my way to that marvelous hallway. When I woke, I felt like the Proverbs 31 gal. I think that my determination to look for beauty is so ingrained in my heart and mind that even in my dreams I avoid the ugly and find artistry.


Let's move forward in this scarred, fallen world and choose to see the beauty that surrounds us.


Have a blessed week, friends!

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