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When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

When I read this poem by Edgar A. Guest (1881–1959), I thought of the Book of Mormon prophets and the words “valiant” and “steadfast.” Somehow, for me, those words epitomize the last four lines of this poem.

As we age, well maybe aging isn’t really the problem. It’s more like, as we experience the challenges of life, we all face trouble, black clouds, and at times what appears to be futile hope. Or at least we struggle at times to maintain hope. So what is the secret of seeing it through?

We conquer that feeling of being overwhelmed and discouraged by learning to break tasks into workable pieces, and to pace ourselves in keeping with our energy and physical stamina. Granted, when we are faced with unplanned trouble or black clouds not of our making, pacing may take a serious and concerted effort.

I think the biggest challenge is course-checking the pessimist attitude and replacing it with optimism. President Gordon B. Hinckley had to work on that, too, and gave us this advice. He said, “It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.” (From the funeral program for Marjorie Pay Hinckley, April 10, 2004; see also “Latter-day Counsel,” Ensign, Oct. 2000, 73.)

Here are five suggestions to ease the seeing-it-through times in our lives.

Focus on finding options around the roadblocks

When we view roadblocks as detours instead of end results, we become life detectives, finding less-thought-of options to get where we want to go.

Never underestimate your ability to find a way to get around problems in order to accomplish your aim. Rather than give up, look for creative solutions. And when you are feeling really down and out, like you just cannot step up to the plate to try again, remember we are all far more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.

Some people view their status as a measured cup—half full or half empty. But when they realize the cup can be refilled, they begin to see endless possibilities.

Use caution with self-talk

A friend of mine, Pauline Wheeler, posted a link on Facebook, explaining her newest diagnosis. Having experienced a great deal of pain and a discouraging lack of mobility, Pauline expressed a remarkable skill in positive self-talk. She said,

“This is compressing the nerves along the spine which is causing all the pain and making it so I can’t walk. Two weeks ago they cut off part of my middle toe on the left foot. Now I am going to have therapy and shots for this [spondylolisthesis] and in two weeks they’ll fuse the ankle bones in my right foot that I broke while hiking 30 years ago. I’d like to say enough is enough. The pain I’ve had this last year has been too debilitating for this grandma who still has 20 years left on her. But then, I remember, I really don’t have any choice in what my trials will be. I can only choose how I’ll respond to them. And I choose to be happy and grateful. I really would like to have a clean house again, be able to plant some flowers, and do some walking and quad riding. With a new year ahead of me, who knows? I just may get to some of those things!”

Do you recognize what she did? First she stated the ugly facts of her condition. Then she turned the tables to the hopeful, cheerful positive and gave herself some lofty but quite possibly doable goals.

Since our minds believe what we tell them, it is vital we feed our minds with faith, truth, and hope.

I don’t have the physical challenges Pauline has. Mine are of a different nature. But when I read her post, it inspired me. At the time I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and unhappy about an uninvited dark cloud. My self-talk was not in any way of a positive nature. As I analyzed my disgruntled feelings, I realized I couldn’t remove the dark cloud, but I could revamp my attitude. I finally said to myself, “It is what it is. Now stop your complaining and make the best of it. Work around it.” Then I consciously assigned myself to put a smile on my face and on my attitude. It was kind of funny really. The challenge didn’t change. But with a different attitude, and taking control of my self-talk, the whole situation seemed to change to the positive.

President Thomas S. Monson said, “We . . . can choose to have a positive attitude. We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. In other words, we can choose to be happy and positive, regardless of what comes our way.” (“Messages of Inspiration from President Monson,” Church News, Sept. 2, 2012, 2.)

Be of service

One sure way to forget our troubles and feel better about life is to focus on giving service. It doesn’t even have to be a big thing. Little acts of service are always welcomed and they enable us to notice someone else’s needs and concerns. Often we come away realizing we are far more blessed than we allowed ourselves to imagine.

Make the ordinary come alive

Too often our expectations include the misguided notion that life is dull and we should be doing something far more exciting, perhaps more noticeable to others, or at least very unusual. But instead, to see it through in peace and joy, we need to find wonder in ordinary lives—the delicious taste of fresh tomatoes, the deep sorrow of losing a family pet, the infinite pleasure of a sincere hug. When we do this, the extraordinary takes care of itself!

Ask for help

Commendable is the desire to be independent and capable of taking care of our own. However, there is no shame in asking for help when we have done all within our power and still feel buried. For some of us, reaching out for help is very difficult. It is so much easier to be the giver than the receiver. But being gracious in receiving is also a much needed skill to be developed.

Reach out to Heavenly Father

Faith is not about everything turning out okay. Well, wait a minute, I guess that all depends on how we define “okay.” Even when our experiences are tough, I mean really tough, when we have faith and reach out to Heavenly Father for help, we can certainly feel peace, be guided to solutions, and find ourselves able to handle the challenges. We feel strengthened with calm and everything turns out “okay.”

Ann Voskamp is quoted to say, “Be Brave. Do not pray for the hard thing to go away, but pray for a bravery to come that’s bigger than the hard thing.”

We can let the circumstances of our lives discourage and harden us. Or we can let our experiences teach us and make us kinder, more empathetic, and more capable of recognizing the Spirit’s guidance. We have the choice . . .

BoiledEgg

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Fay A. Klingler is the author of the best-selling book The LDS Grandparents’ Idea Book, I Am Strong! I Am Smart! and many other books and articles (www.fayklingler.com). She can be contacted on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/FayKlingler.